Vital Essentials Dog Food (Raw Frozen)


Rating: ★★★★★

Vital Essentials frozen raw dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Vital Essentials product line includes 7 raw frozen 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.

The Vital Essentials raw frozen products are available in pet patties, mini pet patties, chubs and some are available as nibblets.

  • Vital Essentials Fish Entree [A]
  • Vital Essentials Beef Entree [A]
  • Vital Essentials Duck Entree [A]
  • Vital Essentials Rabbit Entree [A]
  • Vital Essentials Chicken Entree [A]
  • Vital Essentials Wild Boar Entree [A]
  • Vital Essentials Turkey Entree (3 stars) [A]

Vital Essentials Beef Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Vital Essentials Beef Entree

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 56% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 2%

Ingredients: Beef, beef tripe, ground beef bone, beef liver, beef heart, beef kidney, beef blood, beef fat, herring oil, d-alpha tocopherol

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.7%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis15%9%NA
Dry Matter Basis56%35%2%
Calorie Weighted Basis40%59%1%
Protein = 40% | Fat = 59% | Carbs = 1%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is beef tripe. Tripe usually consists of the first three chambers of a cud-chewing animal’s stomach. As unappetizing as it may seem to us humans, tripe is favored by dogs and sometimes even includes the stomach’s contents, too.

The third ingredient is ground beef bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.

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

The fifth ingredient is beef 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 sixth ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.

The seventh ingredient is beef blood, which consists mostly of water. And although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to humans, blood is naturally rich in protein (albumin), vitamins and minerals.

The eighth ingredient is beef fat. Beef fat (or tallow) is most likely obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Although it may not sound very appetizing, beef fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The ninth 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 the vitamin E, we find no added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list. We would assume these essential nutrients are provided by the food ingredients in the recipe.

Vital Essentials Raw Frozen Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Vital Essentials raw frozen 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 56%, a fat level of 35% and estimated carbohydrates of about 2%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 55% and a mean fat level of 32%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 5% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

Above-average protein. Above-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.

Bottom line?

Vital Essentials is a meat-based 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.

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.

Vital Essentials 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

Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.

Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.

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

07/25/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Rachel

    VE doesnt use HPP, as their rep advised. So, it would likely be the same risk as any other raw foods, IMO.

  • LJ

    Never had that problem?

  • Kirstin Schultz

    He eats only VE dehydrated chicken, rabbit and turkey. He on occasion does have scabby spots, but overall his health has improved dramatically. He absolutely gets nothing other than his food, probiotics, kefir and VE dehydrated treats. The only additional thing would be the dehydrated minnows. I will say, and I cannot figure why this might be, he seems to do better on the dehydrated than the frozen. I notice he sometimes gets a flare up when he has the frozen patties. I know how frustrating it is when you cannot figure out what the trigger is, but keep trying. I hope you find it.

  • Nikki Lynn

    Wonderful success story! I hope mine turns out as well! Even with an allergy test, we still seem to have issues with the skin. I think the next step is to stop all supplements. What brand of food did you end up with? We are on our second week of VE which is basically only 2 ingredients so I think stopping the supplements will be telling.

  • Kirstin Schultz

    Thank you Nikki,
    The post is older, but so much has happened since I posted that I am happy to share. Dickens is thankfully back to a healthy weight. I fattened him up over the course of the summer with different proteins and a lot of beef, which as it turns out I think was the allergy. The addition of the probiotic and the Kefir helped with his itchy skin and I removed the beef and he has been good since, but low and behold along came another post card from the vet. It was exactly a year ago when he received all his shots. I showed the post card to a friend who breeds dog and she was appalled at the list of shots he was due to have again this year, all of them she deemed unnecessary. I am convinced that this was the start of all his problems. His gut was a mess and now that we are back on schedule, I will be switching vets. Thank you for the advise and your concern!! Good luck to your pup as well!

  • Nikki Lynn

    Hi Kirstin,

    I know your post is older so hope all is well with your pup. My dog went through similar issues. He developed candida in his gut which caused a malabsorption issue from steroids and antibiotics.Try giving some plant based digestive enzymes with probiotic like from Animal Essentials. If they are not strong enough, you may need to get pancreatic enzymes. I get mine from It’s a long haul but he is getting better with allergies and yeast but mainly, no longer losing weight. He also uses AE Colon Rescue to help soothe and heal the gut. A holistic vet can help. My doc said my dog was “healthy” too. Yeah right. He was basically starving to death.

