Vital Essentials Dog Food: 2019 Reviews, Recalls & Coupons

Meet Vital Essentials Dog Food

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Feeding dogs raw has so many health benefits, but for the average family, it’s difficult to coordinate. You have to prepare it and store it. You can’t make too much ahead because of the constraints of your kitchen. Sometimes, you may not be sure that you’re giving your dog all the proper nutrients.

Vital Essentials is a freeze-dried or frozen raw food that gives you the convenience of kibble without the problematic digestion. It comes in convenient packaging and allows you to know that you’re feeding your pet the best of both worlds. Let’s see if Vital Essentials could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Brand Quick Look

  • Parent Company: Carnivore Meat Company
  • Made in: Green Bay, WI, USA
  • Manufactured In: Carnivore Meat Company-owned facilities in Green Bay
  • Available at:  chewy.com, Amazon.com
  • Types of Food: Frozen, freeze-dried
  • Real Meat in First 5 Ingredients?: Yes
  • Recalled in Past? : No

Behind the Brand

Vital Essentials is part of the Carnivore Meat Company, a pioneer in providing raw foods that mimic the ancestral diet of your dog. The company has rigorous safety standards and is GSCI and EU certified. They developed a food safety program with Kansas State University, and all employees are trained in this rigorous standard.

The company got started in the search for better diets for dogs that more closely resembled the way they would have eaten long ago. Carnivore Meat Company is unique in that it produces high-quality raw foods based on plenty of research and uses only USDA certified meats to produce nutritious meals.

Carnivore Meat Company is one of the leading providers of raw pet foods in the country, continually researching and creating new ways to make feeding your dog raw much easier. You can find their private labels online and in a few specialty stores.

What Types Of Dog Food Does Vital Essentials Offer?

All Vital Essentials offerings are raw, but they come in two different forms. The first is a freeze-dried option that makes storage easier and the second is a full raw option packaged and frozen. The freeze-dried choice is more quickly served, but the frozen option most mimics the ancestral diet of your dog.

The recipes are limited ingredient to help dogs with allergies and to improve digestion. They center around a single protein source and use only high quality, premium ingredients and never any cheap fillers or artificial flavors and colors.

A unique component of Vital Essentials is that the recipes treat dogs as if they’re carnivores instead of omnivores. The research is mixed about where to officially place dogs, but Vital Essentials believes that dogs have been habituated to human diets instead of genuinely being omnivores. They think that only meat, organs, and bones are necessary to handle all your dog’s nutritional needs.

Freeze Dried:

  • Beef Mini Nibs
  • Beef Mini Patties
  • Beef Niblets
  • Beef Patties
  • Chicken Mini Nibs
  • Chicken Mini Patties
  • Chicken Niblets
  • Chicken Patties
  • Duck Mini Nibs
  • Duck Mini Patties
  • Turkey Mini Patties
  • Turkey Nibblets

Frozen:

  • Turkey Patties Grain Free
  • Beef Patties Grain free
  • Chicken Patties Grain Free
  • Duck Patties Grain Free
  • Rabbit Patties Grain Free

Vital Essentials Recall History

Vital Essentials issued a voluntary recall of a freeze-dried food variety and a freeze-dried meal topper in  2018. A package of beef entree was tested by the FDA and found the presence of Salmonella, so a limited recall was issued to alleviate any potential issues.

Best Vital Essentials Food

Vital Essentials makes feeding your dog raw so easy. While all the recipes are high quality, here are three of our favorites to get you started.

Vital Essentials Duck Mini-Nib Entree

Duck provides a good source of protein and fats for all-day energy and healthy muscle tone. It’s grain free and gluten free and contains only a handful of meat-based ingredients to mimic your dog’s ancestral canine diet. It’s great for dogs with allergies, and a single meat source could make it a lot easier for your dog to digest. The small pieces are great for small and toy breed dogs with unique dental needs.

