Primal Raw Frozen Formulas Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Primal Raw Frozen Formulas product line includes 10 raw dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
Primal Raw Frozen formulas are available as Patties, Nuggets or Pronto Scoop and Serve.
- Primal Canine Pork [A]
- Primal Canine Duck [A]
- Primal Canine Quail [A]
- Primal Canine Rabbit [A]
- Primal Canine Venison [A]
- Primal Canine Pheasant [A]
- Primal Canine Beef (2.5 stars) [A]
- Primal Canine Lamb (2.5 stars) [A]
- Primal Canine Turkey and Sardine [A]
- Primal Canine Chicken (2.5 stars) [A]
Primal Canine Duck formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Primal Canine Duck Formula
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck, duck necks, organic kale, duck gizzards, duck hearts, organic carrots, organic squash, duck livers, organic broccoli, organic apples, organic blueberries, organic cranberries, 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, organic ground alfalfa, vitamin E supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.3%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||47%||31%||14%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||56%||10%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is duck. Duck is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of duck”.1
Duck is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is duck neck. Raw duck neck consists of muscle meat and bone and contains optimal levels of both protein and natural calcium.
The third ingredient is 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 fourth ingredient is duck gizzard. The gizzard is a low-fat, meaty organ found in the digestive tract of birds and assists in grinding up a consumed food. This item is considered a canine dietary delicacy.
The fifth ingredient is duck heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.
The sixth ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient is duck liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The ninth ingredient is 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.
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, we find pumpkin seeds, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and, more importantly, linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fat.
Next, sunflower seeds are a good source of plant-based fatty acids that and are also rich in vitamins. minerals and dietary fiber.
In addition, 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).
Next, this recipe 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.2
Because of its proven safety3 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, 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. 4
Primal Raw Frozen Formulas Dog Food Review
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.
Judging by its ingredients alone, Primal Raw Frozen Formulas dog food looks like an above-average raw formula.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 50% and a mean fat level of 29%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 13% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a raw dog food containing an abundance of meat.
However, with 56% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 34% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Primal Raw Frozen Formulas is a grain-free raw dog food using an abundance of named meats and organs as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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.
Primal Dog Food
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.
- Primal Dog Food Recall of December 2017 (12/22/2017)
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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Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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In any case, it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.
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Notes and Updates
01/22/2019 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition ↩
- 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 ↩
- 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. ↩
- Primal Pet Foods, 02/23/2019 ↩