Review of Evolve Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Evolve Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Evolve Grain Free product line includes the 5 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
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|Evolve Grain Free Puppy||5||A|
|Evolve Grain Free Duck, Sweet Potato and Venison||5||M|
|Evolve Grain Free Salmon and Sweet Potato||4.5||A|
|Evolve Grain Free Senior||3||M|
|Evolve Grain Free Turkey and Sweet Potato||4.5||A|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Evolve Grain Free Salmon and Sweet Potato 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 Grain Free Salmon and Sweet Potato
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned salmon, chicken meal, tapioca starch, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, turkey meal, peas, pea starch, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), ground flaxseed, dried plain beet pulp, dried yeast, dried apples, natural chicken flavor, salt, menhaden fish oil, dried chicory root, Yucca schidigera extract, calcium carbonate, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, avocado, dried carrots, parsley, papaya, spinach, kale powder, potassium chloride, taurine, dl-methionine, minerals (copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, iron sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), 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), 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) = 3.3%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||17%||48%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||35%||41%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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 tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The fourth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The fifth ingredient includes garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Like peas, beans and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (pulse) family of vegetables.
However, garbanzo beans contain about 22% protein, something which must be considered when evaluating the total protein reported in this food.
The sixth ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The seventh ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The eighth ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The ninth ingredient is 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. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
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 Evolve product.
With 7 notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, 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.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
In addition, dried yeast can be a controversial item. Dried yeast contains about 45% protein and is rich in other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, we feel yeast should be considered a nutritious addition.
Next, this recipe contains 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 ill.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.
Next, taurine is 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.
This food also includes chicory root. Chicory 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.
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 Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
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 garbanzo beans, peas, flaxseed and yeast, this still looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Our Rating of Evolve Grain Free Dog Food
Evolve Grain Free is a dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Has Evolve Brand Dog Food Been Recalled?
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Evolve.
- 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 Brand 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.
- Craigmill AL, et al. Toxicity of avocado (Persea americana, Guatemalan variety) leaves: review and preliminary report, Vet Hum Toxicol 1984;26:381 ↩
05/11/2021 Last Update