AvoDerm Natural Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The AvoDerm Natural product line includes ten dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth, four for adult maintenance and three for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- AvoDerm Triple Protein Meal
- AvoDerm Weight Control (2.5 stars)
- AvoDerm Puppy Chicken Meal and Brown Rice
- AvoDerm Sm Breed Puppy Chicken Meal (5 stars)
- AvoDerm Lg Breed Puppy Chicken Meal (4.5 stars)
- AvoDerm Adult Lamb Meal and Brown Rice (3 stars)
- AvoDerm Lg Breed Adult Chicken Meal and Brown Rice
- AvoDerm Senior Chicken Meal and Brown Rice (3 stars)
- AvoDerm Adult Sm Breed Chicken Meal and Brown Rice
- AvoDerm Adult Chicken Meal and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)
AvoDerm Adult Chicken Meal and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
AvoDerm Natural Large Breed Adult Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground whole brown rice, ground whole white rice, oatmeal, salmon meal, rice bran, avocado, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace (source of lycopene), flax seed (source of omega-3 fatty acid), alfalfa meal, chicken cartilage (natural source of chondroitin sulfate & glucosamine), natural flavor, egg product, salt, potassium chloride, kelp meal, vitamins (choline chloride, a-tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin a supplement, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, folic acid), minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc amino acid chelate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese amino acid chelate, copper sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), avocado oil, taurine, rosemary extract, sage extract, lecithin, pineapple stem (source of bromelain), papain, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||11%||52%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||25%||48%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The next two ingredients list ground brown rice and ground white rice, both names for rice flour. Rice flour is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The fourth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The fifth ingredient includes salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
The sixth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
The seventh ingredient is avocado. Avocado can be a controversial item.
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.2
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.
The eighth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The ninth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed meal is one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
In addition, we note this AvoDerm product contains avocado oil, a controversial item similar to the other avocado ingredient previously discussed.
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, AvoDerm Natural looks like an above-average dry 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, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and alfalfa meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
AvoDerm Natural is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Those looking for a nice wet product from the same company may wish to visit our review of AvoDerm Natural canned dog food.
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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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
02/14/2010 Original review
04/15/2014 Last Update