Primal Raw Frozen Grinds (Raw Frozen)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Primal Raw Frozen Grinds Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Primal Raw Frozen Grinds product line includes six raw dog foods, each intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Primal Beef Grind
  • Primal Lamb Grind
  • Primal Turkey Grind
  • Primal Buffalo Grind
  • Primal Sardine Grind
  • Primal Chicken Grind

Primal Chicken Grind was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Primal Chicken Grind

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 50% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 6%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken neck, chicken gizzards, chicken liver

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis14%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis50%36%6%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%61%4%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes 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 neck. Raw chicken neck consists of muscle meat and bone and contains optimal levels of both protein and natural calcium.

The third ingredient is chicken 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 fourth ingredient includes chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

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.2

Primal Raw Frozen Grinds Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Primal Dog Food Raw Frozen Grinds deviates from the company’s Raw Frozen Formula in an important way.

Unlike the “Formula” series, this product was never intended to be fed as a complete and balanced canine diet.

Primal Raw Frozen Grind is a supplement. And because they probably lack some essential nutrients, supplements must not be fed continuously as the sole item in a dog’s diet.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 55%, a fat level of 35% and estimated carbohydrates of about 2%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 50% and a mean fat level of 35%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 7% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 71%.

Above-average protein. Above-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.

What’s more, all of it is “100% human-grade” and “antibiotic and steroid free without added hormones”.3

Bottom line?

Primal Raw Frozen Grinds is a meat-based raw product using an abundance of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended (for supplemental feeding).

For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/11/2010 Original review
03/22/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Primal Pet Foods Website, 8/8/2012
  3. Primal Pet Foods, 4/11/2010
  • SandyandMila

    On dogaware.com I read that “If you want to use incomplete blends as the basis for the diet you feed, most often you’ll want to add some additional muscle meat that does not include bone, possibly a bit more organ meat (particularly liver), and a variety of other healthy foods, including eggs, dairy, canned fish with bones, green tripe, healthy leftovers, and some fresh food supplements…” I was thinking of purchasing a lamb grind from my local store, would I need to add muscle/organ meat to it or are the proportions of meat/bone/organ/meat ok, what sort of meats should I add, lamb tripe? And also because the store doesn’t carry lamb mix and only lamb grinds, should I add a green or whole foods vitamin/mineral supplement (Wholistic Pet Canine Complete, Dr. Harvey’s) or are one of the low-calcium multivitamins that HDM suggest (New Chapter
    Tiny Tabs Whole-Food Multivitamin, Twinlab Daily One, Country Life
    Daily Total One with Maxi-Sorb, Carlson Super 2 Daily, Solgar
    Formula VM-75)
    suffice? Thanks :)

  • Lis

    Thank you so much. My dog is a shih tzu. I’ve read that too much fat can cause pancreatitis. I think I’ll try Primal. Thanks so much for your answer.

  • Shawna

    Oops, I meant to comment on Primal and got too focused on the veggie part.. Typical me… :)

    I used to use Primal and still think some of their products are good. However, they are now high pressure pasteurizing the poultry products in their line. In my opinion, foods subjected to hpp are not truly raw. Unfortunately hpp is the norm that commercial raw seems to be heading to. Most companies hpp their foods.. :(

    Darwins and Answers are two companies that don’t use HPP. Instead they use natural ways to prevent bacterial contamination – like apple cider vinegar. Darwins has a conventionally raised line as well as an organic/grass fed line if that matters to you. Answers is a GREAT food but a little too high in fat to be used regularly for my crew. HDM’s Bloodhounds need more fat in their diet so is a good option for her.

  • Shawna

    It IS true that dogs don’t “need” vegetables. However that doesn’t mean that dogs can’t derive wonderful benefits from small amounts of fruits and veggies that wouldn’t be in a meat, organ and bone diet.

    Our pets, in general, are subjected to WAY MORE toxins than their ancestors (both canine and wolf). In fact, the Environmental Working Group did a study and found that “Dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people”. That’s pretty significant in my opinion.. http://www.ewg.org/research/polluted-pets Add to that the vaccines, flea/tick and heartworm meds…

    In my opinion the extra antioxidants, flavanoids etc in fruits and veggies are definiltely beneficial in helping with that toxic load. Many of them are also cancer fighters — garlic, cruciferous veggies, berries etc..

