Which Evolve Recipes Get
Our Best Ratings?
Evolve Classic Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Evolve Classic product line includes the 3 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Evolve Classic Beef, Barley and Brown Rice||4||A|
|Evolve Classic Lamb and Brown Rice||4.5||A|
|Evolve Classic Chicken and Brown Rice||4.5||A|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Evolve Classic Chicken and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Evolve Classic Chicken and Brown Rice
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, ground brown rice, pearled barley, oat groats, rice bran, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, flaxseed meal, natural chicken flavor, menhaden fish meal, salt, dried egg product, potassium chloride, Yucca schidigera extract, dried kelp, dried chicory root, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, avocado, dried apples, dried carrots, parsley, papaya, spinach, kale powder, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate, folic acid), minerals (copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, iron sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||17%||47%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||36%||40%|
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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The fourth ingredient is barley, a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.
The sixth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The ninth ingredient is flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But realistically, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this Evolve product.
With 6 notable exceptions…
First, we find menhaden 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
Next, this recipe includes 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.
In addition, we note the use of avocado, which 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 ill.2
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.
Next, we find dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.
We also find sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium in this food. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
Based on its ingredients alone, Evolve Classic Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.
Which means this Evolve product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Our Rating of Evolve Classic Dog Food
Evolve Classic is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Evolve Dog Food Recall History
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Evolve through August 2022.
- Six Dog Food Brands Recalled Due to Dangerous Mold Toxin (7/29/2021)
- Dangerous Levels of Vitamin D Discovered in Several Dog Food Brands (12/7/2018)
- Evolve, Sportsman’s Pride, and Triumph Dog Food Recall (11/28/2018)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Evolve Reviews
The following Evolve dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
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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.
06/28/2022 Last Update