AvoDerm Natural Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

AvoDerm Natural Grain Free Dog Food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The AvoDerm Natural Grain Free product line includes two dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • AvoDerm Natural Grain Free Red Meat Meal and Potato
  • AvoDerm Natural Grain Free Salmon Meal and Potato (3 stars)

AvoDerm Natural Grain Free Red Meat Meal and Potato was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

AvoDerm Natural Grain Free Red Meat Meal and Potato

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 26% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 52%

Ingredients: Beef meal, peas, potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace (source of lycopene), pea flour, apple, avocado, flax seed (source of omega-3 fatty acid), alfalfa meal, natural flavor, salt, potassium chloride, 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), kelp meal, avocado oil, lecithin, rosemary extract, sage extract, pineapple stem (source of bromelain), papain, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis23%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis26%14%52%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%31%46%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef meal. Beef meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh beef.

The second ingredient is 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 third 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.

The fourth 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 fifth 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.

The sixth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The eighth 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.1

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 ninth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

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 three notable exceptions

First, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

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 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 Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, AvoDerm Natural Grain Free 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 26%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 52%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa meal, peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

AvoDerm Natural Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a below-average amount of beef or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

Those looking for a kibble with fewer carbs and more meat may wish to visit our review of AvoDerm Natural dry dog food.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

06/23/2014 Last Update

  1. Craigmill AL, et al. Toxicity of avocado (Persea americana, Guatamalan variety) leaves: review and preliminary report, Vet Hum Toxicol 1984;26:381
  • justaguest

    can someone please explain why this food even exists when avocados are on every list of foods that are harmful to dogs???

  • theBCnut

    It won’t hurt and it might help them to adjust faster. Probiotics are the more important of the 2.

  • whatacrazyworld

    Thanks, I was looking into the digestive enzymes. Should I be giving probiotics AND the digestive enzymes?

  • theBCnut

    It’s possible that they are gassy because you have fed the same food for 4 years and their body doesn’t have what it needs to digest the new food without producing gas. Bad smelling gas is often caused by anarobic bacteria digesting protein, so a good solution is to rebalance the bacteria in the gut by supplying probiotics and maybe even digestive enzymes.

  • whatacrazyworld

    I’ve been feeding Avoderm chicken for four years and not a problem. I switched to Salmon grain free and although there’s not a huge problem, my two dogs have very bulky stool and they’re gassy. Has Avoderm changed formulas? They started getting gassy on the regular kibble, too.

  • Michelle

    I have my dog on Avoderm grain free salmon formula because he has serious allergies to ANY of the other foods I try to give him. I can’t figure out what it is that he’s allergic too. Grain free seems to help, but I can give him brown rice and don’t have a problem. Could it be in the processing of these foods? I try about once or twice a year to introduce a new food, but haven’t had any luck. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • diannna

    I’m so sorry to hear that Nina. I was going to try this food but I think I will just stick to what he’s been eating which is biljac which I know it’s not all that good but he does eat it, he doesn’t seem to like the other food like blue and other food. I’m not even going to have him use their shampoo that avoderm avocado shampoo.

  • Tonya Cotton

    You rate is 3 stars however, you say it’s “above average” dog food. When I see bil jac dry you give it 31/2 stars and say its “below average” how is that ??

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  • AvoDerm Natural

    Hi Nina – we are so sorry to hear about Trisha. We know pets are a part of your family and AvoDerm takes their health very seriously. Please reach out to us at (866) 500-6286 so we can get more information from you and look into the matter further.

  • Nina Santorum

    My Dog – Trisha died after eating this. Never will I ever try this again. ;(

  • Pat Petsinc

    Let’s talk about their cat food.  Second ingredient is whole ground CORN, then brown rice, then corn gluten meal, etc.
    Seems like they aren’t aware cats are almost total carniverous.  You have to go down the list a long ways before you find any meat (chicken liver).  Ridiculous how these food companies with their beautiful packaging hoodwink the public. There should be strong laws to ensure they aren’t literally starving our pets and shortening their lives….as well as hitting the owners right in the pocketbook because of vet visits which usual blame renal failure, mange, or something else that is expensive to treat, rather than tell them, “it’s the food they’re eating…it’s starving them. They don’t look starved because of all the starches, but their stools, coats, and overall condition tells the truth! 