    Not only do I give my raw fed dogs a small amount of fruits and veggies but I also add a home made whole food nutrient packed supplement to their diet. I know HDM and others do as well.. I want to give them EVERY chance I can at good health :).. It may be over-kill but they are worth it to me. One has had kidney disease since birth and will be seven years old in 15 days and is VERY healthy and unmedicated.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    There are several commercial raws to chose from. I’ve used Primal, Instinct and Stella & Chewys but there’s several more. Dogs don’t need veggies BUT they would get vitamins and other nutrients from them instead of adding in lots of synthetics and the whole prey would have some plant matter in it as well from what it had consumed. I make my own raw now so it is much cheaper! You could use a premix or some grinds and buy bulk meat to be more cost effective. Back then I was feeding Instinct Beef, Primal Duck and Rabbit and Turkey/Sardine and S&C Duck. You can also sign up at a yahoo group called CarnivoreFeed-Supplier. Raw food retailers post there and bulk prices are much cheapter. Less than $2/lb more alot of items and they usually have a lot of variety.

  • Lis

    Thanks for all your answers.

    I am new to feeding PMR and feel like I’m not feeding my dog enough variety.

    I want to switch to pre-made raw. What do you think of Primal Raw Frozen Formulas? From what I’ve read, some people said dogs don’t need vegetables.

  • Shawna

    I agree with Sandy and HDM — natural prey provides fiber from the fur, probiotics and enzymes from the tripe, enzymes from the pancreas, omega 3 DHA from the brain, salt from the blood and on and on..
    Sandy, HDM and myself are all raw feeders by the way.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    It doesn’t have fur, brain, tripe, lungs, etc…like a whole prey.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    This isn’t a complete food because it doesn’t meet AAFCO nutrient standards. Most individuals who feed prey model raw feed diets grossly deficient in many key vitamins and minerals. The concept of prey model raw isn’t bad, it’s just nearly impossible to execute correctly. A grind such as this is not a whole prey animal and doesn’t provide the nutrients of a whole prey animal – it’s an approximation of a whole prey animal. Beef heart, beef liver and ground beef bone is not a complete diet.

  • Lis

    Why is this not a complete food? People who feed prey model raw don’t feed veggies. Don’t these provide the same nutrients as prey model raw?

  • Shawna

    Yeah — the two foster dogs that I had that I switched completely to raw———they both would vomit due to excitement or stress (good or bad).  Gus vomitted almost daily usually when I came home to give the dogs a potty break during my lunch break.  Or when I came home for the night.  Or when I was preparing their next meal.

    Gus would vomit up whole kibbles as much as 12 hours after he ate — COMPLETELY undigested.  This was before I myself started using digestive enzymes ALL the time with every dog.

    After I switched him to raw he would still upchuck but never identifiable food after 2 to 4 hours.  It was always liquid (chyme) or water.  Same experience with Muffin.

    In both cases it was the dog not the food but it definitley demonstrated (quite clearly) to me that raw digests better and quicker then kibble (it should be noted that I feed ground raw — chunks of raw may take longer).

    I don’t see raw staying in the digest tract to “rot” unless there is a problem making enzymes or a bacterial issue.  :)

    I have to wonder if the “don’t mix raw with kibble” was started by dog food companies so people wouldn’t experiment with real food — which would take away from corporate profits.  Same reason the “never change your dog’s food” propaganda was started.  We all know that one to be hog wash….. :)

  • InkedMarie

    I know a vet who feeds part raw and she feeds them together with kibble. She feels there is no issue. I tried doing it together but it gave Ginger “hershey squirts” so I now do one meal of raw, one of kibble. 

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    That is the premise of the Hollywood Diet as well…couldn’t do it.  Wanted my meat and veggies and bread all in the same meal!  Not one at a time.

  • EvesHumanMom

    That makes sense, to me, too, Shawna.  I have trouble understanding why there would be problems giving raw with kibble, thinking the enzymes in the raw would be helpful in digesting the kibble rather than the other way around (kibble inhibiting digestion of raw and causing it to “rot,” which I don’t understand as the stomach environment of acids and enzymes would make it unlikely, I thought, and as a topper, even less so.)  Have been feeding reconstituted K9tripe every morning for a month on her kibble to no ill effect.  I would think the tripe, especially, would not “rot” even with kibble, since it comes with alot of goodies to begin with?