  • Elise Wilder

    Does any one else have a dog who’s breath has become stinky after changing to VE? I had him on chicken for about 5 months and now I’ve started him on Beef. The breath is worse on beef.

    This only started occurring when we switched to VE because our other prey model brand went out of business.

    Thank you!

  • Kirstin Schultz

    Thank you Darlene! I have since upped his intake again, he is eating 3 square meals a day which he loves, and I have changed up his protein and added kefir. I have managed to put about a pound back on him, but he is still scrawny. I will look into the great life dog food. Thank you for your feedback!

  • Darlene Kollar Albert

    no allergies with rosie

  • Darlene Kollar Albert

    freeze-dried vital essentials is a lot of protein and dogs will appear thinner. i add a small amount of great life dog food (grain & potato free). this includes different vegetables that a dog needs in their raw diet

  • Kirstin Schultz

    Thanks for your reply! It’s funny that you say that because previously I had him on a raw diet called RAAW Energy from a woman who I bought larger tubes of varied proteins from. He was doing so well on them…. amazing, weight, energy, coat. But then he developed a bad ear infection, followed by some hot spots and finally hair loss on all four feet, and terrible yeast. I attribute the change to a round of vaccines that he had had prior, which I believe weakened his immune system. I changed everything up, but nothing was working, someone suggested the duck, which she did not carry, so I went the VE route and he began to lose weight. I was trying to work back in other proteins, but he started getting itchy again, so I stopped. Currently I am more concerned about the weight than the itchiness, so I have him eating a turkey tripe mix from RAAW Energy and kefir to try and bump up his weight, but I am not sure if his allergies will return.

  • InkedMarie

    Hi Kirstin,
    I have fed VE but as part of a rotational diet. Your dog needs other proteins and when feeding raw, red meat should be more than white. Have you thought of ordering his food online? I order from Hare Today…she has so many proteins that would probably work for your dog; turkey, duck, beef, goat, llama, emu, pork, rabbit etc.
    You would need a separate freezer (you can buy inexpensive small ones) and they come in tubes; one pounders, two pounders and five pounders.

  • Kirstin Schultz

    Has anyone experienced weight loss with vital essentials raw duck? My pup has been on only that since March, due to skin allergies, and I’m feeding him twice the recommended feeding for his weight which started at 15 lbs and has dropped to 11 since March. He has been to the vet and been tested for everything under the sun, thyroid, diabetes, urinalysis, bloodwork done, according to the vet he is very healthy, aside form the weight loss which he attributes to the raw diet…. He wants me to put him on science diet, which I refuse to do, but I am considering a high quality grain free dry. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
    thank you, Kirstin

  • jolie

    Can freeze dried raw foods be harmful? Are they less risky due to the HPP or drying out process where bacteria can’t live?

  • Thank you for your kind words Kat. We are happy to hear your corgi is thriving on Vital Essentials.

  • kat

    I’ve been feeding Vital Essentials frozen to my corgi for awhile now… when she went through teething when she was a puppy, she quit eating kibble and so I switched her to raw. She’s been on VE almost continuously since then (16 months now)–with a few months on Carna4 mixed in when money was tight (also a great food if raw isn’t for you).

    She can be a picky eater, but she always eats her VE. Her coat is always its softest and shiniest on this stuff. She always muscles up on it. Small poops, perfect digestion, tons of energy. She loves the beef and chicken, also enjoyed the rabbit when we bought it on sale once.

    I always mix in a bit of salmon oil, Nupro Silver for joint support, and Answer’s goat milk. She is about 20lbs and eats one patty a day and looks well fleshed out. When she was growing she ate 1 1/2 patties a day, but I’ve been able to cut back now that she’s over a year old.

    The cat also will eat the VE when offered, and she LOVES their freeze dried minnows.

    Love this food. Its not for the squeamish (bloody!), but it works! The chubs are a good value as well. I defrost them on the counter as soon as I get home, until its soft enough to cut through but still firm… cut into daily portion slices and put in Tupperware, then back in the freezer. When I’m lazy I just grab the patties… but you do save substantially with the chubs. The new beef packaging has very convenient cut marks on the outside to help you know where to slice it for however many ounces you want to feed per serving.

