Vital Essentials Raw Frozen Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Vital Essentials product line lists four raw frozen dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The Vital Essentials raw frozen products are available in pet patties, mini pet patties and (some) as nibblets.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Vital Essentials Fish Entree
- Vital Essentials Beef Entree
- Vital Essentials Turkey Entree
- Vital Essentials Chicken Entree
Vital Essentials Beef Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Vital Essentials Beef Entree
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, beef tripe, beef lung, ground beef bone, beef liver, beef heart, beef kidney, beef blood, beef fat, herring oil (natural source of vitamin D), d-alpha tocopherol (natural vitamin E)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||54%||34%||4%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||39%||58%||3%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is beef tripe. Tripe usually consists of the first three chambers of a cud-chewing animal’s stomach. As unappetizing as it may seem to us humans, tripe is favored by dogs and sometimes even includes the stomach’s contents, too.
The third ingredient is beef lung. Beef lung is a protein-rich organ meat that’s also low in fat.
The fourth ingredient is ground beef bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.
The fifth ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The sixth ingredient 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 seventh ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.
The eighth ingredient is blood, which consists mostly of water. And although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to humans, blood is naturally rich in protein (albumin), vitamins and minerals.
The ninth ingredient is beef fat. Beef fat (or tallow) is most likely obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Although it may not sound very appetizing, beef fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The tenth 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 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.
Vital Essentials Raw Frozen Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Vital Essentials raw frozen 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 51% and a mean fat level of 33%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 8% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 65%.
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 raw frozen dog food 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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Notes and Updates
01/07/2013 Original review
01/07/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