Primal Pronto Raw Frozen Formulas (Raw Frozen)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Primal Pronto Formulas Dog Food receives the Advisor’s highest rating of 5 stars.

The Primal Pronto Formulas product line includes six 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 Pronto Canine Pork
  • Primal Pronto Canine Duck
  • Primal Pronto Canine Beef (3 stars)
  • Primal Pronto Canine Lamb (3 stars)
  • Primal Pronto Canine Chicken (3 stars)
  • Primal Pronto Canine Turkey and Sardine

Primal Pronto Canine Lamb Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Primal Pronto Canine Lamb Formula

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 38% | Carbs = 14%

Ingredients: Lamb hearts, lamb livers, ground lamb 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

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 9.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis13%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%38%14%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%63%10%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 63% | Carbs = 10%

The first ingredient is lamb 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 lamb liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The third ingredient is ground lamb bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.

The fourth ingredient is organic 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 organic carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth ingredient is organic 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 seventh ingredient is organic 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 six notable exceptions

First pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals and, more importantly, linoleic acid — an essential omega-6 fat, and dietary fiber.

Next, montmorillonite clay is 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).

In addition, 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 also 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.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.

We also note the inclusion of 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 vitamin E, 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 Pronto Dog Food
The Bottom Line

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.

With that in mind…

Judging by its ingredients alone, Primal Pronto Formulas looks like an above-average raw product.

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 41%, a fat level of 38% and estimated carbohydrates of about 14%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 49% and a mean fat level of 35%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 9% 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 an abundance of meat.

However, with 63% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 28% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Primal Pronto Formulas is a meat-based raw dog food using an abunance of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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.

Those attempting to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet this Primal Raw Frozen Formulas Dog Food makes a reasonable choice.

Primal Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

11/18/2016 Last Update

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. Primal Pet Foods, 10/01/2013
  • Chester Cox

    We switched our Old English Bulldog to Primal Pronto about 3 weeks ago. She has always been fed a super premium dry dog food, but started to develop skin conditions – very dry, hot spots. She is getting up there in age, she’s about 8 years old. I did some research on this site, and decided to go with Primal Lamb. I am very pleased with the way her skin has cleared up, and she absolutely loves it. We feed her two scoops in the morning and two more in the evening, and she goes nuts every time she hears the nuggets hit her bowl. She devours it straight from the freezer, but when I think of it, I’ll put it in her bowl, cover it, and put it in the fridge over night. I don’t think she cares either way. Great food, and we also enthusiastically recommend it.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    A consideration for small dogs too.
    If you leave them unattended with the socks (and other foreign objects) they will slowly chew/grind, tear apart and shred them up and possibly ingest.

  • Aria Skye

    One of my 4 doesn’t like to play too much with the others as well. I suppose it does come down to temperament. He just seems more reserved and introverted.

  • Aria Skye

    Thanks for that. I suppose larger dogs would do that and that’s important to consider. My dogs are all around 5 lbs and the sock is entirely too big for them to attempt to ingest (the socks are bigger than their heads!), but definitely a consideration for larger dogs.

  • ScandalSavage

    Thanks for the info. I posted that three years ago and I’ve managed to get to know her better since then 😀 She’s still a pretty mellow dog. I guess being around puppies 24/7 for three years will do that to you. But the other dogs have gotten her to come out of her shell a bit and so she plays with them occasionally. I constantly have to change her food. She gets bored with flavor, texture, and size. So I get her Fromm’s pebble shaped beef kibble one month, Nulo’s triangle shaped salmon kibble the next, and Honest Kitchen’s turkey dehydrated soft food the next. She’s a weird little diva. But I’ve never made the switch to raw. I got a promotion at work and don’t have the time to devote to it and nearest place that sells the ready made type is too far away.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Be careful, some dogs ingest foreign objects such as socks.
    Socks are well-known to cause intestinal blockages, and that requires surgery.

  • Aria Skye

    My pups all play heartily on Primal. Try it! Also…and I know this will sound weird…try taking a sock directly of your foot, rolling it up, and playing fetch. For some reason, my 4 pups, above ALL ELSE, desire to play fetch with a sock that I was just wearing (or a sock from my husband). If she doesn’t go crazy for that then just enjoy the fact you have a mellow pup! 🙂 Sometimes I just wish mine would simmer down!

  • Aria Skye

    My puppies LOVE it. One of them is allergic to the beef formula, but he’s fine with the chicken. I can tell he’s allergic to beef due to diarrhea. All others are fine with any formula. I have had 4 puppies on Primal.

