Evanger’s Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Evanger’s Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Evanger’s Grain Free product line lists 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.

  • Evanger’s Grain Free Chicken
  • Evanger’s Grain Free Meat Lover’s Medley

Evanger’s Grain Free Chicken was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Evanger's Grain Free Chicken

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: De-boned chicken, sweet potato, chicken meal (a natural source of glucosamine), chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of natural vitamin E), fish meal, ground flax seed, pumpkin, yeast culture, alfalfa meal, alfalfa nutrient concentrate, natural chicken flavor, fruits and vegetables (carrots, peas, tomato, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, cranberries, blueberries), canola oil, potassium chloride, dried egg, kelp meal (ascophyllum nodosum), New Zealand green mussel, sea cucumber, eggshell meal, chicken cartilage (source of glucosamine), vitamins and minerals [vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate (source of vitamin B5), copper amino acid chelate, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), biotin, manganese amino acid chelate, magnesium amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), lecithin, dried chicory root, folic acid, cobalt carbonate], hydrolyzed yeast (source of beta glucans), Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Lactobacillus fermentum fermentation product, Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, glucosamine HCL, chondroitin sulfate natural preservative (natural mixed tocopherols, citric acid), rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis33%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%18%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%37%33%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

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 fish 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

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

The sixth 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.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh item is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient is yeast culture. Although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.

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

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, we find canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.

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.

Next, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

In addition, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

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.

Evanger’s Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Evanger’s 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 36%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, yeast culture and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Evanger’s Grain Free is a plant-based kibble using a significant amount of chicken or beef meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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.

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

Notes and Updates

09/12/2012 Original review
04/05/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • June V.P.

    My poodles have been doing really good on Evangers grainfree chicken. I’ve tried others but came back to this.

  • Elaine

    Thank you for the info. I am still on the search for a good dog food and with so many to pick from it looks like it may take a while.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Wellness moved away from Diamond as fast as they could after the last big recall. They make all of their own kibble now and Diamond never did their canned.

  • Elaine

    sorry for the double post. i thought i deleted it but i guess it did not delete. i am new to this

  • Elaine

    Hi everyone; I have researching dry dog foods for months now and i am looking for a food that does not have potato, beet pulb, garlic or vit k in it. I looked into Evangers grain free. It has a 5 star rating and it seems to be what i want but as i see in the comments that most people do not like it. i have 2 rescue dogs a lhasa/maltese mix and a maltese/yorkie mix, they tell me .My last dog was 120 lb malamute that i fed a raw diet. He passed away from cancer at 14 which is great for a large dog. These 2 little guys do not like raw for some reason and when they do eat raw they only eat very little and they get loose stools. It is funny that do not like raw because they love veggies and apples and bananas which i feed them every so often. I have tried Blue Buffalo but the lhasa had a bad itching reaction to it. I also tried Wellness but since i found out it is made by the Diamond company i stopped that one also. They are now eating Nutro Natural and i see all the bad reviews so i am affraid of useing that one even though they are doing good on it. Please let me know why Evangers is not liked by a lot of people. Thanks for your help in finding the best dog food for my little ones.

  • shannoncookie

    It seems like the company has been involved in some fraud and label misrepresentation to the point that the fda had a ban on some of their food for a while… google search evangers and fraud you will come up with some interesting stories ..
    http://dogsintraining.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/evangers-joins-the-party-on-the-do-not-buy-list/

    I went into the pet food store a couple months back and bought some of their wet food cus the label seemed good and it was on sale. After bringing it home I did some research and didnt feed it to my dog the company seems smallish and shady..

    Im also too scared to feed my dogs nutro cus they have so many bad reviews. If you look on the consumer affairs website there are a lot of REALLY scary complaints.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi! Cute dog.

  • Guest

    Hi everyone; I have researching dry dog foods for months now and i am looking for a food that does not have potato, beet pulb, garlic or vit k in it. I looked into Evangers grain free. It has a 5 star rating and it seems to be what i want but as i see comments most people do not like it. i have 2 rescue dogs, 1 is a lhasa/maltese mix and the other 1 is a maltese/yorkie mix they tell me. I have tried bb and the lhasa had a bad itching reaction to it. I also tried Wellness but since i found out it is by the Diamond company i stopped that one also They are now eating Nutro Natural and i see all the bad reviews so i am affraid of useing that on also even tho that are going good on it. Please let me know why Evangers is not like by a lot of people. Thanks for your help in finding the best dog food for my little ones..

  • Guest

    Hi eveyon

  • InkedMarie

    Do a google search on Evangers. They are an extremely shady company. It’s the one company I will never, ever, buy food from.

  • ljrhap

    We opened a can of Evangers to find black mold right on top! When I called to report this they were totally flippant and basically told me I must have done something to it or that it was not mold. Yes I did something to it….I opened the can. This company is TOTALLY un-trustable! I will never recommend them and when I find products that are processed in their plant I will not buy them either (FYI watch out as Evangers has their own processing plant and there are quit a few dog foods that are processed there). It definitely makes me think twice about how reputable this Dog food advisor is since they are rating Evangers as a number 5 food. NO WAY!!!!! Just goes to show how hard it really is to determine the best dog foods.

  • http://www.TAPF.com/ Barry Collier

    I volunteer for a greyhound rescue in Wisconsin and Evanger’s has a program to assist rescues and shelters organizations. It’s a great program for people in need of good food at a discount.

