Review of Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets product line includes the 8 raw dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Primal Freeze Dried Duck||4.5||A|
|Primal Freeze Dried Rabbit||5||A|
|Primal Freeze Dried Venison||5||A|
|Primal Freeze Dried Beef||2||A|
|Primal Freeze Dried Lamb||3.5||A|
|Primal Freeze Dried Chicken||5||A|
|Primal Freeze Dried Turkey and Sardine||5||A|
|Primal Freeze Dried Pork||5||A|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Primal Freeze Dried Chicken Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Primal Freeze-Dried Chicken Formula
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken necks, chicken hearts, chicken livers, organic carrots, organic squash, organic kale, organic apples, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic broccoli, organic blueberries, organic cranberries, organic parsley, organic rosemary extract, organic apple cider vinegar, montmorillonite clay, fish oil, organic quinoa, organic coconut oil, vitamin E supplement, organic ground alfalfa, dried organic kelp, zinc sulfate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.2%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||50%||27%||15%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||39%||50%||12%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. 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 second ingredient is chicken neck. Raw chicken neck consists of muscle meat and bone and contains optimal levels of both protein and natural calcium.
The third ingredient is chicken 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 next ingredient includes chicken liver, an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth item is squash, a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The ninth ingredient lists pumpkin seeds, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and, more importantly, linoleic acid — an essential omega-6 fat.
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 Primal product.
With 5 notable exceptions…
First, we find montmorillonite clay, 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, we note the inclusion of 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.
In addition, this food has 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 dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
Next, fish 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, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.
And lastly, 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. 4
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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Primal Freeze-Dried Formula Dog Food looks like an exceptional raw product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 48% and a mean fat level of 27%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 17% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other raw dog foods.
Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a raw dog food containing an abundance of meat.
Our Rating of Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets is a grain-free raw dog food using a generous amount of named meats and organs as its dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 5 stars.
For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.
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- Primal Dog Food Recall of December 2017 (12/22/2017)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- 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, 05/30/2020 ↩
12/06/2021 Last Update