Primal Pet Foods is a San Francisco/San Mateo, CA, based manufacturer of fully-prepared raw foods and treats for dogs and cats. According to their web site, the company has been in business since 2001 and according to the business site Manta.com, they have 10 to 19 employees and an estimated annual revenue of $10,000,000. Another source says they have 11-50 employees. They specialize in producing raw foods for pets based on the BARF Diet (Bones and Raw Foods or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods): Raw Frozen Formulas (complete diets), Raw Frozen Mixes, Raw Frozen Grinds, Raw Meaty Bones, Recreational Bones, and Primal Treats. As of 2007 their foods were manufactured at a USDA human food processing facility in Portland, Oregon. All of their ingredients are from the United States except for lamb and venison from USDA-inspected farms and ranches in New Zealand.
Primal also partners with the West Highland White Terrier Club of California Rescue, the Bay Racers Flyball Club, the Alameda Police Department and their K9 program, and the Happy Hollow Zoo. In addition, they sponsor a number of remarkable pets that can be seen on their web site.
Primal’s product lines includeraw frozen formulas which are complete and balanced and can be served alone to pets. They also have a line of freeze dried foods which are complete and balanced for all life stages. Primal also makes raw frozen mixes and raw grinds which are designed to be used as supplements for a pet’s diet. For example, raw mixes can contain organ meats such as heart and liver, ground bone, and vegetables for fiber. They provide protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, and other minerals. But they are not a complete and balanced meal for your dog. You would need to provide other ingredients to make the meal complete. The raw frozen grinds are also for supplemental feeding only. They contain poultry, meat, or game (typically organ meat), along with fresh ground bone. It’s up to you to supply the remainder of your dog’s food to go along with the organ meat and ground bone, such as vegetables, fruit, dairy, and so on.
Primal also makes raw meaty bones, which are an important part of the BARF diet. The bones are antibiotic and steroid-free without any added hormones. They come from ranches in the U.S. These are soft bones that your dog can digest. They also have various marrow bones for recreational chewing. These are much harder bones that will keep your dog occupied while he chews for a long time, though the marrow is high in fat. They also offer dry roasted, jerky, and freeze dried treats.
Raw Frozen Formulas
- Canine Beef Formula
- Canine Chicken Formula
- Canine Duck Formula
- Canine Lamb Formula
- Canine Pheasant Formula
- Canine Quail Formula
- Canine Rabbit Formula
- Canine Turkey & Sardine Formula
- Canine Venison Formula
Freeze Dried Foods
- Freeze-Dried Canine Beef Formula
- Freeze-Dried Canine Chicken Formula
- Freeze-Dried Canine Duck Formula
- Freeze-Dried Canine Lamb Formula
- Freeze-Dried Canine Turkey & Sardine Formula
Raw Frozen Mixes
- Beef Mix
- Buffalo Mix
- Chicken Mix
- Lamb Mix
- Sardine Mix
- Turkey Mix
Raw Frozen Grinds
- Beef Grind
- Buffalo Grind
- Chicken Grind
- Lamb Grind
- Sardine Grind
- Turkey Grind
Raw Meaty Bones
- Raw Chicken Backs
- Raw Turkey Necks
- Raw Chicken Necks
- Raw Beef Marrow Bones
- Raw Buffalo Marrow Bone Center Cut
- Raw Buffalo Marrow Bones
- Raw Lamb Femur Bones
- Raw Venison Marrow Bones
- Dry Roasted Buffalo Liver Chunks
- Dry Roasted Chicken Shredders
- Dry Roasted Lamb Liver Snaps
- Dry Roasted Lamb Lung Crisps
- Dry Roasted Venison Liver Slabs
- Dry Roasted Venison Lung Puffs
- Jerky Chicken Chips
- Freeze-Dried Turkey Liver Munchies
- Jerky Chicken Nibs
Review Of Primal Canine Turkey & Sardine Raw Frozen Formula for Dogs
Ingredients In Primal Canine Turkey & Sardine Raw Frozen Formula For Dogs
Turkey, Turkey Necks, Whole Sardines, Turkey Hearts, Turkey Livers, Organic Collard Greens, Organic Squash, Cranberries, Blueberries, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Celery, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Cilantro, Organic Ginger, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Quinoa Sprout Powder, Alfalfa, Dried Organic Kelp, Vitamin E Supplement.
I have to say that Primal makes it easier to analyze their pet food than probably any other pet food company I’ve encountered. Maybe that’s to be expected from a company that specializes in raw food diets, but their web site makes it very easy to look at each product and see what’s in the food, as well as how the nutrients break down.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
Primal’s raw formulas are based on the BARF diet so they are protein-heavy. This particular food – the Turkey & Sardine Raw Frozen Formula – is 77 percent turkey, according to Primal, and 10 percent sardines. In fact, the first five ingredients are made up entirely are turkey and sardines: Turkey, Turkey Necks, Whole Sardines, Turkey Hearts, and Turkey Livers. That would be turkey meat, turkey with bone in ground form, whole sardines with bones (which are soft enough for your dog to eat), and turkey hearts and livers which are healthy organ meats for your dog and rich in vitamins. If you want to feed the BARF diet and you like animal protein, you have to like what you’re seeing here. Turkey is a perfectly fine poultry source of protein and sardines are a good fish source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Primal’s raw formulas are based on the BARF diet so they are protein-heavy. This particular food – the Turkey & Sardine Raw Frozen Formula – is 77 percent turkey, according to Primal, and 10 percent sardines. In fact, the first five ingredients are made up entirely are turkey and sardines. The top 5 ingredients included in Primal Canine Turkey and Sardine Raw Frozen Dog Food are: Turkey, Turkey Necks, Whole Sardines, Turkey Hearts, and Turkey Livers.
