Primal Raw Frozen Formulas Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Primal Raw Frozen Formulas product line includes nine raw frozen recipes, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Primal Canine Pork
- Primal Canine Duck
- Primal Canine Rabbit
- Primal Canine Venison
- Primal Canine Pheasant
- Primal Canine Beef (2.5 stars)
- Primal Canine Lamb (2.5 stars)
- Primal Canine Chicken (2.5 stars)
- Primal Canine Turkey and Sardine
Primal Canine Duck formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Primal Canine Duck Formula
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck, duck necks, duck wings, organic kale, duck gizzards, duck hearts, organic carrots, organic squash, duck livers, organic broccoli, organic apples, blueberries, cranberries, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, montmorillonite clay, organic parsley, organic apple cider vinegar, salmon oil, organic coconut oil, organic quinoa sprout powder, dried organic kelp, alfalfa, vitamin E supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.3%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||47%||31%||14%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||56%||10%|
The first three ingredients in this dog food include duck. Duck is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of duck”.1
Duck is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life. And the necks and wings include bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.
The fourth ingredient is kale. Kale is a type of cabbage in which the central leaves do not form a head. This dark green vegetable is especially rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C, vitamin K and calcium.
And like broccoli, kale contains sulforaphane, a natural chemical believed to possess potent anti-cancer properties.
The fifth ingredient is duck gizzard. The gizzard is a low-fat, meaty organ found in the digestive tract of birds and assists in grinding up a consumed food. This item is considered a canine dietary delicacy.
The sixth ingredient is duck heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to us humans, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.
The seventh ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The ninth ingredient is duck liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and, more importantly, linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fat.
Next, sunflower seeds are a good source of plant-based fatty acids that and are also rich in vitamins. minerals and dietary fiber.
In addition, montmorillonite clay, a naturally occurring compound rich in many trace minerals. Montmorillonite has been approved for use in USDA Organic Certified products.
Reported benefits include the binding of certain mold-based toxins and even controlling diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Next, this recipe includes coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.2
Because of its proven safety3 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
And lastly, except for vitamin E, we find no mention of added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list, but we’re reassured to find a detailed list of naturally present nutrients on the company’s website. 4
Frozen Formulas Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Primal Raw Frozen Formulas looks like an above-average raw product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 52% and a mean fat level of 30%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 10% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing an abundance of meat.
However, with 56% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 34% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Primal Raw Frozen Formulas is a grain free meat-based raw dog food using a abundance of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 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.
Primal Dog Food
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A Final Word
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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.
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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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Notes and Updates
10/10/2016 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition ↩
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩
- Primal Pet Foods, 10/11/2016 ↩