  • Kathy Niskala

    You might want to try Vital Essentials,they follow the prey diet,with no other inclusions …it could help you see what might be causing the problems..also I just found a wonderful site ,called The Pet Health Nutrition that has truly helped me with with my dogs problems,they are totally holistic,and have trained herbalists ,and wonderful holistic products to help…with IBS and food intolerences….hope this helps…

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    One other, but I’m going to be moving in a few months so I’ll wait until I do that and then check that area out. πŸ™‚

  • Dori

    Odd that that’s the only one he can get as most distributors carry a variety of raw frozen, not all, but certainly more than one. Hmmmm? Any other local specialty type dog food stores around you?

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    Of the 5 or 6 raw frozen foods I listed for our local pet food store to see if they could order in, the only one he can get is Nature’s Logic. So I will be receiving some next week finally. Even if the food change doesn’t end up being the cause of Aedan’s skin issues I still wanted to change food as I don’t care for the changes that Nature’s Variety Instinct made in their food. Thank you for your help.

  • Salty2

    Wow! Thank you Kat for all the info, I appreciate that! I’m feeding Organic Chopped Beef or Turkey+ organs +give him bones. I do give Probiotics, Kelp & Digestive Enzymes daily, but I just checked out the Canine Complete, sounds great! I will also check Nupro & SeaMeal. Since he’s pup & a large Standard Poodle, I need to watch the Calcium, and anything with Citric Acid, which can contribute to Bloat.

  • kat

    What kind of raw are you feeding?

    You might want to add a source of digestive enzymes & probiotics like Answer’s raw goat milk or a powdered digestive supplement, and I would consider adding a whole food supplement that contains kelp and other rich sources of trace minerals and vitamins–Canine Complete, Nupro, SeaMeal, etc.

    You should be feeding him at least 4% of his body weight in raw food, more if he is incredibly active. You don’t want him fat, obviously, but he needs enough food.

    Dark stools are normal with raw food, they aren’t going to be light or yellow the way they often are on grain-based kibbles. As long as they are firm and not bloody, the darker color is normal. Typically raw fed dogs have stools that turn white and crumble away when they dry out, because of the bone content of the food.

  • kat

    Vital Essentials follows the prey model diet–which means 100% meat, bone, organs and no fruits/veggies. Dogs don’t digest raw veggies and fruits very well at all unless they’re essentially juiced. Prey model feels that fruits and veggies are not necessary or desirable and gets a lot of the nutrition from the inclusion of blood and organ meat.

    Its a great brand to try if you’re doing an elimination diet and trying to work out allergy issues because there is nothing in the food except the meat listed on the label and a bit of herring oil. When I worked at pet food stores, I had customers whose dogs could tolerate no other commercial raw food but VE.

    I feed VE to my puppy, but I also add Answer’s goat milk for additional nutrition and I like to include a whole foods supplement like Wholelistic Pet’s Canine Complete, Solid Gold’s SeaMeal, or Nupro, because they include foods rich in trace minerals like kelp, flaxseed, spirulina, etc. Food produced these days is not as nutritious as in the past, which is why its always good to supplement with food-based sources of vitamins and minerals.

    I also add fish oil to whatever I’m feeding.

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    I think there is one other meat that Aedan can eat, I’m pretty sure it is the lamb. But without his allergy sheet in front of me I didn’t want to say for sure. I need to have him retested thoroughly again, and include the ingredients in the foods.

  • Dori

    Because I give my dogs fruits and veggies as their treats it doesn’t bother me that a food in rotation doesn’t include them. There are some dog folks that don’t believe in giving their dogs fruits and veggies at all. I’m not one of them.

    There is the possibility that because he’s been eating chicken for as many years as he has that he has actually developed an intolerance to it. It happens often and is one of the reasons why rotation is recommended. A dog can become sensitive to an ingredient. There are many other proteins that you can try with Aedan that aren’t beef and see if that helps. I’m linking for you a section on DFA that explains the reasons why feeding a rotational diet is good for dogs probably much clearer than I could. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I rotate not only the proteins that my dogs eat but also the brands that I feed them. I can like rotate with every meal that they eat without causing any gastro issues i.e. diarrhea, vomitting, gas, etc.

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    I know my local pet store can get the Primal food ordered, however the primal chicken has only 4 stars instead of 5. Do you have any idea why that is? I will phone the manager today and have him check to see which of the other foods he is able to order and then I will choose one to start Aedan on to see if his skin clears up. Then, if the store is able to get in more than one of the foods, I will see about rotating their diet. Can you please tell me why it is a good thing to rotate the food? Also reading the ingredients…Vital seems to be all meat, no fruits or veggies, etc. I can see why that wouldn’t be good as an only food, but why is it good at all?