Below you will find a brief explanation of each of these ingredients:
Turkey = This ingredient consists of fresh turkey meat which is an excellent source of animal protein. The only downside to this ingredient is the fact that it contains up to 80% water. Because this is a raw food formula, however, the turkey does not get cooked down so its contribution to the total volume of the product remains high.
Turkey Necks = This is just another part of the turkey that is included in this recipe. Turkey necks contain both skin and bone and the bone is soft enough for your dog to eat safely.
Whole Sardines = According to the Primal Pet Foods website, sardines are a valuable source of fatty acids – these fats are important for the health of your dog’s skin and coat. Sardines are also packed with healthy protein.
Turkey Hearts = In addition to being rich in protein, turkey hearts also contain high levels of riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, iron, zinc, and phosphorus – they also contain plenty of taurine.
Turkey Livers = Turkey liver is leaner than turkey hearts but it is still rich in protein and other nutrients. This organ meat offers thiamine, manganese, vitamin A, folate, iron, zinc and more.
Aside from the top five ingredients, there are several other notable ingredients found in Primal Canine Turkey and Sardine Raw Frozen Dog Food. Some of these ingredients include: collard greens, squash, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil. Pumpkin seeds are rich in dietary fiber and they also contain trace nutrients and various vitamins and minerals like linoleic acid. Coconut oil is a healthy fat that is rich in medium-chain triglycerides like capric acid and lauric acid. It also contains plenty of fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat health.
In addition to added minerals, the food provides its vitamins from its organic produce. If you’re into organic food, the food has a lot of organic ingredients: Organic Collard Greens, Organic Squash, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Celery, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Cilantro, Organic Ginger, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Quinoa Sprout Powder, and Dried Organic Kelp. In many commercially processed pet foods I would say that some of these ingredients are kind of gimmicky but in a raw frozen food that is using the produce for vitamins, many of these ingredients look like they are necessary and important.
This Primal Canine Turkey and Sardine Raw Frozen Dog Food also contains cranberries and blueberries which are used as antioxidants. Dried organic kelp is usually added for its trace minerals and iodine and the natural vitamin E which Primal says is added as an antioxidant. It’s also a natural preservative. For those who are interested, Primal says that organic ingredients make up 11 percent of the food. Organ meat makes up 9 percent of the food. Bone content makes up 10 percent of the food. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is 1.55:1. This should be an acceptable ratio according to the Merck Veterinary Manual.
Quality Of Ingredients
The quality of the ingredients in Primal’s Canine Turkey & Sardine Raw Frozen Formula for Dogs looks very good. They say that their meats come from U.S. farms and ranches (with the exception of their lamb and venison which comes from USDA-approved farms in New Zealand). The sardines are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids and they are better for dogs than tuna. They are a cold water fish with one of the lowest chances of having any mercury. The turkey and sardines in the food account for 87 percent of the food. The remaining 13 percent of the food consists of 11 percent produce, mostly organic, and two percent supplements.
Can Dog Food Really Be “Human Grade”?
Primal frequently refers to its ingredients as “human grade” on its web site. Their food is also made at a USDA human food processing facility. Does that mean that they are producing “human grade” pet food? Actually, no.
Lots of premium and super premium pet food companies use the term “human grade” to describe their ingredients or even their food. You may see this term used on their web sites and in some of their marketing. However, pet food companies cannot, by law, use the term “human grade” or similar terms on their product labels. Pet food labeling is overseen by AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials), the Food and Drug Administration, and other state and local agencies. These organizations are very uneasy whenever a pet food company makes claims that their food is “human grade.” The USDA and the FDA oversee and inspect ingredients and facilities used by pet food makers. However, in order for a food to truly be “human grade,” such that it might be approved for you to eat it, companies and their ingredients would have to undergo much more stringent inspections. So, while there might be differences between what we consider lower quality and better quality dog foods, it’s not really acceptable to equate a good dog food with the food that you eat, no matter how good the dog food is.
You can read a nice discussion of this issue, as well as the terms “natural,” and “organic” in this article in The Bark.
- Crude Protein (min) ….. 16%
- Crude Fat (min) ….. 7%
- Crude Fiber (max) ….. 1%
- Moisture (max) ….. 72%
- Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy (ME): Calories: 42 per oz./336 per 8 ounce cup
(complete nutritional profile on the Primal site)
Primal Pet Foods Canine Turkey & Sardine Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages.
In order to figure the protein, fat, and fiber content for a raw frozen food such as this one, it’s necessary to convert it to a dry matter basis. This is easy to do.
In order to convert the canned food to a “dry matter basis” we’ll do the following:
- Calculate the dry matter of the canned food by deducting the moisture percentage (72%) from 100, i.e., 100 – 72 = 28%.
- Now, using this dry matter figure of 28%, apply the formula to each of the components, as follows:
- Protein: 16 divided by 28 x 100 = 57.14%
- Fat: 7 divided by 28 x 100 = 25%
- Fiber: 1 divided by 28 x 100 = 3.57%
On a dry matter basis, Primal’s Canine Turkey & Sardine Raw Frozen Formula for Dogs provides 57 percent crude protein (Minimum), which is well above the government’s recommendations (18 percent for adult dogs). The 25 percent fat in the food is also well within the government’s recommendations (9 to 15 percent for an adult dog). The amount of fiber – 3.6 percent – is not an unusual amount.
Company Reputation And Quality Control Issues
Primal has a very good reputation among the people who feed their food. In 2011 they issued a voluntary nationwide recall of one of their feline formulas but they have not had a recall of any of their dog foods.
Primal’s Canine Turkey & Sardine Raw Frozen Formula for Dogs looks like a very good food for anyone who feeds a BARF diet. It has high quality ingredients and the company seems to take great care with their production.
Last Updated On 12/20/2015