Primal Freeze-Dried Formula Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Primal Freeze-Dried Formula product line includes seven 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 Duck
- Primal Freeze Dried Beef (4 stars)
- Primal Freeze Dried Lamb (2.5 stars)
- Primal Freeze Dried Venison (5 stars)
- Primal Freeze Dried Chicken (2.5 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 squash, organic broccoli, organic apples, cranberries, blueberries, 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, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1%
Red items 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 includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 is 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, we find 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, we note the inclusion of coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1
Because of its proven safety2 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.
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
Judging by its ingredients alone, Primal Freeze-Dried Formula Dog Food looks like an above-average raw product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 45% and a mean fat level of 32%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 15% 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.
Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing an abundance 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 an abundance of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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
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A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
12/04/2016 Last Update
- 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. ↩