Primal Freeze-Dried Formula Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Primal Freeze-Dried Formula product line includes six freeze dried raw dog foods, 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 Freeze Dried Pork
- Primal Freeze Dried Beef
- Primal Freeze Dried Duck
- Primal Freeze Dried Lamb (4 stars)
- Primal Freeze Dried Chicken (4 stars)
- Primal Freeze Dried Turkey and Sardine
Primal Freeze-Dried Formula Beef recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Primal Freeze-Dried Formula Beef Recipe
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef hearts, beef livers, ground beef bones, organic kale, organic carrots, organic yams, organic broccoli, organic apples, cranberries, blueberries, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, minerals (zinc sulfate, copper carbonate, selenium), organic parsley, organic apple cider vinegar, salmon oil, organic coconut oil, organic quinoa sprout powder, dried organic kelp, alfalfa, natural vitamin E, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||50%||39%||3%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||33%||64%||2%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef 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 second ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The third ingredient is ground beef 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 carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is 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.
The eighth ingredient includes apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
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 four 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, we note the inclusion of 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.1
In addition, this food has alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
And lastly, except for the 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.
Primal Freeze-Dried Formula Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Since this recipe contains a number of quality organic ingredients, we feel compelled to grant this line somewhat favored 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.
Just the same, we still need to evaluate the product’s protein, fat and carbohydrate content.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 46% and a mean fat level of 33%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 14% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 72%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing a significant amount of meat.
However, with 64% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 33% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Primal Freeze-Dried Formula is a meat-based raw dog food using a significant amount 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.
For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.
Primal Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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".
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Notes and Updates
06/10/2015 Last Update