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    I don’t understand the change either. They removed good ingredients. Now to find a new food for them. One Aedan can eat and that I can get ordered in to our local pet food store.

  • Dori

    Kaye, I would guess it’s the Yeast Culture. Can’t imagine why they made this change. Raw frozen foods that I use are Primal Formulas, Vital Essentials, OC Raw, Nature’s Logic, Answer’s Detailed, Darwin’s, Steve’s Real. I rotate brands and proteins. I have to avoid all poultry plus I avoid all grains, yeast (in any form), corn, soy, white potatoes and white rice. I don’t feed any processed foods or treats. One of my girls has to avoid all those ingredients so I avoid it for all three of mine. For treats I feed them fruits and veggies.

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    oh wait just noticed that butternut squash seems to be in both recipes.

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    I’ll put here what they listed as old and new ingredient lists: Here’s a list of the ingredients in our old and new Instinct Raw Chicken formula:

    Old: Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Turkey, Turkey Liver, Turkey Heart, Apples, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Dried Kelp, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Salmon Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, Olive Oil, Rosemary Extract, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Persimmons, Inulin, Rosemary, Sage, Clove

    New: Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Yeast Culture, Pumpkinseeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Apples, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Salt, Cod Liver Oil, Dried Kelp, Carrots, Spinach, Dried Chicory Root, Blueberries

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    These are the new ingredients: yeast culture, pumpkinseeds, butternut squash, salt, cod liver oil, dried chicory root.

  • I use various brands like Tucker’s, Primal,, Nature’s Logic, Stella and Chewy’s and Vital Essentials. Same for canned foods and kibble. I use various brands.

  • Dori

    Quick question. When they told you that they did, indeed, change their ingredients did they tell you what they added or removed? I’m a commercial raw feeder to three dogs and have done so for the past 4 years but I’m careful to avoid certain ingredients because one of my dogs has multiple food intolerances. If we can figure out what the addition or change in the ingredients was, I would have a better chance at recommending foods for you to try. I rotate their diets by brands and proteins with the exceptions, of course, of Katie’s food intolerances.

  • Jaye Williams Rouse

    I need help picking a new raw food for my dogs. Aedan is 9 yrs old and Swan is 2. I have been feeding Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw chicken for the past 4 yrs with no problems. Aedan has allergies and is on chicken because he is allergic to beef. During the past year he has been having terrible skin issues. we haven’t moved, nothing in the home or outside has changed, so I haven’t been able to find out what could be causing his skin to flare up like this! I finally asked NV if anything in their ingredients has changed in the past year and I heard back from them that yes they had changed their ingredients, right around the same time Aedan started having such skin flare ups. I plan to have him tested again for the additional ingredients, but I’m also looking through this list of frozen raw foods to see about trying a new food. I hate picking new things! Too much info, all the comments, I can’t always get things here, sigh πŸ™ help? Lotus sounds good? but don’t know that I can get it here (62301) but will see if the pet store can order it from their supplier. No one seems to be happy with just one food, they feed multiple foods?

  • Salty2

    Yes, my dog got pancreatitis from the fat (marrow) in marrow bones. After that he had to be carefully watched, and when he had bones I had to remove all fat & marrow

  • Salty2

    But Dori I had my pup allergy tested and when I got him off the stuff he was allergic to his ear infections cleared up and he was much calmer, no longer crazy hyper.

  • Salty2

    I need help please. My 5 month old Standard Poodle pup has been on Raw, he has almost 1 1/2 lbs a day & is ALWAYS hungry! He is healthy, happy, has lots of energy but when he goes outside he tries to eat dirt. Also his poops are black.

  • Molly

    The fat content looks awfully high. Can feeding too much, too soon cause pancreatitis?

  • The Final Say

    Totally agree with everything you said there. The owner of the local feed store where I purchase food also agrees.

  • Dori

    OH, I’ll have to check and see if they do anything like that around here. Thanks.

  • theBCnut

    We have yellow jackets all over the place here. When we cleared my property, the guy with the bulldozer kept churning them up. Fortunately, once they were disturbed, they decided not to stay, then the next year we had 3 hurricanes cross over and the water table was so high for so long that they seem to have mostly moved further away.

    It’s definitely better and much more reliable to figure out where they are coming out of the ground, so you know that the right place is being treated.

    I don’t know if it is still this way, but a few years ago the university(UF) was doing a study, so if you found a yellow jacket nest and called them, they would come and vacuum them up and take them away.

