Vital Dog Food receives the Advisor’s highest rating of 5 stars.
The Vital Dog Food product line includes five refrigerated rolls, 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.
- Vital Turkey Recipe
- Vital Bison and Beef Recipe
- Vital Lamb and Ocean Whitefish Recipe
- Vital Salmon and Ocean Whitefish Recipe
- Vital Chicken, Beef, Salmon and Egg Recipe
Vital Turkey Recipe was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Vital Turkey Recipe
Rolled Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, turkey liver, spinach, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, carrageenan, natural flavors, broccoli, inulin, flaxseed oil, green tea extract, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, calcium sulfate, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, tricalcium phosphate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||18%||47%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||38%||39%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1
Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second item is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The third ingredient is spinach. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 91.
The next three items include a series of nutrient-rich fruits…
The seventh ingredient is carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
After the natural flavor, we find 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 potent anti-cancer benefits.
The tenth ingredient is we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
The next ingredient is flaxseed oil, one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.
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 one notable exceptions…
This food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Vital Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Vital Dog Food looks to be an above-average 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 37% and a mean fat level of 29%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 26% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 78%.
Below-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when this rolled dog food is compared to a typical wet product.
However, even though these statistics suggest a moderate protein content, we note the company assures consumers all its Vital recipes recipes contain a minimum of 80% meat.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a fresh refrigerated food containing an abundance of meat.
Vital Dog Food is a grain-free refrigerated product using a bounty of species-specific meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Those looking for another quality fresh refrigerated product from the same manufacturer may wish to visit our review of Deli Fresh Slice and Serve dog food rolls.
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
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Notes and Updates
11/24/2010 Original review
08/22/2012 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition ↩
- Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference ↩