AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian Formula canned dog food earns the Advisor’s second lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian is a meatless canned dog food claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian Formula Adult
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||15%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||33%||42%|
The first item in this dog food lists 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. Soybean meal is relatively useful by-product — what remains of soybeans after all the oil has been removed.
Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
The third ingredient lists whole rice. Once cooked, whole rice is a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Yet aside from its inherent energy content, rice is only of modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fourth 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 fifth item lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth item is canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1
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 seventh ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The eighth ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber. Peas contain about 25% protein.
Unlike the controversial item, tomato pomace, the tomato paste detailed here does not include the skin or seeds of the fruit.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, we note that this product contains avocado oil.
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.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.
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 Vegetarian Canned
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian looks like an average canned dog food.
Now, this is the point in our review where we normally try to figure out how much meat is present in the dog food.
However, AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian is — by design — a vegan product — meatless.
So, before we continue…
Please understand we do recognize the need for some dog owners to provide (for whatever reason) a completely meat-free diet.
However, we also respect a dog’s natural carnivorous bias. For this reason, the highest rating awarded any vegetarian dog food found on this website can never exceed two stars.
That said, and before we determine our final rating, it’s still important to estimate how much plant-based protein might be present.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbohydrates… when compared to a typical canned dog food.
As we’d expect, this is obviously the profile of a canned dog food containing no meat.
AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian is a 100% plant-based canned dog food using a considerable amount of soy meal as its main source of protein… thus earning the brand two stars.
If a vegetarian diet is your goal (a strategy we cannot scientifically endorse), then AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian Formula may be worthy of your consideration.
Those looking for a vegetarian kibble may wish to visit our review of AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian dry 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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Notes and Updates
02/10/2010 Original review
09/16/2010 Review updated
06/14/2012 Last Update