Evolution Diet Dog Food (Dry)

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Evolution Diet Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.

The Evolution Diet product line includes a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for all life stages.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

Evolution Diet Gourmet Pasta Veggie Burger

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 45%

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 indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%16%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%33%40%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 40%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes 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.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

The third ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like corn gluten and soybean meals can notably 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 fourth ingredient is soybean oil, which 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 lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is potato product, a dried residue of the potato processing industry primarily consisting 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.2

The eighth ingredient is dried molasses. Although molasses can be rich in minerals, it’s also a less refined form of sugar with a glycemic index in humans similar to maple syrup.

Like table sugar (and in excessive amounts), molasses has the potential to raise a dog’s blood sugar.

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 many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

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.

In addition, 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.

And lastly, this product also 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 Diet 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.

Judging by its ingredients alone, Evolution Diet looks like a below-average dry 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 31%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

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.

Bottom line?

Evolution Diet is a plant-based kibble using a notable amount of gluten and soybean meals as its main sources of protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content, and when appropriate, their fat-to-protein ratios.

Those looking for a similar wet food from this same company may wish to visit our review of Evolution Diet canned dog food.

Evolution Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Dog Food Coupons
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Special 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.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

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In any case, please be assured it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

09/12/2018 Last Update

  1. “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the last time we attempted to visit this product’s website. The current review itself was last updated 3/6/2014
  2. Dried Potato Product
  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)
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