  • BryanV21

    I’m reading different opinions on the subject, but this is one of the better explanations I’ve read. Thanks.

  • Shawna

    There was a book for humans out about 20 years ago called “Fit for Life” by Lou and Marilyn Diamond.  The premise of the book was to eat carbs (excluding non-root veggies) and proteins at different meals as they digest at different rates.  I followed the eating plan for about 6 months and I did have improved digestion but it was just impractical to eat that way long term, for me at least.. 

    When I think about the above when it comes to dog food — I would imagine kibble is very hard to digest (why I always recommend adding digestive enymes).  In my opinion, adding raw to a kibble diet (especially when supplemental enzymes aren’t utilized) seems like a good thing as the raw will cause more enzymes to be released by the body which should then help not only digest the raw but the kibble as well. 

    I have 8 of my own, puppy sit for 7 dogs and have had over 30 foster dogs come through my home.  I had two that couldn’t digest kibble well at all so I switched them over to raw exclusively.  The rest have been able to digest kibble topped with raw (or with my dogs raw with a little kibble) without issue..  Of course, there may be dogs that don’t tolerate it but I think it is the exception not the standard. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    I have one dog that I don’t mix raw and dry with, but my other two don’t have any problems with it, so I think it just depends on the dog.  If they don’t have a problem, then it’s not a problem. 

  • BryanV21

    I’d be careful feeding raw and dry, as they digest at different rates and can cause stomach issues. Perhaps the grind is different, so I’d be curious to read what others think.

  • Barbara

     My dogs (2 mini poodles) love the sardine grind; they look at me like I am a goddess when I feed them this!
    I feed a good quality dry food; rotate between Blue Wilderness and Now TOPPED with a thin slice of the grind.  I used to feed about a tablespoon of canned Evo and mix with their dry, so I am just replacing the small amount of canned with about the same amount of sardine or chicken grind.  A two pound roll costs $7.75, so not only is it highly nutritious, but economical when just used as a topper.  This is what I was told to do by the place I buy it from….I let it thaw in fridge ever so slightly so I can slice it while frozen, being careful not to really let it thaw.  I then put a couple slices (enough for a meal) in individual baggies and quick into the freezer.   I feed my dogs twice a day so I take a baggie out of freezer and put in fridge just before going to bed so it is thawed but still really cold by morning for breakfast.  For evening meal I remove a baggie from freezer and let thaw for a couple hrs on counter.  It is still slightly frozen and with raw food that is the safest way to do it.   I thought my dogs would mind slightly frozen food, but trust me they don’t and they woof it down!  I don’t think I would ever feed a completely raw diet because I just don’t want the mess, but as a topper it is great and the poodles now turn their noses up at canned food. lol

  • Pattyvaughn

    Thanks HDM

    I’m also looking to increase the amount of raw my puppy is getting and cutting down carbs. He had a rough start in life because his breeder didn’t think it mattered what they were fed as long as the first ingredient was meat. He’s had several digestive issues and now is showing signs of a systemic yeast infection. I’ve caught it early, so it’s not bad, but I certainly don’t want it to get that way.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Pattyvaughn –

    The grinds or mixes would make a wonderful topper. They’re a balanced blend of muscle meat, organ meat, and bone (the mixes – which I occasionally use – also contain fruits, veggies, and herbs). They’re packaged in 2 lb. or 5 lb. chubs.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Help from a raw feeder, please. I top with raw. Sometimes it’s chopped up liver, sometimes it’s a chicken wing or part of a thigh, sometimes it’s ground beef, sometimes it’s a piece of frozen fish, what ever I find. Sometimes I want something a little more convenient, like when I travel. Would the grinds make a good topper? Does anyone know how they are packaged?

  • Rheseyj

    I mean as in would this be all the meat in my dogs raw food diet or would I have to additionally purchase muscle meat as well to make the meat content balanced ??

