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Tender & True Organic Turkey & Liver Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

by Tender & True
Review Product PhotoReview Product Photo
Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019

Tender & True Organic Turkey & Liver Recipe is a high-priced dog food with average quality. This product has 1 controversial ingredient but no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat content, and the meat and fat quality in the food is mixed. On a better note, Tender & True has a below average number of recalls and was relatively transparent when answering our questions.

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Dry Dog Food
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
Grain-Free, Organic, No Corn Wheat or Soy
4, 11, 20 lbs
United States
Tender & True Pet Nutrition

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This food has a fair amount of protein fat but is somewhat high in carbs, which is lowering the fat content slightly and making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low. They are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts, however, high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.

To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 28.89%

Min. Fat 17.78%

Min. Carbs 45.56%

Max. Fiber 8.61%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 26.0%

Min Fat: 16.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 7.75%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.0%



350 Calories per Cup

This product has a somewhat low amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Lower calorie foods like this can be for weight loss or less active dogs who require fewer daily calories. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.

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Grain-Free Dog Foods

This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.

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Total Ingredients
Controversial Ingredients

Organic Turkey, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Dried Peas, Organic Chickpea, Organic Flaxseed Meal, Organic Potato Starch, Organic Dried Liver, Organic Pea Flour, Organic Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Liver Digest Meal, Menhaden Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Monosodium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Manganese Proteinate, Inositol, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Iron Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenite, Copper sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Citric Acid (Preservative), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 1 controversial ingredient, which we will go over below.

Top 5 Ingredients

Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.

  • Organic Turkey
    Organic turkey is generally a healthy dog food ingredient. Raw meat contains about 75% water which is cooked off during the making of dog food. This leaves only a fraction of the protein content in the final product's weight. We recommend looking for dog foods that also include meat meals in the first five ingredients (pre-cooked meat powder that contains four times the amount of protein). Organic dog food ingredients are free of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and artificial preservatives. They are also not allowed to be genetically modified.
  • Organic Chicken Meal
    Organic chicken meal is generally a healthy dog food ingredient. Meat meals are the result of cooking. Water is removed from meats to create a protein-rich meal powder. Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients. Organic dog food ingredients are free of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and artificial preservatives. They are also not allowed to be genetically modified.
  • Organic Tapioca Starch
    Tapioca is a gluten-free starch extracted from the root of the cassava plant. Because it mostly consists of carbohydrates and is low in fiber, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, we do not consider this a high-quality dog food ingredient. Organic dog food ingredients are free of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and artificial preservatives. They are also not allowed to be genetically modified.
  • Organic Dried Peas
    Organic peas are a good source of carbs, fiber and protein. Peas are starchy but high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. We consider this a healthy dog food ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between peas and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if peas are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.
  • Organic Chickpeas
    Organic chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are a legume that provides nutrients such as protein, fiber, folate, iron and phosphorus. They are generally a healthy dog food ingredient. Organic dog food ingredients are free of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and artificial preservatives. They are also not allowed to be genetically modified.

Controversial Ingredients

  1. Organic Liver Digest Meal
  2. Live digest is produced by chemically breaking down the organ into a liquid that can be used as an added flavoring. It makes it more likely your dog will like the food. However, this is a controversial ingredient because it's a heavily processed animal ingredient that may contain lower-quality ingredients. Additionally, the species it comes from is unknown here.

Country of Origin

This food is made in the USA. that’s good because high quality and food safety standards need to be followed.

Meat & Fat Quality

The meat and fat quality in this dog food is varied, let’s take a closer look. It includes Organic Turkey, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Chicken Fat, Organic Chicken Liver, and Menhaden Oil. What makes these great is that the meat and fat sources here clearly show which animal they come from. At the same time, and surprisingly, the food then also includes Organic Dried Liver and Organic Liver Digest Meal. It’s good to know that these ingredients are organic, but they do not transparently show which animals they were made of.

Artificial Preservatives

Tender & True Organic Turkey & Liver Recipe contains 0 controversial artificial preservatives. It’s good to know that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.

Artificial Colors

No artificial colors, either. Absolutely excellent!

Artificial Flavors

Last but not least, this product manages to shine by also not using any artificial flavors. No artificial preservatives, colors or flavors is exactly what you want to look for in dog food. Well done!



Brand Recalls

Tender & True has a below-average number of recalls.




We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.

How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?

Tender and True initially provided a quick but incomplete response. With a follow-up email, they were able to provide some very good information but did leave a few questions unanswered.  

Does Tender & True have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?

Tom R. Willard, PhD

Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?

Tom R. Willard, Phd: Received a BS in Animal Science (AS) in 1967 and my MS in AS and Statistics in 1972. I finished my PhD in 1974 with a major in Biochemistry with emphasis in protein and mineral metabolism from North Carolina State University.   My first employment was with Campbell Soup Co. where I formulated their first dry dog food.  I also developed many prototype canned dog foods.  Campbell Soup never had cat foods.  I was VP of Technical Services for the Iams Company for a number of years in Dayton OH in the mid ‘80’s.

I have been in the pet food industry for 45 years, and am one of the 3-person panel who reviews all of the Pet Food Forum’s research papers for the 4 Forums around the world.  I have spoken at the US Forum a number of times on nutrition, ingredients, formulations, animal care, and quality assurance protocol.  I have consulted for manufacturers in the US, CA, the UK, Germany, the Chez Republic, Japan, China, Brazil, and Chile.

Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?

We do analytical analysis on all of our foods at the plant and again check samples at several independent laboratories.  We conduct our animal studies at an independent animal facility for palatability, stool quality and digestibility.  We also do urine pH on our cat foods.  We also do some in home testing but not of a statistical basis.  As well, we do comparative studies against some of the market leaders.  All of our diets meet the 2018 AAFCO Nutritional Guidelines for both lines of dog and cat foods.

What country are your products manufactured?


Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?

Question was unanswered

What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?

All of our ingredient purchases is controlled 100% by our company, which has been in the meat industry for over 30 years.  We buy only antibiotic free (ABF) or organic (O) meats from the human food supply chain as well as Marine Sustainable (MSC) sources for all of our fish-based products.

Does Tender & True own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?

No. CJ Foods.

Do any parts of your product come from China?

The question was unanswered.  

Tender & True Organic Turkey & Liver Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

by Tender & True
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