Evolution Diet Dry Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
The Evolution Diet product line includes two dry vegan dog food, 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 Pasta Veggie Burger
- Evolution Diet Gourmet Fondue Veggie Cheese Burger
Evolution Diet Gourmet Pasta Veggie Burger was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Evolution Diet Gourmet Pasta Veggie Burger
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Non-GMO whole oats, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, soybean oil, carrots, dried tomato pomace, dried potato product, dried molasses, deflourinated phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, nutritional yeast, arginine, dl-methionine, kelp meal, taurine, garlic, enzyme bromelain from pineapple stem and fruit, enzyme papain from papaya, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, lysine, choline chloride, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D2 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, ascorbic acid, calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamin mononitrate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, folic acid, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B-2), inositol, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, zinc methionine complex, copper lysine complex, manganese, methionine complex, l-carnitine, arachidonic acid, rosemary extract, cobalt glucoheptonate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||16%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||33%||40%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is non-GMO whole oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The second ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly 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 item mentions 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 fourth item is 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.
The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient lists 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 seventh ingredient is potato product, a dried residue of the potato processing industry consisting primarily of potato pieces, peelings and culls.
With the exception of perhaps its caloric content and a small amount of protein, potato product is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.1
The eighth ingredient is dried molasses, another inexpensive feed ingredient frequently promoted as a plant fertilizer.
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, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
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.
Thirdly, 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.
And lastly, this Evolution Diet product contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.
Evolution Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Evolution Diet is (by design) a meatless product.
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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
This is clearly the profile of a kibble containing absolutely no meat.
What’s more, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipes.
Evolution Diet Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a notable amount of gluten and soybean meals as its main source of protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.
Those looking for a similar wet food from this same company may wish to visit our review of Evolution Diet canned 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
04/23/2010 Original review
11/22/2010 Review updated
08/20/2012 Last Update