Evanger’s Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s best rating of 5 stars.
The Evanger’s Grain Free product line includes the 3 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Use the links to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.
- Evanger’s Grain Free Chicken with Sweet Potato and Pumpkin [A]
- Evanger’s Grain Free Meat Lover’s Medley with Rabbit [A]
- Evanger’s Grain Free Whitefish and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]
Evanger’s Grain Free Chicken with Sweet Potato and Pumpkin was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Evanger's Grain Free Chicken with Sweet Potato and Pumpkin
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: De-boned chicken, sweet potato, chicken meal (a source of glucosamine), chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), fish meal, ground flax seed, pumpkin, yeast culture, alfalfa meal, natural chicken flavor, fruits and vegetables (carrots, peas, tomato, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, cranberries, blueberries), potassium chloride, dried egg, kelp meal (Ascophyllum nodosum), New Zealand green mussel, eggshell meal, vitamins and minerals [vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate (source of vitamin B5), copper amino acid chelate, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), biotin, manganese amino acid chelate, magnesium amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), lecithin, dried chicory root, cobalt carbonate, hydrolyzed yeast (source of beta-glucans), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus fermentum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product (Lactosacc™ - probiotics), taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, glucosamine HCL, chondroitin sulfate, natural mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||18%||38%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||37%||33%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The fourth ingredient is chicken fat. This item 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. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
The next 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, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient is yeast culture. Although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.
The next ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
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 4 notable exceptions…
First, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Next, this food 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.
In addition, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
And lastly, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
Evanger’s Grain Free Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Evanger’s Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.
Which means that this Evanger’s product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, yeast culture and alfalfa meal and peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Evanger’s Grain Free is a dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Evanger’s Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Evanger’s product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Evanger’s and Against the Grain Dog Food Recall Expands (2/28/2017)
- Evanger’s Dog Food Recall of February 2017 (2/3/2017)
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
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
01/05/2020 Last Update