  • Aria Skye

    I give my 4 Pomeranian pups primal frozen nuggets everyday, 2x per day, for a few years now. I cook in the microwave, however. I don’t believe the nutritional value diminishes by much and the cooking prevents any trouble from bacteria. 5 nuggets at 1 min, 30 seconds. They LOVE it. And their coats are super-shiny and they’re health is very good.

  • Chelsea

    If you check Primal’s website, they have information on transitioning puppies to raw food. Or you can call their very friendly and informative customer service with the number on the website. They’ve helped me transition by dogs.

  • Pitlove

    Thanks! yours is simply adorable 🙂

  • SandyandMila

    Yes, I know. I was just adding it to that list because my dog seems to like those less than food with potato. 🙂

  • Pitlove

    Nature’s Logic doesn’t use legumes or chickpeas. It uses millet

  • SandyandMila

    My girl gets like that with Acana too, not sure what it is about it. Same reluctance with trying Nature’s Logic or any other food that have legumes/chickpeas instead of potato. I do still add it into the rotation, as it’s a high quality food. But I try not to feed it for too long so she won’t get bored with it and waste it. And rotate with toppers as well (canned, raw, freeze-dried, dehydrated).

  • Steph

    I was looking at the carbs analysis and the freeze dried only has 3%.

  • Crazy4cats

    By “specs”, do you mean the guaranteed analysis? They are going to look totally different as the freeze dried has only around 3% moisture, where the frozen has around 79%. You would have to convert them both to the dry matter basis to be able to compare them successfully. I thought the ingredients between the two looked similar, but I don’t know exactly what you are looking for. I just use this line a few days a week as a topper for my dogs’ evening meals due to expense as I have two large dogs and several cats. But, so far so good!

  • Steph

    I did microwave it for about 5 seconds but it seemed like it would be a pain to deal with during certain days and circumstances. I wondered how others dealt with these issues. The freeze dried doesn’t have the same “specs” as the frozen so I might use it as a topper but not as their main food. It looks like a really good dog food line though.

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, frozen food would definitely be an issue for travel and/or if the power goes out. Have you tried the freeze dried food yet? And.. just between you and me (and the other thousand or so people reading), I do stick it in the microwave for just a bit before I feed it to my dogs with no issue so far. However, I am mixing it with kibble, if that makes any difference to you. Hope you find something that works for you and your pups.

  • Steph

    We live in the south and my 2 shih tzu’s have bad allergies and itch all the time. I have tried switching their food several times but no matter they itch all the time. I just switched them again to Acana but got a sample of Primal Pronto for them. One of my dogs will eat anything and everything but the other one is SO very picky. She will eat a new food for a week or so but then doesn’t want it anymore. I have a few problems/questions about Primal. When I tried the Pronto she ate it but was really slow about it. I think maybe because it was cold (out of the refrigerator). The company says not to microwave to heat it and I am usually in a hurry to get out the door to work. Also, since we live in the south it is hot in the summer (and sometimes spring and fall). I am concerned about bringing it home and it thawing some and then me refreezing it (this scares me with raw food). Then there is also the concern of if the power goes out or if you need to travel with your dog. It just seems as if it would be a big inconvenience. Any thoughts you could share?

  • Artemis

    My 9 year old Miniatute Dachshund loves Primal Pronto!! In the morning, I thaw it for about 5 min then add warm water, coconut oil, unsalted/unsweetened organic peanut butter, & organic pumpkin to mix in with the formula. She has megaesophagus so the veterinarian recommend to add water and smash everything together. I feed her several times a day & hold her upright so she won’t regurgitate or vomit her food. Primal pronto has definitely decreased her regurgitation problems and it is easy for her to digest the food. I’m so happy that I’m able to give her such amazing high quality raw dog food. She has been on the duck, lamb, turkey & sardine formula. My Abbey is not a picky eater, but it seems like she goes crazy over the duck formula lol

  • Jenny

    Does anyone know about feeding this to a puppy? Or any of the raw-frozen or freeze dried foods?
    I have an 11 week old pug and an 11 year old Boston and I want to start the pug off right and improve on the boston’s diet…
    Right now they are eating wellness dry..

  • Crazy4cats

    Lucky pups!

  • DAWN

    Primal Pronto is the best thing since zippers! I Love it! so so easy to use. No mess and my Beagle girls devour them! I got a 4lb bag of each protein and every week give them a diff protein..I can not afford to give as the 2 meals they should get so morning I give Wellness chicken stew or Weruva then for dinner they get the Pronto because its lighter on their bellies for night time..I highly Recommend it!

