Evolve Dog Food Review 2024

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Written by Joe Holyoake

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/28/2024, edited: 05/28/2024

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The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.


Pick up an Evolve dog food product from the shelf of your local pet shop and you’ll find lots of statements on the packaging alluding to the quality of the recipe and ingredients used — is Evolve dog food good or is this all marketing bluster?

This is where Evolve dog food reviews can really help pet parents in their quest to serve healthy dinners. After closer inspection, Wag! finds Evolve’s claims to be justified — this is dog food made with premium ingredients and none of the nasty things that are sometimes buried away in teeny-tiny print.

We also like the wide range of products both wet and dry, but are less keen on the pair of product recalls in recent years and the FDA’s written warnings to Evolve’s parent company.

Overall, Wag! believes Evolve dog food to be a solid choice, especially when the products’ reasonable price is taken into consideration. However, we would understand why some parents might decide to exercise caution given the brand’s recall history.

Evolve dog food products and flavors

Evolve has a pretty large collection of pet food, which also includes cat food and dog treats. However, for this review, we will only be focusing on the brand’s dry and wet dog food.

Evolve Classic Dog Food

Evolve Classic Dog Food

Evolve Classic dog food

This is by far the company’s biggest category and encompasses Evolve dry dog food and wet options as well, with the latter of these either coming in a can or a smaller tray. 

There are a few things that unite all of the Classic recipes. First of all, they contain real meat or fish as the first-listed ingredients, something which is reflected in the high protein levels — aided by additional sources of animal protein, such as named meat meals (and never animal byproduct meals).

As well as this, the Classic recipes contain grains for energy (but not corn, wheat or soy) and lots of vegetables and fruit, too. All this and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, either. Very impressive.

Evolve Classic dog food Flavors

  • Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe (Dry)
  • Beef, Barley and Bison Recipe (Dry)
  • Lamb and Brown Rice Recipe (Dry)
  • Canned Chicken and Rice Recipe (Wet)
  • Canned Turkey and Rice Recipe (Wet)
  • Crafted Meals Chicken Recipe (Wet)
  • Crafted Meals with Salmon (Wet)
  • Crafted Meals Turkey Recipe (Wet)
  • Crafted Meals with Venison (Wet)
  • Crafted Meals Chicken Stew (Wet)
  • Crafted Meals Beef Stew (Wet)
  • Crafted Meals Lamb Recipe (Wet)

Evolve Grain-Free Dog Food

Evolve Grain-Free Dog Food

Evolve Grain-Free dog food

Evolve grain-free dog food sticks to the same formula as the Classic range, but omits grains from the recipes — and replaces them with sweet potato instead. This is a boon for parents of dogs that find it difficult to digest grains.

Another grain-free sub-category is the pair of Small Batch recipes. These differ from the other Evolve dry dog food in that the ingredients are blended in smaller batches and slow-baked at lower temperatures. 

Note that while none of the Evolve canned dog food recipes fall into this category, some of the Classic Crafted Meals also fall into the grain-free category as well.

Evolve Grain-Free dog food Flavors

  • Salmon and Sweet Potato Recipe (Dry)
  • Turkey and Sweet Potato Recipe (Dry)
  • Deboned Chicken, Sweet Potato and Berry Recipe (Dry)
  • Duck, Sweet Potato and Venison Recipe (Dry)
  • Chicken, Sweet Potato and Berry Recipe (Dry) (Puppy/Senior)
  • Small Batch Baked Chicken, Sweet Potato and Apple (Dry)
  • Small Batch Baked Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry (Dry)

Evolve Simply Six Dog Food

Evolve Simply Six Dog Food

Evolve Simply Six

Any parent of a dog who struggles to tolerate certain ingredients in dog food will quickly tell you of the struggle to find suitable recipes.

The Evolve Simply Six range might help. These include just six key ingredients, which limits the number of potential allergens. Real meat is still the first-listed ingredient and a similarly high standard is maintained with the rest of the ingredients.

Evolve Simply Six Flavors

  • Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe (Dry)
  • Turkey and Brown Rice Recipe (Dry)

Why Wag! likes Evolve dog food

The range of Evolve dog food is helpfully large

Each dog is an individual, not just in terms of personality but also when it comes to dinnertime, too. Some pets will have trouble digesting certain ingredients and others just might not like the taste of some recipes.

That’s why it’ll come as a relief to parents to see that Evolve has a wealth of dog food products, which should make finding the perfect one easier.

The first listed ingredient is always real meat or fish

This is one of the key signifiers of top-quality dog food. Not only is real meat or fish a great source of protein, but it’s also naturally packed full of vital Omega fatty acids and minerals, like taurine.