  • Dori

    Well, I wouldn’t believe the mosquito control people about it being harmless. Glad you made your husband shower immediately and wiped down the dog. I guess it’s one of those necessary evils. For some reason the last few days we are having a terrible problem with yellow jackets in the area that I live. I keep searching to see where they are going and coming from. I’m afraid for the dogs because the yellow jackets seem to be very interested in hovering close to the ground in the back yard area that is fenced in for us and the dogs. If I can’t figure it out I guess I’ll have to call someone but I haven’t done it yet because I don’t want them spraying insecticide all over the place. Sometimes I just hate living in the South. There’s always something to contend with bug wise.

  • theBCnut

    I keep the cats in and they are the only ones likely to have issues. The horses get a larger dose, but they are very healthy and can handle a larger dose. I understand the necessity, but I still don’t like it. My husband was out walking the dogs when they flew over last night. I made him shower as soon as he got in the door and I wiped down the dog. Fortunately, it was Gideon rather than one of the others. He can also handle more than my little old lady JRT and Micah with all his issues. The mosquito control people say the stuff is completely harmless, but….

  • Dori

    That’s pretty awful having to have them spraying for mosquitos every single night. Are they spraying near your property and, if so, does it affect your animals at all?

  • theBCnut

    I love Macs, but my husband, the computer security nut, is dead set against them. They don’t offer any antivirus protection etc. I know it isn’t a problem yet, but that’s because the dopes that write the viruses are going for bang, and with so few Mac users, there’s not as much bang. But as Macs get more popular, and they are, it’s going to happen and Apple is going to be caught flat footed. The other issue is that Apple thinks they know how everyone wants to do things, which for some reason is always not how we want to do things, contrary I guess.

  • theBCnut

    We’ve had so much rain lately that all the neighbors are flooded like we had a hurricane. I’m glad we paid extra to build our house on a hill. We’re pretty dry, but there is so much flooding that mosquito control has been out every night spraying and we’re hearing about West Nile in the next county north, which is just 6 miles from here.

  • Cyndi

    Yep, mine are only black and white. I have a ton of stuff to choose from, but not too many cute little characters. It’s raining here too. πŸ™ Supposed to rain for the next quite a few days. Yuck!

  • Cyndi

    I agree!

  • Dori

    Macs are easier to use that’s exactly why Apple has taken over the computer industry around the world.

  • Dori

    Like I said BC… crack me up! I was a die hard pc/windows user for years. Finally it broke down for good and I walked into an Apple store. Played with a Mac and walked out of the store with one. Best decision ever as far as computers go.

  • Dori

    Wee! I like the snowman, very cute at least I think it’s a snowman. Are yours only in black and white? It’s raining here today in Atlanta, yuk! β˜”οΈ

  • Dori

    Ain’t that the truth. The simple things in life just make us smile.

  • Dori

    It’s actually two little red paw prints. Wanted you to see that there are a ton of different characters. Have you been keeping up with the updates for your mac? If so then you should have the special characters button on the bottom of the Edit tool bar.

  • Cyndi

    Lol! Probably!

  • Cyndi

    Ha ha! Years ago, I hated the idea of switching to a mac for work. Now, that’s all I use. I borrowed my son’s laptop the other day, it’s a regular pc, and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Macs seem so much easier to use now.

  • theBCnut

    If you had got it in your email, it would probably be a big happy yellow smiley face.

  • theBCnut

    Finally, a reason to buy a Mac!!

  • Cyndi

    Whatever character you just made there, just looks like a square to me. Maybe because I’m on a bit older mac.

  • Cyndi

    Ha ha!! Thanks Dori! Although I don’t have that flower looking thing and all sorts of other cute characters, but I have a few! I never knew about those! Thank you! It’s the little things that make my day, lol!

  • Cyndi


  • Dori

    Always happy to help in whatever I can.

  • neezerfan

    I’m on a Mac, I never knew this! Thanks Dori!☺

  • Dori

    Allergy testing for dogs is notoriously unreliable. Most reputable vets will tell you that and not take your money. Animal allergy testing is not like allergy testing for people. I have a dog with multiple food allergies and intolerances and neither the canine allergist or vet will do allergy testing on her. They both have told me the same thing. They are costly and unreliable and wouldn’t do them.

