Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Earthborn Holistic product line lists five dry dog foods. But because of its unique higher quality formula, Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural is reviewed here in its own special report.

Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural is a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 42% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 28%

Ingredients: Turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whitefish meal, dried egg product, tomato pomace, peas, blueberries, cranberries, apples, carrots, spinach, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dl-methionine, l-lysine, taurine, beta-carotene, l-carnitine, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, folic acid, biotin, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, salt, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate, vitamin B12 supplement, Yucca schidigera extract, rosemary extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis38%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis42%22%28%
Calorie Weighted Basis34%44%22%
Protein = 34% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 22%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The second ingredient lists chicken meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The third ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The fifth ingredient is whitefish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The sixth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The seventh ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

The eighth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The ninth ingredient lists blueberries. Blueberries are a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary 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 two notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

And lastly, this food 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.

Earthborn Holistic
Primitive Natural Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural dog food looks like an above-average dry 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 42%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 28%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

For those looking to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet, Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural at least begins to approach this noble goal.

Bottom line?

Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of turkey and chicken meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning this recipe 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.

Earthborn Holistic 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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
And Discounts

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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 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

07/05/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • A Nonnie Mess

    Love them white teeth.
    I’ve had dentals done on dogs and cats and will do so in the future if it’s necessary. I’m not complaining at the vets nor insinuating they’re greedy (they have bills and staff to pay, too!) but dentals are NOT an inexpensive procedure for the average pet owner, and if I had to have them done yearly on ALL our dogs and cats, we would have to sell our property and live in a box.

  • A Nonnie Mess

    I remember many years ago there was a massive recall of spinach, of all things. I still eat spinach! (I also eat raw cookie dough even though every piece of literature on the subject warns against it!) =D

  • A Nonnie Mess

    Sure raw can be dangerous. But what about all the commercial food recalls (including “organic” brands and “natural” stuff), not only for salmonella but for e-coli, melamine, penobarbitol, chunks of metal, plastic, screws, etc. found in these foods that have killed thousands and made many more ill.
    No food is 100% guaranteed safe, and that goes for the dinner you will enjoy tonight as well.

  • anon101

    Science based veterinary medicine here

  • haleycookie

    Probably because of inbalances in vitamins minerals etc. but when done correctly and properly researched it’s the healthiest diet. Just like if you ate unprocessed veggies and meats (cooked for humans of course. Dogs digestive tract are short enough to fight off most pathogens humans can’t handle) it would be the healthiest thing over fast food and TV dinners.

  • Gina

    Raw can be dangerous. My step-mom is a vet tech and she has seen too many cases of ill dogs because of raw diets. It’s not worth the risk.

  • Friesian

    I second the raw. I didn’t make any special mixes, just fed my dog straight. 5 year old had the whitest teeth and the shiniest fur you ever saw on a large breed dog. Unfortunately I ran into an issue with a lack of freezer space.

  • Martha L. Castellanos

    Hi.. I have a 17 years old mixed dog and he has been suffering of pancreatitis.. I tried different types of food and just Core Wellness lowfat worked excellent for him! He has been healthy.. Also I give him a little of boiled chicken breast with White rice and vegetables (no oil and no salt).

  • Christian Griffin

    I feel the exact same way.

  • Veronika

    Wysong Archetype pollock flavour, just went and looked it up because frankly I didn’t remember.

  • Cathy Koh

    Omg which is the dog food that has 70percent protein?

  • Ihave5dogs

    Thank you for all the great info:)

  • Susan

    Hi coffeesnob, In the wild when a animal is ill & dying the other animals know & kill it, it’s the way nature works, I have big trees around my place I can see all the birds out my windows & when there’s a sick bird or owl etc the other birds start acting it & kill it, at first I use to run outside & stop the other birds killing teh poor bird & ring the Wildlife people to come & get the sick bird but the lady said just leave it & nature does what it’s ment to do..but I still don’t let all the birds kill the poor sick bird I take to the vets up the rd & in Australia all vets must help any sick Australian wildlife & the vet puts it to sleep humanely…

  • Susan

    Hi, this is good Earthborn Holistic has written “Not For Human Consumption” on their kibble bags as all pet foods are not fit to be eaten by humans, also after feeding your pets you should always wash your hands to prevent from getting salmonella poisoning…Pet Foods in Australia especially the raw foods say not for human consumption, as a few people from different countries think, oh this is very cheap, (the pet foods) especially wet tin foods & buy to eat, my friend use to work at a supermarket & she was telling me about a little old asian lady always buying the cheap generic cat food, she asked her, gee you have heaps of cats? she said NO cats its for me, my friend said WHAT you eat?? she said yes very cheap, she had to explain no this is for pussy cat not for you… she didnt understand..

