AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian (Dry)

Rating:

PRODUCT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian dry dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest rating of two stars.

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian is a meatless dry dog food designed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 20% | Fat = 9% | Carbs = 63%

Ingredients: Ground whole rice, soy flour, ground pearled barley, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), avocado meal, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potatoes, avocado oil, carrots, peas, flax seed, dried kelp, salt, lecithin, garlic oil, dried garlic powder, dried onion powder, Yucca schidigera extract, 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, iron amino acid chelate, manganous sulfate, manganese amino acid chelate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, copper amino acid chelate, calcium iodate)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis18%8%NA
Dry Matter Basis20%9%63%
Calorie Weighted Basis19%21%60%
Protein = 19% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 60%

The first ingredient in this dog food is whole rice. Whole rice is a quality ingredient… a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) is fairly easy to digest.

The second ingredient is soy flour… a high-protein by-product of soybean processing.

Compared to meat, soy protein has a notably low biological value. Yet it is still capable of raising the protein content of this food.

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

The fourth ingredient lists 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.1

The fifth ingredient is avocado meal… a dried by-product obtained after removing all the oil from the fruit.

It seems avocado products might be 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.

The next two items include dicalcium phosphate and calcium carbonate… likely used here as dietary calcium supplements.

The eighth ingredient is potato. Assuming they’re whole, potatoes are a good source of digestible carbohydrates and other healthy nutrients.

After the avocado oil (see our prior comments), we find 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.

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, garlic and onion are both controversial items. Although the majority of experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

Most of the professional literature we surveyed did not provide any conclusive warnings regarding the use of garlic or onion… especially in small amounts (as they are here).

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

And lastly, this food does contain 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 Vegetarian Dry
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian looks like a typical meatless dog food.

Just the same, this is the point in our review where we normally try to figure out how much meat is present in the dog food.

But (of course) here that will not be necessary. AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian is by design a 100% vegan product. There is no meat.

Now, before we continue…

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

That said, and before we determine our final rating, we need to estimate how much plant-based protein is actually present.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 20%, a fat level of 9% and estimated carbohydrates of about 63%.

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

No surprises here. This is clearly the profile of a kibble containing no meat. But unfortunately, this is also the profile of a dog food containing very little proteinof any kind.

Bottom line?

AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian is a plant-based dry dog food using soybean meal as its main source of protein… thus earning the brand two stars.

Not recommended.

Those looking for a wet meatless product from the same company may wish to visit our review of AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian canned 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

06/15/2012 Last Update

  1. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  2. Craigmill AL, et al. Toxicity of avocado (Persea americana, Guatamalan variety) leaves: review and preliminary report, Vet Hum Toxicol 1984;26:381
  3. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)