  • Dori

    Are you on a pc or a mac? If you’re using a mac computer then look at the top tool bar on your computer. On the upper left hand side you’ll see “Edit”. Click on that then scroll to the bottom and you’ll see Special Characters. Click on that. You’ll see a smiley face, click on that and it will show you different faces, to the right of the original smiley face is a symbol that sort of looks like a flower, if you click on that you’ll get all sorts of other cute characters. Let me know.

  • 4FootedFoodie

    Hi Tammy,

    Unfortunately, allergy tests are not reliable; as evidenced by your Sweetie’s test results.

  • Tammy

    According to allergy testing I had a year ago, Sweetie was allergic to every protein except for turkey. That was all I gave her for a year. I just did allergy testing again, and now she’s allergic to turkey! She can have beef, buffalo, pork, venison, and fish. She’s also allergic to common fruits and veggies, so the VE brand was the only brand that comes complete with no need to add supplements and no veggies in it. I was going to switch to that brand and alternate the different proteins. Should I switch between brands even if it contains allergy foods?

  • Cyndi

    Dori, how did you make that little smiley guy??

  • Dori

    Tammy. Glad you’re feeding raw and happy you’ll be rotating between brands. Don’t forget that you should also rotate with the different proteins within the brands so long as your dog isn’t intolerant to any of the ingredients. ☺️

  • theBCnut

    To start with, you may have to do a transition every time you switch foods, but when your dog has become used to switching foods, you no longer have to transition, you just switch, one day goat, the next, fish. It took my dogs about 6 transitions with kibble to no longer require them at all. I really think it is easier to switch foods with raw. I fed a beef based food first, then fed half beef and half turkey for a couple days. Next I went to full turkey, then half lamb and half turkey. Then full lamb, then full pork, then rabbit, then fish, then goat, no more transitions. Now I feed a different raw every day.

  • Tammy

    I wanted to ask how you do the rotation of different raw diets. Do you transition every time by feeding small amounts of the different brand? Or do you just feed vital essentials one day and stella and chewy’s the next day? Thanks!

  • Dori

    Absolutely! But please, fingers crossed always. I do feel good about the foods we feed our dogs and the fact that our dogs are on rotation makes it less likely that they’ll get sick from a recall seeing as how we rotate and can’t get enough of the recalled food and their digestive systems are pretty healthy as opposed to low quality kibble fed dogs. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed always!!!

  • Kathy Niskala

    Thanks again Dori,I also use the raw rotation,that you do too!!! and don’t use commercial treats either….hope our food remains safe!!

  • Dori

    I feed Vital Essentials Raw, Primal Raw Formulas, Stella & Chewy’s Raw, Answer’s Detailed, OC Raw, Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw, Darwin’s Natural. I never ever have used Bravo nor would I. I know some posters use Bravo but, for me, from the very beginning I felt uneasy with the company (don’t really know why, just a bad feeling) and I avoid companies that have multiple re-calls. Others give companies a chance with the theory that they will clean up their act and learn from their mistakes. My dogs aren’t anyone’s guinea pigs. No disrespect to the guinea pigs. Anyway, that’s just how I feel about companies and their practices. I have done a lot of research on the commercial raws that I feed. As for treats, I use organic fruits and veggies for my girls and they love them so, there again, I don’t have to worry about treat recalls. πŸ™‚

  • Kathy Niskala

    Thanks,Dori…what other commercial raw foods do you use..I just got an alert that Bravo is having another recall today! I won’t ever use them again…..

  • Dori

    Vital Essentials is one of the many commercial raw foods in my rotation and I don’t add any supplements to it. It’s not necessary.

  • Kathy Niskala

    I just started using Vital Essentials Raw.. in my rotation…should I use vitamin supplements when using this one? North West Naturals adds some vitamins to their mix….and so does Primal…just want it to be complete..Vital does use more organ meats in theirs……but just want to make sure!!

  • SandyandMila

    Great, I’m glad your dogs love it! I’ll have to try the goat milk and patties, my dog wasn’t a fan of the nibblets.

  • gmcbogger38

    I have fed the Vital Essentials Fish patties and am now feeding the wild boar. My dogs love it! I have also given my dogs the raw goat milk from VE. Top notch in my opinion. I couldn’t be happier.

  • Bobby dog

    Dori I am guilty of it too! It really does help to read or hear about the good as well as the bad because it usually helps us decide who we should give our business to.

  • Dori

    Bobby. I know just what you mean. Typically we’re quick to complain about a company or an employee but forget (truthfully doesn’t occur to us) to acknowledge good service. I will attempt to do better.

