Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Vital Essentials Freeze Dried product line includes 12 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.
Click the links below to compare prices at an online retailer.
- Vital Essentials Beef Patties Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Beef Nibblets Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Duck Mini Nibs Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Turkey Mini Nibs Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Beef Mini Patties Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Duck Mini Patties Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Chicken Mini Nibs Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Turkey Mini Patties Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Chicken Mini Patties Entree [A]
- Vital Essentials Turkey Nibblets Entree (4 stars) [A]
- Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets Entree (3 stars) [A]
Vital Essentials Chicken Mini Patties Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Vital Essentials Chicken Mini Patties Entree
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground chicken with bone, chicken heart, chicken liver, herring oil, mixed tocopherols, d-alpha tocopherol
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||55%||25%||13%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||43%||47%||10%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is ground chicken and bone. 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 ground bone is an excellent source of natural calcium.
The second ingredient is chicken 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 third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth 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 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.
Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried 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 52% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 14% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.
Above-average protein. Below-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 an abundance of meat.
Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried is a raw dog food using a generous amount of named meats and organs as its main sources 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.
Vital Essentials 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.
- Vital Essentials Dog Food Recall | April 2018 (4/16/2018)
- Vital Essentials Dog Food Recall | February 2018 (2/24/2018)
- Vital Essentials Dog Food Recall | January 2016 (1/15/2016)
- Vital Essentials Dog Food Recall of 2015 (7/7/2015)
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 is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
12/15/2018 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