Evolve dog food recipes also usually include a named meat meal as well. This is essentially a protein concentrate, which is reflected in the food’s impressive nutritional stats. Sure, we prefer to see real meat and organs in dog food, but a named meat or fish meal is much better than meat byproducts or derivatives, both of which are absent in Evolve dog food recipes.

The other ingredients are just as exemplary

It’s clear Evolve takes a great deal of pride in the standard of what goes into their dog food. That means you won’t find any corn, wheat or soy — instead, carbs come from healthier grains, such as brown rice or antioxidant-rich sweet potato. There are no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors in the mix, either.

We also appreciate the fact that many of the recipes are enhanced with pre- or probiotics to aid with a dog’s digestion.

The recipes are good value

We wouldn’t go as far as calling Evolve dog food cheap, but we certainly think some of the products are reasonably priced given the premium formulation. At the time of writing, it was possible to find Evolve classic dog food (the dry, chicken recipe) for $1.87/lb. A variety pack of Classic Crafted Meals worked out at $1.66 per tray.

While there are definitely cheaper dog food brands out there, they most likely won’t be as nutritionally beneficial for your pet.

Concerns & considerations

The company has been involved in two recalls

There have been two recalls of Evolve dog food products since 2019. The first was for potentially dangerous Vitamin D levels and the second was for the potentially dangerous levels of aflatoxin. 

Evolve’s parent company — Sunshine Mills — has also been reprimanded by the FDA for manufacturing violations in one of its plants, although it was not specified if Evolve dog food is manufactured in the facility in question.

The inclusion of Carrageenan in some of the wet recipes is controversial

Carrageenans are a natural food additive derived from seaweed that is sometimes added to wet dog food as a gelling agent. It’s considered by some experts to be a controversial ingredient due to studies linking it to gastrointestinal inflammation and decreased immunity.

However, the FDA deems certain versions of carrageenan to be safe for consumption. Likewise, the AAFCO states it to be an acceptable ingredient.

The Classic Crafted Meals are made in the Netherlands

Although the bulk of Evolve dog food is made in US facilities owned and run by the parent company, the Classic Crafted Meals are manufactured in the Netherlands.

What pet parents say about Evolve dog food

“FINALLY! I found a food that both of my furbabies will eat. I like that this food is not full ‘jelly’ or fat. It smells like real food which is exactly what it is! Real food without all of the fillers.”

“My dogs really prefer this paté style to chunk style. They gobbled it all up. This is good soft food. I will buy it again.”

“This food is great if you are looking for a smooth[,] [ground-up] food. I use this to give daily meds…(pill pockets never worked for us!) and the dogs love it. This is completely ground and smooth (no chunks) and it does not get hard in the refrigerator (so saving a partially used can for use later is great!) The ingredients are excellent, and the price is good too.”

Read more reviews at Chewy.

Evolve dog food history

Evolve Pet Food is one of the brands under the control of parent company, Sunshine Mills. This is an independent and family-owned group headquartered in the small Alabama town of Red Bay.

Sunshine Mill’s history stretches back to 1947 when Omer Bullen and his son-in-law, Fred Bostick, Jr started an animal feed company. This venture was successful and in 1960, it started to produce pet food, too.

In the following decades, Sunshine Mills launched several different pet food brands, including Triumph, Sportsman’s Pride and Nurture Farms. Today, the fourth generation of the Bostick family is at the helm of the company.

Evolve dog food recall history

There have been two Evolve dog food recall incidents in recent years.

The first was in 2018 when an Evolve dry dog food for puppies was among several other products manufactured by Sunshine Mills that were voluntarily recalled due to the detection of potentially unsafe levels of Vitamin D.

The only Evolve dog food product affected was the Chicken and Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food.

The second incident occurred in 2021 when Sunshine Mills issued another voluntary recall of certain products due to the risk of heightened levels of aflatoxin, a potentially fatal toxin if consumed in large amounts. This was done out of precaution as no illnesses were recorded from the consumption of any affected recipes.

The Evolve products recalled were two batches of the Deboned Chicken and Brown Rice variety of dry Evolve Classic dog food.

In March 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to Sunshine Mills outlining manufacturing violations observed during an inspection of one of the group’s facilities and the corrective measures required. This communication did not specify which of the group’s brands were affected.

This followed a similar letter sent to Sunshine Mills in 2019, which told of manufacturing violations discovered during an FDA inspection of one of Sunshine Mill’s plants that was made in response to the Vitamin D recall.

Product images sourced from the Chewy and Evolve websites. Copyright Sunshine Mills, Inc.


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