The Evolve product line includes 3 canned dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- Evolve Lamb Formula [U]
- Evolve Turkey Formula [U]
- Evolve Chicken Formula [U]
Evolve Chicken Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, lamb, brown rice, rice flour, carrots, ocean fish, oat bran, dried egg product, cottage cheese, peas, guar gum, potassium chloride, carrageenan, salt, minerals (iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide), brewers dried yeast, salt, chicory root extract, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E, A, D3, B12 supplements, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement), sodium tripolyphosphate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||32%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||56%||17%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is lamb. Lamb is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered” lamb and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.2
Lamb is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The fifth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient is rice flour. Rice flour is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The seventh ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient is ocean fish. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.3
Unfortunately, the phrase “ocean fish” is vague and does little to adequately describe this ingredient. Since some fish are higher in omega-3 fats than others, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this item.
In any case, fish meat is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The ninth ingredient is oat bran, a nutritious by-product obtained from milling whole grain oats. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, vitamins and minerals.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, we find cottage cheese. Compared to other dairy products, cottage cheese is high in protein yet contains 70% less lactose than whole milk.
Next, this recipe 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.
In addition, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and 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.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, 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.
And lastly, 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.
Evolve Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Evolve canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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 36%, a fat level of 32% and estimated carbohydrates of about 24%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 36% and a mean fat level of 32%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 24% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 88%.
Below-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a moderate amount of meat.
However, with 56% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 27% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.
Evolve is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
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.