    About your mini Schnauzer have you joined a “Canine Crushing support group” on face book? these groups are excellent, you’ll have other pet parents going thru the similiar illnesses & ask what are they feeding etc, if you join the “Canine Pancreatitis Support group” look in their “Files” click on the 1st link, ‘Low Fat foods’ wet & dry low fat foods will come up, the Earthborn weight control is on their list, one thing about weight loss low fat formula’s, they’re higher in fiber, read the fiber % it’s 9% fiber, does your dog need a higher fiber diet?? in the “Files’ this 1st link all the wet tin foods are low in fat & the fat% has been converted to dry matter (Kibble) fat so your getting the proper fat%…
    Best to feed a wet tin food or cooked meals as they get older or feed 1-2 meals wet food & some of her other meals kibble, I feed 4-5 smaller meals thru the day, easier to digest a small meal then eating 2 bigger meals.. have a look at “Canidae Pure Meadow” Senior this is low in fat 10.8% max, I’ve emailed Canidae & asked max fat %, Canidae kibbles are small, easy to digest, high in omega 3 good for skin, joints, brain, heart etc & has Glucosamine & Chondroitin to repair aging joints..Here’s the Canidae link, scroll down a bit look to your right under the first kibbles “Under The Sun” formula’s you’ll see “View All” click on page 3 for the Pure Meadow Senior formula..

  • Ihave5dogs

    I have 5 dogs and my oldest is a mini schnauzer. She’s 12 1/2 years old and has high cholesterol and is probably pre Cushing’s. I need a healthy food that is low in fat for her. I bought Earthborn Holistic Weight Control after reading high reviews of them. I bought Earthborn Holistic Salmon and Sweet Potato for my other dogs. After I fed them the first meal, I noticed something stamped on the bag by the expiration date. It says, “not for human consumption”. This makes me very concerned. I checked other bags of dog food and I do not see this phrase on them. I’m not saying that I want to eat their kibble, but shouldn’t their kibble be safe enough to be consumed by humans? Has anyone else noticed this? I took pictures, but I’m not sure if we are able to post pictures here.

  • anon101

    They didn’t survive. They only lived 2 to 5 years and died a slow and painful death caused by disease and infection, alone in the woods.

  • coffeesnob73

    i wounder how all these dogs survived for centuries whith out every worried about what they are eating. raw diets are best if you have the time and the money to feed that way.

  • Ernest

    Would the 10.2% of ash content be of a concern? I know the recommended levels are between 5-7% – according to what I’ve read.
    I too started my dogs on this, and they like it and seem to being doing good on it. But the thing is, will the ash contribute to health issues in the long run?
    It’s a bit frustrating because it seems if it’s not some ingredient it’s something else with these dog foods. Thought I finally found something good (which might still be) and I come to find out about the ash percentage.

  • Christopher Tolliver

    I have been feeding Earthborne holistic primitive natural to my 3 year old pyrenees and 12 year old mutt ever since we got our younger dog and I simply can’t recommend it enough. Our oldest dog has shown more energy. A shinier healthier coat and less scratching and chewing. I was late to the party in discovering what a “good” dogfood was after feeding her the pedigrees and purina foods all her life. I researched dog foods for months before settling on this one, and I won’t be switching.

  • 1bestdog

    Make plain boiled rice and chicken and feed at first sign of loose stool….sometimes real food is cheaper and healthier

  • Sydney

    It is extremely concerning the amount of synthetic vitamins in this food. The vitamin pack is basically the entire diet. Scary because that means the actual food ingredients are barely enough to maintain health and AAFCO required them to supplement synthetically so much

  • Ryan Cerpa

    Just bought a bag today from Tractor Supply near me. Ingredients listed in order from the bag: Turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, chicken fat, whitefish meal, dried egg product, tomato police, peas, blueberries, cranberries, apples, carrots, spinach, potassium chloride. Top 14 ingredients.

  • Jackie Wang
  • Jackie Wang

    Thanks Susan. That’s good to know. My dog eats his food like a vacuum cleaner:D

  • Susan

    Hi, no smaller kibbles are better they digest easier especially if you have a dog that eats quick & doesn’t chew his kibbles properly..

  • Jackie Wang

    Just bought one bag of Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural and found that the ingredient listed on the bag are: Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Chicken Fat … Can’t find turkey meal any more. Are they changing the formula?
    I bought it for my two years old Golden retriever and noticed that their kibbles are even smaller than Canidae pure range. Should I look for dog food with bigger size? Would you please give some suggestions? Thanks!

  • Linda Lindberg

    For those having questions and issues Earthborn number is 1800 474- 4163 ext 450 .They have excellent customer service I had to call to get actual content to to my 2 labs many allergies and health issues.

