Evolution Diet Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Evolution Diet canned dog food earns the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.

The Evolution Diet product line includes two canned 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.

  • Evolution Diet Gourmet Entree
  • Evolution Diet Vegetable Stew

Evolution Diet Vegetable Stew was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Evolution Diet Gourmet Vegetable Stew Entree

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: Filtered water sufficient for processing, peas (high source of complex proteins), potatoes (good source of complex proteins), brown rice, carrots, wheat germ, oat groats, dicalcium phosphate, soybean oil, nutritional yeast, dl-methionine, l-taurine, guar gum, sea kelp, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), vitamin A acetate, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), choline chloride, ferrous sulphate, zinc oxide, manganese oxide, niacin, calcium pantothenate, copper oxide, manganese sulfate, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, sodium selenate, arachidonic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%21%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%42%31%

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 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 brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth ingredient is wheat germ. Wheat germ is a nutritious by-product of the wheat milling process and also rich in dietary fiber, B-vitamins and minerals.

However, since it contains at least 25% plant-based protein and depending upon the amount, this ingredient can 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 seventh ingredient is oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The eighth ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.

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, soybean oil is red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.

However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3′s, it’s considered less nutritious than flaxseed oil or a named animal fat.

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Evolution Diet Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Evolution Diet is — by design — a meatless canned dog food.

So, although we do recognize the need for some dog owners to provide (for whatever reason) a completely meat-free diet, 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.

Judging by its ingredients alone, Evolution Diet looks like an average canned dog food.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33%, a fat level of 21% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

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

This is clearly the profile of a kibble containing absolutely no meat.

Bottom line?

Evolution Diet is a plant-based canned product using a notable amount of peas as its main source of protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.

Not recommended.

Those looking for a dry vegan product from the same company may wish to visit our review of Evolution Diet dry dog food.

Special Alert

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

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

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.

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Notes and Updates

04/23/2010 Original review
03/19/2014 Last Update

  • Adrienne Weiss

    Eric Weisman refuses to replace any dented cans of his Evolution canned dog food. Out of an order of 75 cans, a second order – the first being 25 cans- I received 51 dented cans. With other vegan options, one should consider not purchasing any product from him. What sort of person represents his/her product line like this?