  • Nancy Calloway

    Service like that is extinct. In fact, when he called me the first time it was MID DAY – not mid afternoon, which means in Wisconsin it was an hr or two earlier. I am remembering now that I had to be somewhere at 1:30 PM and he called me back (the second call) while I was in the car on the way to my destination at 1:30. NOW THAT IS FAST.
    If they make their food with this kind of CARE and ATTENTION, then WOW WOW WOW!
    Shall we all be inspired? πŸ™‚

  • Nancy Calloway

    I think he called bck within TWENTY minutes. And more interesting, he mentioned that even if the boutique stores he called did not STOCK Vital Essentials he would ASK them if they would order it for me anyway! He would then have to call a distributor I suppose, to set this up. (?) One store actually does carry the V E dehydrated. Another one sells the tripe. Both will order for me! I was unable to identify the stores myself on the website bec the “Store Close to you” map was down also Monday night. Honestly he was amazing and so positive!
    Kudos to him and the company!

  • Bobby dog

    I love when people take the time to acknowledge good customer service; we often hear about bad service. Both are equally important to know IMHO!

  • Nancy Calloway

    NEVER in my life (65 years) have I ever experienced CUSTOMER SERVICE like I just got from this company!

    Monday evening EST: I was having trouble with their website; wanted to study the foods. Problems. Called the company. The woman there was not able much to help – said site was down, being worked on, didn’t know answers to my Qs, said she’d get a rep to call me tomorrow.

    Tuesday mid afternoon: Rep called. (I was surprised. was so fast). He could not been more helpful and his attitude was SERVICE ! Ended up telling me HE would call a few stores in my area (NC) to identify a human being who would ORDER THE FOOD FOR ME. Within 40 minutes he called back AND emailed to tell me he had two commitments in small boutiques close to me. Both would order whatever I want.

    His email followed up with names and locations of the stores, and phone numbers and human beings’ NAMES who would expect my call.

    He was most pleasant and happy to help in any way… said call him if there are any issues and he’ll do what he can.

    I could not believe how FAST he solved a problem for one little client in NC calling out of nowhere. SAYS A LOT.

    This is the BEST SERVICE I HAVE EVER HAD at any company.

    Cha Vang

    Cha Vang

    Inside Sales

    Carnivore Meat Company

    PO Box 9227

    Green Bay, WI 54308-9227


    He’s there if you need him. OH if the WORLDS corporations worked this way it would be a DIFFERENT WORLD!!
    Thank you Cha!
    Thank you Vital Essentials!

  • Betsy Dabbert

    Hi everyone, I am new to discussion..are you adding any veggies to this food? How often do you rotate? Just started using Bistro because of sweet potatoe in Darwin’s. My lab was very sensitive to it.

  • Caroline Capobianco

    Hey, thanks for reminding me! I totally forgot that I was going to do a follow-up review. Max did great with the fish. He really likes it too. I just bought the Beef and the Duck last week. Max loves the beef but isn’t crazy about the duck which is odd for him. Usually Max LOVES duck but he sticks his nose up at the VE Duck. The VE beef and duck were $28.95 each while the S&C I get is $26.95 (even the lamb) for the same amount (6lbs). I think I’ll be buying more S&C but I’ll still buy VE for variety.

  • dchassett

    How did Max do with the Vital Essentials fish?

  • SandyandMila

    Anyone try the goat milk? VE is a new item at the local store I go to and haven’t tried any of their products yet, but intend to soon.

  • Caroline Capobianco

    My local pet store just started carrying this. I got the fish formula to try. It was $22 for 6lbs. I’ll post a true review after I feed it to Max. It looks like a good product to keep in my rotation. I’m using Primal grinds, Stella & Chewy’s, Tucker’s raw, and now this.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Do you know what a 3 minute egg is? Boil for 3 minutes, crack it open. Simple. Though sometimes I will make a dozen hardboiled eggs ahead of time and use those instead.
    I give less kibble, so I can add raw food every day, some days egg is added too.

  • losul

    The way I do it is to melt a little coconut oil in a frypan over medium/low heat. Drop in the egg yolk and all and just stir the white part a little as it heats and congeals. Takes about a minute or less. I give with a meal.

  • Bunker21

    How do you lightly cook it? And do you give it in addition to the meal or as the meal?

  • Pattyvaughn

    My 13# dog gets an egg every other day. Every other egg is raw, the rest are lightly cooked.

  • losul

    I can understand that! However giardia and coccidia are protozoans, salmonella are bacteria. Salmonella are not very likely to be inside the shell, although possible. Much of the inhibitors in raw egg have to do with anti-bacterial defense, and also lysozyme in them.