Vital Essentials Chicken Patties

Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein and can help build strong muscles while providing energy throughout the day. This option is grain free, gluten free, and contains no artificial colors or cheap fillers. The recipe is a single protein source with just a handful of ingredients that provide complete proteins and natural sources of glucosamine.

Vital Essentials Beef Freeze Dried Patties

For larger dogs, the tactile feeling of larger patties could be more appropriate. The beef ingredient freeze dried patty gives your dog plenty of protein for strong muscles while offering limited ingredient formula that can help with allergies. It’ contains no artificial ingredients and no cheap fillers that degrade the quality of the food.

Customer Reviews

Customers tend to like Vital Essentials’ approach to the canine ancestral diet, and some have been won over by how well their dogs are doing on the limited ingredient recipes. It may take some getting used to with recipes that contain only meat, but many people begin to see an improvement in their dog’s overall health once they try it.

It’s consistently rated at four stars on many online retailers. That goes for most of the recipes that are available online at various retailers.

What Do People Like And Dislike About Vital Essentials Food?

Many people like that the food is a highly limited ingredient and can be served to dogs with severe food allergies, not only to cheap fillers and artificial ingredients but also any grains, soy, corn, or even vegetables and fruits. This may take some getting used to, but the good news is that there’s no danger of possible enlarged heart conditions due to taurine levels in foods with peas, white potatoes, and legumes.

Other customers like that it’s a more accessible alternative to raw, especially for those who use dog sitters sometimes. It allows dogs to maintain their food standards without having to teach someone else how to feed them.

Some liked that it gave them a little more flexibility in feeding when they used freeze-dried food. One person even mentioned that it’s good for when she’ll be out of the house and wants to leave a bit of food for her pets before she gets back.

The downside is that it’s definitely not cheap. If you’re looking for a food upgrade, that may be worth it. You can also mix in kibble or homemade foods or use this food intermittently to cut down on some of the expense.

If you believe in an omnivore diet for your dog, this recipe won’t satisfy you. Make sure you know what you’re getting with Vital Essentials because some customers were caught (negatively) by surprise.

Positive

“Vital Essentials is great food but it’s expensive. My dog had a reaction to regular kibble and since feeding him this he’s 100 percent better!! I do mix it with a homemade food as well to cut down on the cost. I’d highly recommend it!!!!” SandG, chewy.com

Negative:

“We’ve used several different freeze dried foods but this one was not a hit in our house. Some completely refused it, others nibbled and left the rest.” Dogmom, chewy.com

Vital Essentials Beef Mini Patties Dog Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients:

  • Beef
  • Beef Tripe
  • Beef Lung
  • Ground Beef Bone
  • Beef Liver

Vital Essentials Beef Mini Patties is an excellent bridge between the convenience of kibble and the world of premium, raw dog food. You can use it exclusively or supplement your homemade meals for your friend when you don’t’ have time to put something together. It uses only USDA certified meats, and every part is clearly identified.

Many dog foods use an omnivore approach, but Vital Essentials believes that all the nutrition your dog needs can be met with meat-only meals. Based on the type of GI tract your dog has (which is similar to a cat in total area) the addition of extra fruits and vegetables may not be necessary for your dog’s health.

Once you get used to the idea, the food is straightforward. It contains a handful of ingredients all from beef. The company uses freeze-drying to help preserve foods without any unnatural preservatives. You get better storage, and your dog gets all the benefits of raw.

The downside to feeding like this is that Vital Essentials is a more significant investment than the bargain kibble you may be used to. Since it’s nutrient-dense, you don’t have to feed as much of the food as you would kibble, but overall, it’s going to take a bigger portion of your wallet.

The good news is that it’s highly likely your dog will lose a lot of food allergy symptoms by removing everything that may cause a reaction. Artificial ingredients, cheap fillers, and even some fruits and veggies can irritate your dog’s digestive system. This one also uses no peas, legumes, or potatoes, good news for some dog owners. It’s nutrient dense and some of the best options you can get without making your food yourself.

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