  • LabsRawesome

     Dzinanni, Seriously? I guess you didn’t notice at the top of the review, there are 2 formulas listed in this line. One is Salmon and the other is Red Meat. The Salmon was chosen to represent both products in the review. HELLO?

  • Dzinanni

    The bag I bought lists beef meal as #1 ingredient. I think you analysis is off

  • Boxer Madness

    Great site, my compliments. Much good info here. Don’t forget to add treats to the daily intake equation. High protien snacks, like dried lamb products skew the numbers.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Jan,

    I’d like to think maybe our community has had at least something to do with all these new “rotation diet” products.

    I’ve added many to my list for a future review.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Fyi…just found out that Avoderm has come out with 3 new foods that they have made to rotate without issue.  They’re calling them the Revolving Menu.  I think they’re Turkey, Lamb and Fish flavors.  Interesting.  Rotations is another food that does this and is Nature’s Variety and Fromm.  Remember Rotations, though, also includes totally different ingredients in each flavor and doesn’t just change to protein flavor.  It seems like lots of companies are getting into the rotating method lol.

  • Anonymous

    Duh….LOL!  I just noticed this is the review for the grain free dog food.  Not too with it this morning!

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure if they make a grain free for cats, but I think they just came out with one for dogs.  You could go to their website http://www.breederschoice.com and check to see if it lists a grain free for cats.

  • K.H.

    Do any of you guys know if AvoDerm makes grainfree kibble for cats? I mostly do Natural Balance Platefulls for them and their kibble is Natural Balance L.I.D. Chicken/Green Pea. I would like to rotate between the four LID flavors but the small specialty store I go to only carries the Chicken recipe. I need to use only grain-free, as two of my kitties have allergies. One of mine needs only low-protein as well. She does not react well to Solid Gold Indigo Moon or Taste of the Wild. She is okay on Wilderness, Orijen, and Acana but does not react nearly as well as she does on NB. I noticed that this food has a similar nutritional profile to NB but is made with a different protein source, so I would definately want to try it if they make it for cats.

  • Jonathan

    Aimee, the Beef formula does look good….

    “Beef Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Chicken Fat, Tomato Pomace, Pea Flour, Apple, Avocado, Flax Seed…etc”

    Until you look at the GA…

    Crude Protein (min) 23.00%
    Crude Fat (min) 13.00%
    Crude Fiber (max) 4.50%
    Moisture (max) 10.00%
    Omega-6 Fatty Acid* (min) 2.20%
    Omega-3 Fatty Acid* (min) 0.40%

    Although beef meal is the first ingredient, the food still only contains 23% protein. And peas, the second ingredient, add to that protein. Hey, it’s not a bad food and I’m glad it’s working out for your doggy. I’m just pointing out why you can’t just look at an ingredient’s placement on the list. The GA is much more telling.

  • Aimee

    P.S. I just noticed the Beef flavor does start beef first. Yeah!

  • Aimee

    Thank you for all the comments. Thank you Mike for replying to my post as well. I will keep her on the Beef for now, she seems to do really well on it. She breaks out in a rash on her stomach on some of the other kibble. Can’t figure out what could be in them. It goes away on this and she’s keeping a nice coat and weight. Also I really appreciate Avoderms honesty and they seem to be one of the few companies out there that haven’t had a recall with their foods. They also send out awesome coupons if you call them. Thanks again.

