Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Vital Essentials product line includes three freeze dried raw dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The products are available in nibblets, patties and mini patties.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Vital Essentials Beef Entree
- Vital Essentials Chicken Entree
- Vital Essentials Turkey Entree (4 stars)
Vital Essentials Chicken Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Vital Essentials Chicken Entree
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground chicken with bone, chicken heart, chicken liver, herring oil (natural source of vitamin D), mixed tocopherols (natural antioxidant), d-alpha tocopherol (natural vitamin E)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||45%||38%||10%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||63%||7%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is ground chicken and bone. 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 ground bone is an excellent source of natural calcium.
The second ingredient is chicken 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 third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is herring oil. Herring 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, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.
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 exception…
Except for vitamin E, we find no other 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.
Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Vital Essentials freeze dried dog food 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 35%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 14% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 79%.
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 a significant amount of meat.
Vital Essentials freeze dried is a meat-based raw product using a significant amount of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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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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
01/08/2012 Original review
01/08/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