  • grace

    I’ve started my pups on this food, and the crazy thing is, their poop doesn’t smell on this food. It also smells like chocolate, and they love it.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Oh I wouldn’t use any of their products either, they’re too sketchy. Just heard about it and wanted to put it out there.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I still won’t be buying it.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’m hearing that Evanger’s will be launching a new air-dried formula – it sounds ZiwiPeak-esque. Supposedly 85% meat and grain-free.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Thanks, but…..siiiiiiiiiigh…. wish folks like that would just stay awaaaaaay from DFA!!! :-)

  • InkedMarie

    Same reason I won’t use a Diamond made food. I don’t trust them. It’s not like there’s not other food to choose

  • Pattyvaughn

    I feel the same way actually. I’m glad that those 2 are not our only options :-)

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Evanger’s makes me cringe. I honestly think I’d rather feed a Diamond made product..

  • Pattyvaughn

    They do look good on paper, that’s why you have to dig a little deeper. Think Diamond.

  • Cyndi

    That’s true, you’re right. I was just going by Dr. Mike’s review of it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Might not be decent at all. I’m with you. I wouldn’t trust them at all.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If they lie about what is in it, how do you know that it is better than Beneful. You know what I mean.

  • InkedMarie

    Might be decent but no way would I give Evangers my business

  • Cyndi

    You were totally right! You should be a private investigator! Lol! Good work!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Yes it does. Nature’s Select is made by Mid America Pet Food in TX (who also makes Victor).

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Carmen, Sarah and Calli…

    Your use of multiple identities as evidenced by your comments posted on this and other articles using the same computer and IP address is a violation of Our Commenting Policy.

    This rule clearly states:

    “…the use of multiple identities or other deceptive tactics designed to mislead readers are strictly forbidden.”

    Because you have violated this policy, all your comments have been removed.

  • Cyndi

    I know what you mean.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Deception, generally, makes me mad :-(

  • Cyndi

    Well, atleast it’s a decent dog food and it’s not Beneful or some crap like that they’re trying to talk up. I’d be really mad about that!

  • Storm’s Mom

    It is, isn’t it?! ….sigh… :-(

  • Cyndi

    Hmmmm, that is a bit of a coincedence. (sp?)

  • Storm’s Mom

    two people (“sarah” and “Carmen”), both with dogs named “Lilly” (even with the same spelling!), come on here about 10 minutes of each other (one in this thread, the other on the Evanger’s grain-inclusive review) to give glowing testimonials of Evanger’s …hmmm….

    Wasn’t Evanger’s the company that was proven by the FDA to, in fact, NOT “give you what they tell you”? ..in the form of including different protein than what their packaging said?

    Edit: “Calli”, too, looks like…siiiiiiigh…

  • sarah

    I started with Evanger’s when my dog Lilly got sick 4 years ago. She was itching and scratching and she had to be allergic to something. I tried the Evanger’s whitefish becasue i thought the fish would be a nice change and it was! She stopped itching and scratching. She is now 6 and looks healthy and strong! I give her some of the canned food too because I heard it’s very beneficial and nutritious. I noticed their ingredients and it was so simple. I knew exactly what they were putting in and appreciate that. There arent many companies still doing it. They also have organic! I give her some of the organic cooked chicken, sweet potato and I love the whole chicken thighs and hunk of beef. Her dinner looks better than mine and it should! I am so happy to have found a company that actually gives you what they tell you and is all natural. Evangers has made my experience with Lilly so easy

  • Calli

    I say try the Evanger’s Grain Free Chicken. It’s the most basic and it’s grain free! but my vet told me that canned is much better and has more health benefits. Any of the Evanger’s canned food is good. I have used it all my life on chow and husky and I have never had a problem. Actually, the vetirnarian has to call and remind me for appointments because we never need to go. A little more expensive but saving money on vet bills! and very good quality food. Sometimes my dogs dinner looks better than mine.

  • InkedMarie

    well, sc**w them, not the kind of company I want to deal with. I’ll stick with Darwins and Brothers!

  • Shawna

    In addition to cheating the gas company, they were sued and found guilty of not paying employees for working overtime hours… 

  • InkedMarie

    Wow! The only thing I had heard about Evangers was their canned food that had food in it that was not on the label. 

  • Guest

    We found a very sizeable chunk of mold in the bottom of a bag that had only been open a day. Evanger’s refused to get back to us despite repeated emails, phone calls and facebook posts (which were promptly deleted by an employee) until we got the USDA involved. Very sketchy company, do a google search for them and their warehouse conditions and issues with cheating the gas company. I know this doesn’t speak to the quality of the food, but I like to look at the company as a whole, not just their nutritional value. They promised us a free bag of food to prove they were not all bad. I gave up waiting for that free food over a year ago.

  • guest

    This has an uncanny resemblence to Natures Select Grain Free (except for lamb meal).

  • Jessie

    Yum!!

  • Ryoung

    Thank you !

  • Ryoung

    Thank you. I fed him Artemis for a while and my vet switched him to Royal Canine Veterinary GI, but he doesn’t  really like it and I would prefer to keep him on a more natural diet. My other dogs do well on Artemis, but this one threw up often. He does less so with the Royal Canine but he isn’t fond of it. He eats two times a day. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Ryoung –

    Here’s a list of grain-free 4 and 5 star foods with appropriate calcium levels for large/giant breed puppies. Grain-free/chicken free should help a dog with a sensitive stomach.

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwApI_dhlbnFY183Q0NVRXlidWc/edit

  • Stephanie

     Ryoung, what do you feed him now? How much and how often? If you think the issue is volume, could you address it by feeding him smaller meals more frequently>

  • Ryoung

    What dog food would you recommend for large breed (Mastiff)
    with sensative stomach ? Has tendency to throw up if food expands too much.
    Would like to stay with the natural/organic food brands. Dry and canned.
    Thank you !