  • Jonathan

    Good call, Mike. I give AvoDerm for at least being honest about thier meat ingredient’s position on the list. Unlike Nutro and their ingredient tap-dance … Lamb meal, ground rice, rice flour, rice bran, pea protein, whole brown rice, poultry fat … really guys? lol

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Aimee… Folks make a big to do over the first ingredient in any food product. And rightly so. But this can be misleading. Manufacturers are quite skilled at legally manipulating a recipe. They can make chicken appear to be the first ingredient when in fact it’s really the third or fourth.

    They accomplish this by taking the true first ingredient (like grain) and dividing the grain portion into a host of other smaller portions of cereals (like barley, oats, corn and wheat).

    The end result? The new smaller proportions of grains move the third or fourth ingredient further up the list.

    AvoDerm reports peas in position number one (where it more honestly belongs). So, yes, peas are probably the main item in this product. Pea protein might not be as nutritionally complete or biologically appropriate as meat. But when combined with meat, peas can still be considered a reasonable dog food component.

  • Aimee

    I’m not sure about the Earthborn, I can ask. Regarding the NB Alpha line, I will look into that as well. She does like the flavor of the NB lines. I think I might have to brake down and put wet food in it as well, but first I’m going to give it a couple days and see if she will eat the dry alone. She loves Orijen and Acana but the high protein content worries me since she’s such a small bread dog. She’s 6 1/2 lbs now and should get to 10 or 11. Also they are a little pricy. Thanks for the ideas.

  • Jonathan

    Aimee, it is certainly better than most any foods you could find in a grocery store! But, there are, obviously, better foods. Does anyone have Earthborn around where you live?

  • sandy sb

    Aimee,

    Have you looked into the NB Alpha line since you’ve used NB before? It’s a little more protein and a little less carbs than this Avoderm.

  • Aimee

    I’ve been through a lot of food with my Shihtzu. I just bought this today and didn’t realize it said peas as the first ingredient. She seems to really like it though. Is it still a good quility dog food? I mean better then the store bought brands? Why would AvoDerm put peas first? Sigh. She did like Natural Balance sweet potato and chicken, but again more of the carbs with the potato first. Not sure what to do now. Thanks for any advice.

  • Elizabeth

    Our vet recommended the Lite formula for our dog who is over-weight, after just a few days he seems happier and less agitated. On the pamphlet she gave us it was rated as the “Top-Notch” food, and I agree.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Andrew… Almost any quality adult food should work fine for both dogs. But of course, you’ll need to adjust serving size for each (activity level and energy requirements). By the way, topping a dry food with fresh chicken or veggies (or even a canned dog food) is nearly always an improvement over an otherwise ho-hum dry food meal.

  • andrew George

    Just as a sidenote to my post above and I think we all know it means jack, but the beef meal formula is showing in front of the peas. My dog is fairly active so i’ll report on his energy level in accordance to the protein issues that come with most dog foods. Again, the dog will be getting supplementary Blue Wilderness Chicken. It’s not quite a diet rotation (sometimes they are mixed and sometimes they are fed separately).

    One thing I’d like to add is that this might be a good transition bag for dogs that are used to carb diets. Since I’m not sure if we’ll be able to find By Nature here in Houston, I’ll also be looking for Casor & Pollux and Solid & Gold for the dogs.

    One question I did have is that my girlfriend has a rather active and not quite purebred Yorkie. He’s a little large at 11 pounds and quite the runner. The vet suggested larger kibble for his teeth, but I wanted to make sure these types of dog foods are proper for a little guy like him. I’ve read some posts here today and I’m wondering if its bad to give the Vizsla(3.5) and the Yorkie (6.5) the same food considering they are both fairly active. Since the little guy is so small I don’t mind getting him the nicer stuff that I can afford. My girlfriend has had him on Nature’s best for years now and I’d really like to upgrade to a solid Wilderness diet or something of that nature. When it comes to supplementing with wet food, I’ve always given my dog leftover chicken at meals and also boiled up breasts. If it’s not much of a difference economically, Would you suggest something like boile chicken or wet food to supplement the kibble. I was planning on making a month’s worth of chicken and put them in baggies and just pull out a week’s worth whe defrosting.

