Food scores are based on ingredient quality and safety. For more information, view our evaluation criteria.
This is a new line of freeze dried dog foods in a scoop, hydrate and serve format. There are 5 recipes (including a Puppy formula). This line scores lower than Primal’s other foods, with an average score of 8.7/10. The average protein of 37.6% is also lower in this line.
As a minimally processed dog food, this line doesn’t lose any ingredient safety points. Freeze dried foods aren’t heat processed so they don’t suffer nutrient loss. The use of certified organic produce removes the risk of pesticide residues or GMO ingredients. The lack of added vitamins and minerals indicates high quality ingredients that don’t need added nutrients to meet AAFCO standards. Vitamin E is added as a preservative.
Ingredient quality loses points due to higher carbohydrates in the Beef and Puppy recipes (21% and 19% respectively). While still lower than kibble, this is a high level of carbohydrates for freeze dried food. However, it’s a plus that the carbs come from organic produce and not starch ingredients.
The Lamb recipe is penalized for very high fat content. It’s preferable to see fat lower than protein in raw and freeze dried recipes, but here the Lamb contains 37% fat vs only 28% protein. Animal protein is the most expensive ingredient and high fat diets can cause unwanted shifts in gut bacteria.
The ingredient quality score dropped across all recipes because they contain fish oil, an unnamed protein source. The type of fish should be named, and non-specific animal ingredients suggest lower quality. The fish oil isn’t described as wild caught – and that’s also the case for cod liver oil in these recipes. Wild caught fish are more nutritious than farmed fish, and have a healthier fatty acid profile.
All the recipes in this dog food line lose quality points for sunflower oil. Even though organic in this case, seed oils are highly processed and are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause systemic and gut inflammation. Organic seed oils are sometimes expeller-pressed which is preferable to solvent extraction, but the company doesn’t mention how the oil is extracted.
All the recipes contain coconut oil, which is a concern because there’s research showing it can affect gut health. However it’s good to see the probiotics are guaranteed to contain 100 million CFU per kg.
Primal doesn’t provide the omega-6:omega-3 ratio. They are certainly not the only brand omitting this information, but it’s our hope that more brands will pay more attention to these fats since omega-6 fats are inflammatory and AAFCO allows a very high ratio of 30:1.