AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian (Canned)

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Rating: ★★½☆☆

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian Formula canned dog food earns the Advisor’s second lowest-tier rating of 2.5 stars.

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian is a meatless canned dog food claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian Formula Adult

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 15% | Carbs = 48%

Ingredients: Water, soybean meal, rice, canola oil, barley, peas, carrots, potatoes, guar gum, tricalcium phosphate, blueberries, cranberries, carrageenan, calcium carbonate, tomato paste, flax seed, dried kelp, potassium chloride, lecithin, salt, avocado meal, avocado oil, 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) = 7.7%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%15%48%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%33%42%

The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The second ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The third 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 fourth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The fifth item is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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.

The ninth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.

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, 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, we note that this product contains avocado oiland avocado meal. Avocado products 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.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.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated mineralsminerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

AvoDerm Natural
Vegetarian Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian canned dog food is by design a meatless product.

So, although we recognize the need for some dog owners to feed a meat-free diet, we also respect a dog’s natural carnivorous bias.

That said, and before we assign our final rating, it’s still important to compare the amount of plant-based protein present with other dog foods.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 48%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbohydrates when compared to a typical canned dog food.

As expected with any vegetarian recipe, our analysis confirms this recipe to be a dog food containing no meat.

Bottom line?

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian is a 100% plant-based canned dog food using a significant amount of soy meal as its main source of protein thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Not recommended.

Those looking for a vegetarian kibble may wish to visit our review of AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian dry dog food.

AvoDerm Natural Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

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A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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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.

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Notes and Updates

06/29/2015 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
  • al marks

    Having tried all manner of meat based foods, our 16 year old Yorkie has decided he’d rather starve to death than eat anything other than his AVODERM VEGETARIAN. Go figure.

  • lisa c.

    My dog ate this yesterday, puked up alllll of it today. It was awful. Tons of full-vegetable chunks still in tact. So disappointed :(

  • pfolfried

    Sorry, but this person does not understand food. Please read: http://www.soymeal.org/FactSheets/domesticpets.pdf

  • Marie

    Okay, that sounds fair. :) Wish AvoDerm would do that, at least…vegetarian doesn’t need to mean ‘vegan’. Thanks for your feedback!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Marie… Good question. Yes, if one were to substitute dried egg for the soy protein, this would be a significant improvement in the quality of this food. After all, egg boasts an unusually high biological value compared to soy.

    But unless the company added sufficient egg to raise the dry matter protein content to say at least 24%, this food product wouldn’t qualify for 3 stars.

  • Marie

    Hi Mike, I have a question for you….let’s hypothetically say that this brand was reformulated and used eggs as the main source of protein instead of soy – what rating do you think it would earn? I know eggs aren’t vegan, but they are vegetarian and a good source of protein (but I know it still isn’t ‘meat’).

    Just curious. :)

    Thanks!

  • The Dog Whisperer

    I don’t understand why people would feed their dog a vegan diet, unless they themselves were vegan. Just doesn’t make sense.