  • andrew George

    I have a 3.5 year old Vizsla and when he was a puppy I used to feed him the Puppy Chicken Meal & Brown Rice and would supplement in ground beef with carrots after mountain bike rides. My college budget took a hit and I had to switch to pedigree for a year. His coat took a hit. After finally getting a job I temporarily switched him to my girlfriend’s dogs regimine of Nature’s Best and I had only come across marginal reviews for a dog food of that price. I went ahead and got a small bag of of Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe and mixed the two so he’d get some solid protein in. His coat has completely taken a 180 and I’m ready to start looking for more dog food. My dog has always been fairly receptive to diet rotations and I’m still pretty happy with my purchase today of the AvoDerm grain free red meat. I went ahead and bought another awesome bag of Blue wilderness, which now my girlfriend’s dog enjoys as well and am up for any suggestions on supplementing his diet further.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Tom… I have to agree with your assessment here. It seems many newcomers to the grain free bandwagon are designing grain free dog foods that are low on meat. But rest assured, we do not give higher credit to any food just because its’ grain free. We shamelessly favor products containing a generous amount of meat-based protein.

  • Jonathan

    It’s a trickle-down effect, Tom. At the very least, it’s a positive step. Oh, and for something to be certified organic, it must pass pretty stringent requirements. What people have to look for is if it IS organic… or if it just “contains organic ingredients”. If you have a big piece of organic chicken meat, but then you cover it in a BBQ sauce that is full of high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, and BHA, you have defeated the purpose of the organic chicken meat…

  • http://www.k9criticalcare.com Tom Peters

    Grain free just is not the same as it used to be. In a lot of ways the higher carbohydrates and lower protein levels are much worse for a dog than if they were fed a high quality but not grain free food.

    This reminds me of going into a Walmart and now everything says organic on it just because that is the new trend. Is that happening to our dog foods now? Looks like it.

  • Cathy

    Yes, ingredient splitting has, unfortunately, been a successful marketing tool for the food industry. AvoDerm does indeed deserve credit for not playing the splitting game with their grain-free formula!

  • Jonathan

    I will say that peas and potatoes are better than rice and wheat and corn as far as a carbohydrate binder for making kibble, but yeah, the amount of protein the peas add (and considering that it’s the first ingredient) would really decrease the meat content. I will say that at least they are honest about their product and they didn’t try to do a bunch of splitting to get Salmon Meal up to the fist ingredient spot. Nutro is awful for that. Look at Natural Choice Venison and Brown Rice formula…

    “Venison Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Ground Rice, Rice Gluten, Rice Bran, Poultry Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Rice Flour”

    LOL! I’d have more respect for the product if they would be honest and the ingredients read like this…

    “Brown Rice, Venison Meal, Poultry Fat”

    I mean, the only reason they even use all those different types of rice is to get Venison Meal at the top of the list. And that, as I have learned in dealing with dog food customers, works. It is a common misconception that people with limited dog food knowledge have. They just look at the back of the bag and see that a meat is the “first” ingredient and go with it. Never mind that the food only has 21% protein…

  • Cathy

    Right on Jonathan. It’s unfortunate that these bandwagon grain-free foods are still so low in meat protein and so high in carbs. They’ve just changed the source of the carbs. Because peas are the first ingredient in this new Avoderm grain-free, then the peas have helped boost the protein % in this food (since Mike says peas are about 25% protein).

  • Jonathan

    THIS is an example of grain-free bandwagon foods, as would be Nutro’s new grain-free food. They think that by making it grain-free the product is suddenly good, despite the fact that they didn’t increase the meat content over their regular line! They are only seeing, and selling to people who only see the actual grain-free part as the only benefit of the other grain-free (but higher quality) foods. Sure, it can be. But what they are missing is that Wilderness, Orijen, Core, Primitive Natural, etc, are not just grain-free… but are lower in carbs and higher in meat altogether.