  • Tzidki Ashwall

    It appears that the Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural is for adult dog.and its in the best puppy food section.
    Also the feeding chart is not clear for puppys…
    Can you clarify it please?

  • Susan

    Hi, have you looked at feeding her a raw diet?? Staffys do real well on raw diets…even if you feed 1 meal raw pre-made & kibble for the other meal….also is your dog desexed, have you breed her? when I rescued my boy (Staffy) he was weeing blood, the vet said he was used for breeding & has caught an infection, he had ultra scan & had crystals, the vet said she felt sorry for all the females that he was mated with…

  • theBCnut

    High protein does not cause kidney disease.

  • Amateria

    I remember liking a lot of things on this website and a lot of what I learnt definitely came from there and other places, it’s very easy to find out if high protein causes problems, but not every website uses the truth.

    This food isn’t even the highest protein I’ve seen, 70% is.

  • Claire Smitten

    Out here in Asia, turkey meal has been omitted from the list of ingredients (at least where I am right now). How might this affect the quality, rating as well as its review?

  • aimee

    Hi Vid,

    It is important to have controlled calcium levels in food during the growth period of large breed dogs. The new AAFCO profile limits calcium to a max of 4.5 g/1000 kcals during growth of large breeds. This food exceeds that hence the statement that is doesn’t meet a growth profile. Once full grown the calcium level doesn’t need to be controlled and higher calcium foods are safe to feed.

  • dad

    This food is very low in carbs, very low.

  • dad

    Bojangles is wrong. 28% is on a dry matter basis and 17.5% is “as fed”

  • dad

    There are new guideline now, at least this company is honest. It means calcium exceeds 1.8% in the food.

  • theBCnut

    The pie chart is calorie weighted.

  • Txgemni

    The pie chart is color/labeled incorrectly

  • Vid

    I just checked on the website for Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural, under Guaranteed analysis, it mentions that – Earthborn Holistic® Primitive Natural™ is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages, except for growth of large size dogs (70 lbs. or more as an adult).
    Any idea what this disclaimer means?
    I have a 75 pound german shepherd 1.5 yr old. Can I give him this food?

  • theBCnut

    ALS foods are puppy foods, so in that respect you should be fine. The biggest issue I can think of is that being pregnant is like being an endurance athlete, so your dog may actually need more carbs, but this food isn’t exactly low carb, just low carb for a kibble, so I think it will be fine.

  • Latinegro Marlito

    HI my bully is 30 days pregnant today I know I’m supposed to switch to puppy food butt since this is all stage dog food I’m just keeping her on this one or should I switch to one of the puppy food?

  • ChrissyW

    Did she lose weight? Thank you!

  • Sanz

    Okay, that clarifies it for me.

    That explains why it’s lower. I like Dr. Mike’s methodology.

    What do you feed your dogs?

  • theBCnut

    Not necessarily. If they have not had a formula change, then Dr. Mike will look at all the info and determine that it is the same and the review will stay the same, but it will be up to date.

    BTW, another reason for the difference in carb level may be because the company is reporting only the carb content that is actually usable, while Dr. Mike’s estimate of the carbs includes the fiber, since indigestible fiber is still legally counted as a carb. Also Dr. Mike uses an estimate for ash content which may be different than the actual ash content especially in a high protein diet.

  • Sanz

    Will the update mean higher in percentage of carbohydrates? No longer 28%?

  • Sanz

    Thanks a lot for the information, theBCnut.

  • Sanz

    Thanks a lot for the information, Bojangles.

  • bojangles

    Hi theBCnut,

    I didn’t mean to step on your toes with my comment!

  • bojangles

    Hi Sanz,

    It’s because the Guaranteed Analysis on dog foods always list the protein (38%) and the fat (20%) as minimums. When you calculate the carb content based on the minimums you come up with about 28%.

    A lot of dog foods under report the fat by 5 or 10 percent (or more) because they don’t want a “high fat food”. They tend to not under report the protein as much because they would rather have their food considered high protein than high fat.

    So in reality the fat content of this food is maybe 28% while the protein is around 40%, this would put the actual carb level at the 17.5% that is reported on their website.

    Hope this helps!

  • theBCnut

    You are welcome.

  • theBCnut

    Dr. Mike converts everything to dry matter basis. That way you don’t have to wonder about the different amounts of moisture in different foods in a comparison. Here, you are comparing what the different foods would be like with 0% moisture. Also, this review is to be updated very soon. It has been a while since it was written and the formula may have changed some.

  • Sanz

    On Earthborn’s website for this product, I see that carbohydrates is 17.5% where here it’s 28%. Could anyone please tell me how Earthborn’s calculation is lower than the one here at Dogfoodadvisor?

