Primal Raw Frozen Formulas Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Primal Raw Frozen Formulas product line includes eight 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 Duck
- Primal Canine Rabbit
- Primal Canine Venison
- Primal Canine Pheasant
- Primal Canine Lamb (4 stars)
- Primal Canine Beef (4.5 stars)
- Primal Canine Chicken (4.5 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 yams, duck livers, organic broccoli, organic apples, blueberries, cranberries, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, minerals (zinc sulfate, copper carbonate, sodium selenite), organic parsley, organic apple cider vinegar, salmon oil, organic coconut oil, organic quinoa sprout powder, dried organic kelp, alfalfa, natural vitamin E
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.3%
Red items when present 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 includes 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.
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 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 sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is yams. In much of North America, the word yam can be used interchangeably with the term sweet potatoes.
So, assuming this item is indeed sweet potatoes, it can be considered a good source of complex carbohydrates. In addition, yams are naturally rich in fiber, beta carotene and other healthy nutrients.
The eighth ingredient is duck liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The ninth ingredient includes broccoli. Broccoli is a healthy green vegetable and a member of the kale family. It’s notably rich in vitamin C and fiber and numerous other nutrients.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is believed to provide anti-cancer benefits.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, this recipe includes coconut oil. Depending upon the quality of the raw material, coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids.
Coconut oil has been reported to have a beneficial effect on a dog’s skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions.2
And lastly, although we find no mention of added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list, we’re reassured to find a detailed list of naturally present nutrients on the company’s website. 3
Primal Raw Frozen Formulas Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Primal Raw Frozen Formulas looks like an above average raw product.
Since this recipe contains a number of organic ingredients, we feel compelled to grant this line a more favorable status as we consider its final rating.
That’s because organic ingredients must comply with notably more stringent government standards — standards which significantly restrict the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones or antibiotics.
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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 51% and a mean fat level of 29%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 13% 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 raw dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing an abundance of meat.
Primal Raw Frozen Formulas is a meat-based raw dog food using a significant amount of species specific meat and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Those attempting to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet this Primal Raw Frozen Formulas Dog Food makes a reasonable choice.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Those desiring a lower fat content for their pet’s diet may wish to avoid the higher fat ratios associated with the beef, chicken and lamb recipes.
For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
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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
04/10/2010 Original review
11/10/2010 Review updated
03/23/2012 Review updated
10/01/2013 Review updated
10/01/2013 Last Update