  • Rheseyj

    To make them a complete diet it said to add vegetables and suplements to the meat . Also does anyone know if I would need to add muscle meat to this ?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Layla,

    Although most of us tend to think of meat as skeletal tissue, heart and liver are both still considered to be meat.

    Here’s the Wiki definition of meat:

    “Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal.”

    Hope this helps.

  • Layla

    How do these grinds have a bunch of meat when the ingredient list doesn’t list any animal meat? It only lists some organs and bones. I’m confused. Do they just not list the meat content? I thought they had to list everything on the ingredient list.. but from their list it looks like it’s just ground up organs and bones lol

  • “Ryo”

    Hi, Mike. Thanks for the feedback! I myself choose to not to feed kibble, though, so I’m glad you got this out there for any unknowing person who feeds raw and kibble. Thanks so much~ :)

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Ryo… As with humans, dogs digest various foods at different rates. And these rates are notably dependent upon such things as the protein, fat and carbohydrate proportions of the meal, whether the food is cooked, raw, dry or wet as well as many other factors.

    With that understanding, there’s no scientific evidence to support the fears and rumors that different rates of digestibility have any negative impact on a dog’s health (any more than mixing raw vegetables, breads and cooked meats at the same meal have on the health of humans).

  • “Ryo”

    Just a comment….
    You said that this can be fed as “an appetizing topper for kibble”. The truth is, though, the dog will digest kibble before raw food- even if the kibble is grain-free and/or potato free…. the raw food will just sit there, which can lead to illness.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Irene… Here’s a list of some of the dehydrated dog foods in my database. For better quality and more meat, look for a 4 or 5-star product on that list. Hope you enjoy your research.

  • Irene Archer

    sorry meant to type 3 or 4 days a week…

  • Irene Archer

    Just today i called the company who makes Primal to ask them what you would add to the food if you were to buy the grinds and use them daily. In a nut shell i did not get an answer. He did say that many people feed the Primal Formulas 3 or 4 a week and then feed the Primal Grinds or Mixes 3 or 4 days a week. He said doing that you can save money and they will still get a balanced nutrition on the whole. I would like to buy the Grind meats and then supplement them with a good dehydrated dog food so the nutrition will be complete. But i am not sure which dehydrated would be best in that application. Any ideas? The idea of using the Grinds as far as i can tell is either for occasional feeding or in combination with vegetables and supplements. By using the dehydrated i would hope to get the balance to the meats. Primal meats seem to be the best as far as i can tell.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Patricia… Don’t worry. Here, there are no dumb questions.

    In my opinion, you should not be feeding this (or any other “supplemental food”) as the only food in your dog’s diet. I have no problem using a food like this as an occasional treat or special meal (or two). However, unless your naturopathic consultant can assure you the diet he recommends is “complete and balanced” (with all vitamins and minerals, etc.) for a pet at your dog’s life stage (puppy, adult, senior) you are taking an unnecessary risk with your Yorkies’ health.

    If you need to know what to add to the food to make it complete (a difficult task, indeed), you’ll have to contact the manufacturer.

    In any case, be sure your “naturopath” is qualified to give advice on canine diets. Otherwise, stick with foods that meet AAFCO nutritional standards for growth or adult maintenance. Hope this helps.

  • Patricia

    I guess I am pretty dumb. This article did not really tell me what I am trying to find out. I have 3 yorkies (5LBS and under). My naturopathic vet said they should be fed the raw ground meats ( not the formulas with veggies, grains etc.) Just the pure meat, bone and organs. However I keep reading that these grinds are not to be fed as the primary diet. Nothing tells me what I should add to these grinds to have a balanced meal for my yorkies and as I already stated my naturopathic says just the raw meat, bones and organs should be fed. So who is right my naturopathic vet or AAFCO. How much more confusing can it get?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Patricia… According to the Primal Grinds website (and probably the packaging, too), this dog food should not be considered a complete and balanced diet and must only be used for “intermittent or supplemental feeding only”. To better understand this rating, please be sure to read my article, “Understanding Dog Food Nutrient Profiles“. Hope this helps clear up the confusion.

  • Patricia

    You say this(Primal Grinds)should only be used as supplemental feeding. The pet stores say it can be fedd daily. I am confused. What should be added to these grinds to make them suitable for every day feeding?