  • Sanz


  • Sanz

    Thanks for the informative response.

  • theBCnut

    Pea fiber has the digestible starch removed so it is just fiber, no energy. Potato is most likely whole potato(almost pure starch) including the green layer that is actually poisonous, but may be deactivated be the cooking process that kibble goes through. I wouldn’t say that one or the other is better or worse, barring a food intolerance, just that it is like comparing completely different things. I wouldn’t want either one being a huge part of my dog’s diet, but I don’t completely cut out either one.

  • Pitlove

    Peas are higher in fiber than potatoes, so when looking for a lower fiber option a grain free food with potatoes is better.

  • Sanz

    Thanks for the response.

    If I may ask, is pea fiber better than regular potatoes?

  • theBCnut

    Since we know that potatoes are high carb food and the carbs in this food are about 28% including fiber, I don’t think this food has a ridiculous amount of potato in it, unless your dog has issues with too much starch, then pretty much all kibbles will be problematic.

  • Sanz

    I noticed that potatoes is the third ingredient. Does this mean that the food contains a big percentage of potatoes?

  • ShadiLady

    Try Earthborn Weight Loss,. It was what I fed my diabetic dog.

  • Brooke

    I feed my dogs primitive natural and it’s the food they’ve done best on. They have not had any problems, their coat looks awesome all the time.

  • Sally Olson

    We were giving our dog the seafood blend & he has awful smelly gas. We switched to a different flavor & the gas lessened. We went on vacay & couldn’t find this brand. We used another brand of holistic-grain free food & he refused to eat it.(we knew we were running low on his preferred food & mixed it w/ the new brand, but the little **** tossed out the new brand & only ate the primitive brand) When we got home we found a partial bag of this food. He was fine, no gas. This week we bought a bag of the seafood blend & he is totally fine. I don’t know what the issue was…perhaps it was just a single batch.

  • Stephanie Blurry

    Good to know, thank you!

  • Dana Skawinski

    My dog has been on the primitive formula for over a year. She recently had similar symptoms. I took her to the vet and she got a hefty dose of antibiotics. Judging by the symptoms, my vet believed she had a bacterial infection in her gut. He said it was likely picked up from her doggy daycare but the food couldn’t be ruled out either. After she finished her antibiotics, she was all better. No problems since and she’s still eating the same food. This was over a month ago so I don’t think it was the food in our case. If your pup hasn’t seen your vet yet – make an appointment. A bacterial infection might be brewing.

  • Stephanie Blurry

    Has anyone had any issues with this food recently? My dog developed bad gas and diarrhea on the salmon and I thought it was the protein so I switched to the primitive. I “reset” her GI if you will, with boiled carrots and rice and fed the primitive and I’m back to diarrhea again. I’ve never had a problem with this food with her in the past so I’m wondering if there was a formula change or if my dog has developed a gastrointestinal bacteria.

  • Pati Kane Pinard

    thanx for replying. diabetes is her only issue right now. She’s currently on what’s called Authority. It’s a petsmart exclusive, and I add some canned science diet light. She likes it and it’s affordable. I’d really like to get her on a high quality food. I’m going to see if our year old husky likes this also. It’s worth a shot.

  • Hi Pati Kane Pinard, Welcome to DFA!

    Carbs would be my biggest concern in any food for a dog with diabetes. This food has a pretty low carb content for a kibble, and the fat content might be ok for your pup.

    What are you currently feeding, and does your pup have any other health issues besides diabetes, such as pancreatitis?

    I wish you and your precious pup the best 😉

  • Pati Kane Pinard

    I have a diabetic dog, and this food has a high fat content. Does anyone here also have a diabetic and uses this food?

  • Melissa Vazquez Carrera

    Thank you so much! I will do that. I have to say since we change her skin cleared no itching. Just have the diarrhea. But we Just switch. Thank you

  • WheresMyReacharound?

    It’s been my limited experience that any change in feed brings on diarrhea, If you can, mix in 20% a day for 5 days (until switched). It won’t cure it, but it does make it better more quickly.

  • Melissa Vazquez Carrera

    I have an Aussie she is 21 weeks old and before this she ate merricks puppy food. But her skin was getting a rash. But her stool was solid. An so we bought this. But she has had diarrhea this whole week. Did your dog do this? Or should I mix something in her food. I bought the 28lb bag. And I don’t want to give up on this cause it is such a good dog food. Is this normal. Or does it take a while For her to get use to it?

  • WheresMyReacharound?

    Fantastic product. Our Aussie has been fed this almost exclusively all 5 years of her life. She’s healthy, active and full of energy. Every time we see her vet for checkups we’re told ‘don’t change her feed’ (and no, the vet doesn’t sell it).