Avoderm Natural canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The AvoDerm Natural product line lists nine canned dog foods, six formulas claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and three formulas for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- AvoDerm Original Formula
- AvoDerm Chicken and Rice
- AvoDerm Lamb and Rice (3 stars)
- AvoDerm Turkey and Vegetable Stew (5 stars)
- AvoDerm Chicken and Vegetable Stew (5 stars)
- AvoDerm Salmon and Wild Rice Stew (4.5 stars)
- AvoDerm Weight Control Chicken and Rice (2 stars)
- AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian Formula Adult (2 Stars)
- AvoDerm Puppy Chicken and Rice Formula (4.5 stars)
AvoDerm Chicken and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
AvoDerm Natural Chicken and Rice Formula
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, ocean fish, rice, peas, carrots, potatoes, flax seed, guar gum, blueberries, cranberries, dried kelp, lecithin, avocado meal, avocado oil, potassium chloride, salt, carrageenan, minerals (iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide), vitamins (vitamin E, A, B12, D3 supplements, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement), choline chloride
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||32%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||56%||17%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is ocean fish. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.2
Unfortunately, the phrase “ocean fish” is vague and does little to adequately describe this ingredient. Since some fish are higher in omega-3 fats than others, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this item.
In any case, fish meat is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The fifth ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The sixth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, we note the inclusion of avocado meal and avocado oil, both of which can be somewhat controversial.
Supporters claim the ingredient to be nutrient rich and beneficial to a dog’s skin and coat — while others worry over what are mostly unsubstantiated concerns over potential toxicity.
These fears appear to originate from a 1984 study in which goats (not dogs) consumed the leaves (not the fruit) of the Guatemalan (not the Mexican) avocado and became ill.3
Based upon our own review of the literature, it is our opinion that the anxiety over avocado ingredients in dog food appears to be unjustified.
In addition, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
AvoDerm Natural Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, AvoDerm Natural looks like an above-average canned dog food.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, excluding the Vegetarian Formula, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 28% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
AvoDerm Natural is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate to significant amount of named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
However, the higher fat content associated with the Lamb recipe may not be appropriate for every animal.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
02/12/2010 Original review
09/17/2010 Review updated
06/12/2012 Review updated
01/13/2014 Review updated
01/13/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Craigmill AL, et al. Toxicity of avocado (Persea americana, Guatamalan variety) leaves: review and preliminary report, Vet Hum Toxicol 1984;26:381 ↩