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Primal Gently Cooked Dog Food Review (Frozen)

Karan French


Karan French
Karan French

Karan French

Senior Researcher

Karan is a senior researcher at the Dog Food Advisor, working closely with our in-house pet nutritionist, Laura Ward, to give pet parents all the information they need to find the best food for their dog.

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Updated: April 29, 2024

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Our Verdict


Primal Gently Cooked dog food receives the Dog Food Advisor’s highest rating, 5-stars.


  • Sustainably sourced
  • USDA organic produce
  • Protein rich ingredients
  • Human-grade
  • Expensive
  • Not ideal for homes without a freezer

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (puppies), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

The product line includes four dog foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Primal Gently Cooked Beef and Carrot 5 A
Primal Gently Cooked Chicken and Salmon 5 A
Primal Gently Cooked Chicken and Squash 5 A
Primal Gently Cooked Fish and Kale 5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Primal Gently Cooked Beef and Carrot was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Primal Gently Cooked Beef and Carrot

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Beef (with ground bone), beef liver, organic carrots, organic kale, organic squash, organic apples, organic cranberries, organic parsley, montmorillonite clay, cod liver oil, fish oil, dried yeast, vitamin E supplement, taurine, organic ground alfalfa, dried organic kelp

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 12% 4% NA
Dry Matter Basis 57% 19% 16%
Calorie Weighted Basis 48% 39% 13%

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient 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 10 essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The third ingredient is organic carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fourth ingredient is organic 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 fifth ingredient is organic squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth ingredient is apples, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The seventh ingredient is organic cranberries, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The eighth ingredient is organic parsley. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, parsley exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score 2 of 91.

The ninth ingredient is 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).

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 the product.

This recipe has two notable exceptions.

Firstly, taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.

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.

In addition, the company’s facilities are also certified organic under the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Primal Gently Cooked Beef and Carrot looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 57.1%, a fat level of 19% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 15.8%

As a group, the brand features a protein content of 53.5% and a mean fat level of 22.3%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 16.2% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 44%.

This means the Primal Gently Cooked range contains above-average protein, below-average carbohydrate, near-average fat, when compared to typical wet dog food.



Primal Pet Foods Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Primal Pet Foods through May 2024.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

Our Rating of Primal Dog Food

Primal Gently Cooked dog food range is certainly worthy of the 5 stars the brand has earned in our review. The recipes contain high-quality, sustainably sourced, USDA ingredients. All natural, organic and free from grains, carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. 



Highly Recommended


Primal Pet Foods Inc. is based in Fairfield, California. It was founded in 2000 by Matt Koss and acquired by Kinderhook Industries, LLC. in 2021.

Kinderhook owns Prairie Dog Pet Products, Himalayan and Holistic Hound, and will combine all four brands under a new name, Primal Pet Group.

All Primal Pet Foods products are manufactured in Fairfield, CA and Abilene, TX.


1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

2: Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor does not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

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