AvoDerm Natural Lite Dog Food Review (Canned)

Rating:

This Review Has Been Merged with
AvoDerm Natural Canned Dog Food

AvoDerm Natural Lite canned dog food earns the Advisor’s second-lowest rating of two stars.

AvoDerm Natural Lite includes one canned dog food… designed “for overweight, less active dogs” and to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

AvoDerm Natural Lite Rice and Chicken Formula

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 23% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 56%

Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, rice flour, rice, ocean fish, dried egg product, peas, carrots, potatoes, barley, guar gum, flaxseed, salt, dried kelp, blueberries, cranberries, canola oil, potassium chloride, carrageenan, lecithin, 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 supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement), choline chloride

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 22.7%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis5%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis23%14%56%
Calorie Weighted Basis20%30%50%
Protein = 20% | Fat = 30% | Carbs = 50%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally worthless. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The second ingredient includes chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal. So long as it’s not over-weighted in a dog food, chicken liver is a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient lists rice flour. Rice flour is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fifth ingredient mentions 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 sixth ingredient lists ocean fish. Like chicken, fish can also be considered a protein-rich meat addition.

Unfortunately, this particular ingredient is anonymous. The phrase “ocean fish” does little to adequately describe this item. We would have preferred a named fish species.

The seventh ingredient is dried egg product… a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries… from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The eighth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

The ninth item lists carrots. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, minerals and yet more dietary fiber.

The tenth item includes potato. Assuming they’re whole, potatoes are a good source of digestible carbohydrates and other healthy nutrients.

The next item includes barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.

Guar gum is 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.

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.

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, we note this food contains two avocado-based ingredients… avocado meal and avocado oil.

Avocado products are 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 sick.2

Based upon our own review of the literature, it is our opinion that the anxiety over avocado ingredients in dog food (in reasonable amounts, of course) is probably unjustified.

Next, we find canola oil.

Most applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content… while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.

Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.3

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 Lite Canned Dog Food Review

When it comes to ingredient quality alone, AvoDerm Lite Dog Food looks like an above-average canned product.

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 23%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 56%.

Low protein. Low fat. And high carbohydrates… when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Even with no plant-based protein boosters, this still looks like the profile of a wet food containing only a modest amount of meat.

To be fair, we must question the accuracy of the label as reported by AvoDerm.

If the ingredients are correct, the nutrient numbers appear to be in error. The protein number looks too low. The fiber number looks too high. And our computed carbs appear out of sync with the ingredients as reported.

In any case, we have no choice but to go by the information as it is published by the company.

Bottom line?

AvoDerm Natural Lite is a plant-based canned dog food using only a modest amount of chicken as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand two stars.

Not recommended.

Those looking for a lite kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of AvoDerm Natural Lite dry dog food.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

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Notes and Updates

02/11/2010 Original review
09/11/2010 Review updated

06/12/2012 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Craigmill AL, et al. Toxicity of avocado (Persea americana, Guatamalan variety) leaves: review and preliminary report, Vet Hum Toxicol 1984;26:381
  3. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)