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AvoDerm Natural Dry Dog Food
AvoDerm Natural Senior dry dog food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
AvoDerm Natural Senior is a dry kibble made for older pets. The recipe meets AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
AvoDerm Natural Senior Chicken Meal and Brown Rice
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground whole brown rice, ground whole white rice, oatmeal, rice bran, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), avocado, tomato pomace (source of lycopene), flax seed (source of omega-3 fatty acid), chicken cartilage (natural source of chondroitin sulfate & glucosamine), alfalfa meal, natural flavor, oat bran, carrots, herring meal, salt, potassium chloride, vitamins (choline chloride, a-tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, folic acid), minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc amino acid chelate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese amino acid chelate, copper sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), kelp meal, avocado oil, lecithin, rosemary extract, sage extract, pineapple stem (source of bromelain), papain, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||22%||11%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||21%||25%||54%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is brown rice. Brown rice is a quality item. It’s a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) is fairly easy to digest.
The third ingredient is white rice… a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.
The fourth item is oatmeal… a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in fiber, B-vitamins and (like rice and unlike many other grains) is mostly gluten-free.
The fifth ingredient is rice bran… a healthy by-product of rice milling. Though not as nutritionally complete as whole grain rice, brans are still unusually rich in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
With no less than three rice ingredients listed within the first five, there’s an important issue to consider here… the questionable practice of ingredient splitting.
If you were to combine all three rice ingredients, the rice would probably occupy a higher position on the list… probably nudging out the chicken meal for “first ingredient status”.
The sixth ingredient lists 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. Though it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is a quality ingredient.
The seventh ingredient is avocado. Avocado can be a controversial item.
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.1
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.
The eighth ingredient is 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 ninth 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, plant-based oils (like flax) are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
The tenth ingredient includes chicken cartilage… a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate… added here to support joint health.
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, the manufacturer appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.
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 Senior Dry Dog Food Review
Even though a quality item like chicken meal occupies the number one position on the ingredient list, we have very little confidence in there being much meat in this AvoDerm Natural Senior kibble.
And a glance at the food’s nutrient percentages appear to verify that impression.
Low protein. Low fat. And above-average carbohydrates… when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even with no sign of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing only a limited amount of meat.
AvoDerm Natural Senior is a rice-based dry dog food using only a limited amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Those looking for the company’s standard (non-senior) kibble may wish to visit our review of AvoDerm Natural dry dog food.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
02/12/2010 Original review
09/17/2010 Review updated
- Craigmill AL, et al. Toxicity of avocado (Persea americana, Guatamalan variety) leaves: review and preliminary report, Vet Hum Toxicol 1984;26:381 ↩
06/16/2012 Last Update