  • Betsy Greer

    Dang it, he’s so cute I can’t stand it!

  • Crazy4cats

    I fed my big guys each two eggs last night. I did stick them in the microwave first, however, for about 30 seconds (the eggs, not the dogs!) I’m more worried about Salmonella than the biotin thing as they both have already had Giardia and Coccidia. Don’t need anymore diarrhea!

  • losul

    I’m not really advising to lightly cook the whites, it’s just what i choose to do, after research. I think it’s a good compromise between completely raw and completely cooked. Someone else might want to give raw sometimes and cooked sometimes.

    There’s also things like heat labile conalbumin which sequesters heavy metals (a good thing if the eggs contain things like lead or arsenic, more likely in storebought) but it also binds iron (not always so good).

    Completely raw maybe O.K. if not giving them in over abundance, IMO. My 35 pounder only gets 2 to 4 a week.

  • Cyndi

    Such a little cutie!! πŸ™‚

  • aimee

    Unfortunately the article has no references and the published studies that are available refutes what he says. Case studies of biotin deficiency from raw egg consumption have also been published. He really needs to rewrite it with accurate information and credible references.

    ” The results show that the biotin contained in egg yolk is inadequate to counteract the deficiency of biotin caused by the avidin in egg white”

    Digestibility of egg white is poor and when fed to pups as a protein source caused poor growth/weight loss and diarrhea.

  • LabsRawesome

    My Dachshund gets a raw egg 2 x a week. He weighs 16lbs.

  • Cyndi

    Great article! Thanks for posting! πŸ™‚

  • losul

    I always lightly cook the whites. It might decay a few of the vitamins a little, but like you say it also destroys the avidin which binds biotin.

    Also, like Aimee says, raw eggs also contain various protease/trypsin inhibitors which interfere with protein digestion and are heat labile.

  • Crazy4cats


    This link has some interesting information:

    Good Luck!

  • Cyndi

    Oh, one more thing, I would only use organic, cage free eggs. I get mine from a friend who raises chickens and ducks. So the eggs I get are as fresh as you can get.

  • Cyndi

    I’m not sure about that, with a dog that small. Maybe someone else can chime in and tell you how often would be good for a dog your size…

  • aimee

    The raw egg contains anti nutrient factors which interfere with protein digestion ( raw egg white is poorly digested), and bind biotin. Some feel that disadvantage is offset by possibly boosting glutathione, but that is a big maybe. No actual data showing that this occurs that I can find.

    My advise is to lightly cook the white.

  • Bunker21

    How often would you suggest? My dog is small – 13lbs.

  • Cyndi

    Adding raw eggs to your dog’s food is an excellent idea. I give my dog a raw chicken or duck egg, shell and all, with her raw food a couple times a week.

  • Bunker21

    Does anyone have thoughts on feeding raw eggs to a 11 month old pup in addition to their raw diet?

  • Call your local better pet food retailer and ask if they carry products or can order it for you. Also, if you join a local raw feeding group, they will most likely make bulk orders as a group and that usually will get you good prices too. You can search for one on yahoo groups. Another option is Big Dog Natural air dried tripe recipe. It rehydrates well (well, I’ve only used their beef and chicken products and they rehydrate well).

  • jolie

    this stuff looks good but is so expensive πŸ™ was a replacement for green tripe at my local pet store

  • monkey

    How’s the food working out?

  • My 5 year old rat terrier chihuahua mix refuses to eat anything else. He wolfs this down faster than I can place his dish on the ground. Fantastic food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Please come back in a couple months and let us know how you’re liking it and how you’re dogs are doing on it.

  • Dana

    I started feeding this food last week, ironically right before the review came out,Β  all of my dogs are very happy with it, and my 19 year old, that has started to get rather picky in her older days, LOVES it!! and is doing very well on it so far.Β 

  • InkedMarie

    Funny you should review this as you did Northest Naturals last week & the same person I know who feeds that, feeds this!

  • Yes it looks like a good treat (nibblets) size since my dogs are small I have to watch their treats.Β  I also like S&C Carnivore Crunch.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’ve been waiting for a review on this. I’ve ordered the freeze-dried nuggets for my dogs before – good training treats.

  • I’ve seen this before but forgot about it. I just ordered some to give with kibble for my own version of “Raw Boost” since Raw Boost didn’t have very many bits of raw in it!