  • theBCnut

    Get her more confidant playing with you. Let her watch the other dogs playing from somewhere where she will feel safe. When she is ready, she will play with them, but if you put pressure on her to do things she isn’t ready for, it will be too much for her and she will shut down. As long as you are seeing progress, let her go at her own pace.

  • ScandalSavage

    Thank you so much. I will check out both the books and the article.

    In regards to the playing, I finally got her interested in a little light up ball but once the puppy comes over and tries to play with her she’s done. Do you have any idea how to get her to play with the other dogs?

  • theBCnut

    One of the classic signs of a puppy mill dog is that they don’t know how to play or even that they should want to. They are raised so deprived of interaction that they don’t know how they should behave.
    If you are interested in making homemade food, Steve Brown’s book “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” and Dr. Karen Becker’s book “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” are both great resources. The Honest Kitchen and Steve Brown, both, have premixes that can be added to raw or cooked meat to make a good meal. Dr. Harvey’s has premixes too.
    If you want the best for your pup the search this site for the article on rotational feeding to learn why feeding variety is just as important for our dogs as it is for us.

  • ScandalSavage

    I’m a new dog owner (I had pets growing up but this is the first animal I’ve been solely responsible for in regards to food purchasing). She’s a rescue between 2 and 3 years old. The previous owner, who used her to churn out puppies and never even gave her a name, claims she’s a pure Bichon Frise and that she just lost her papers but my vet and groomer think she’s probably a mix. Right now I’m feeding her Honest Kitchen Embark (dehydrated food) with a little Spring Natural Salmon dry kibble (she started out not wanting to eat dry food at all and now she won’t eat it without. I think the previous owners fed her mostly scraps). I’ve been thinking about starting her on a raw food diet but I don’t know where to start or how to make sure she gets all of her nutrients (though to be fair, I’m not sure she’s getting them now). She seems very mellow which I appreciate but she’s borderline lethargic, she doesn’t really seem interested in playing and although she lives with my sister’s 12 week old lab and spends a lot of time with my mom’s 2 year old labradoodle she mostly just tolerates them and never really wants to be around them. I’ve had her for three weeks and I know it will take time (she literally would not look away from my eyes for three days) but I feel like she should have more energy…

    Sorry for all the details. Everyone on this site seems very knowledgeable and seem to care about their pets very much so I thought it would be a good place to ask for help. Ray stole my heart very quickly and she’s such a sweet little girl, I think she deserves the best.

  • Bobby dog

    You’re welcome! It definately is food for thought. I have been feeding some HK recipes that contain alfalfa as toppers, but not too concerned about using them at this time. For me it is a questionable ingredient and I plan to research this subject further. I will more than likely avoid it in the future as well.

  • Dori

    HI Bobby dog. Thanks so much for the article by Dr. Becker and your added info. It answers my question on alfalfa. From now on I’m going to avoid foods with alfalfa. I realize that in this Primal it’s at the bottom of the list but I don’t see why any dog food should have any alfalfa. Anyway, Katie’s highly allergic to it.

  • swak

    richarddarlington.com

    friner

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Dori:
    I remembered you inquiring about alfalfa and I just read an article written by Dr. Karen Becker that may interest you. According to Dr. Becker “Like soy, alfalfa contains phytoestrogens, which are plant estrogens that are well-documented endocrine disruptors.” Here’s a link to the article:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-karen-becker/alfalfa-does-it-belong-in_b_5367466.html

  • Dori

    Why is the Alfalfa in Primal Pronto a controversial issue? It’s highlighted in red but I can’t find any wording on why it’s controversial. Thanks.

  • dchassett

    They’ve had it for a while. I have “boutique holistic” type pet food stores near me that carry both Primal and Answer’s Goat Milk.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Did anyone else not know that Primal now has raw goat’s milk? I just found out. Not that it matters for me because I doubt I’ll be able to find it anywhere, but I thought that you guys that live near the fancy pet stores might be interested. It has 4 strains of probiotics, prebiotics, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon.

  • Katie

    Finally, a bite-sized version of frozen Primal! I have a 6 pound chihuahua who is extremely picky, but she has always enjoyed Primal. I first started with Primal Freeze-dried, with which I would spend the time breaking up the nuggets, rehydrating them, and then keeping a few days worth in the fridge. I found it to be a bit time-consuming compared to feeding her canned food.

    I was interested in the frozen Primal nuggets, but I would’ve had to let a few days worth thaw out in the fridge at a time. With Primal Pronto, you just scoop it and let it thaw for a few minutes before feeding. It gets soft quickly and doesn’t seem to chill my little dog. Also, since it’s frozen, I can keep a couple of different proteins in the freezer at a time to keep some variety in her diet.

    Extremely high quality, easy, and great for picky eaters!