Primal and Stella and Chewy’s are pet food brands that produce raw recipes as an alternative to commercial kibble and canned foods. Both are popular raw food brands, but there are a fair few differences between the two brands and each will appeal to dog parents for different reasons.
The main differences lie in the products and selection on offer. While Stella and Chewy’s offers more product types, Primal offers more varied and exotic protein options. Stella and Chewy’s has both cooked and raw and grain-free and grain-inclusive options, whereas Primal only produces grain-free recipes but with an overall higher protein content than Stella and Chewy’s products.
Both brands claim to use high-quality, safe ingredients. On the other hand, Stella and Chewy’s is cheaper than Primal and you can find more of its products online.
In short, Primal is a better choice for those looking for dog food made with very high-quality ingredients that offer more unique and exotic protein choices, whereas Stella and Chewy’s is a better choice for those looking for something a little cheaper and a little more accessible. However, Primal is our overall winner on this occasion.
Note: Primal and Stella and Chewy’s both produce grain-free foods. Grain-free diets are currently being investigated due to a potential connection with canine heart disease. Nothing has been proven as of yet, but it’s worth being aware of.
At a Glance
|Stella & Chewy’s Super Beef Dinner Patties||
|Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties||
|Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Patties||
Cast your eye over the key things to take into consideration when deciding between Primal and Stella and Chewy’s dog food.
Overview of Primal:
Primal Pet Foods was founded in 2000 by Matt Koss, who, after consulting with a vet, crafted his own type of dog food for his dog, Luna, who was in the early stages of renal failure. Inspired by how his homemade recipe seemed to improve Luna’s health, Koss chose to turn it into a brand that could benefit others in a similar predicament. Now, let’s delve a little deeper into Primal and what it has to offer.
Primal Pet Foods labels its food “human-grade” due to the quality of its ingredients. The company’s website mentions that ingredients are ethically sourced from responsible and trustworthy vendors who value sustainability.
Antibiotic-free and steroid-free whole muscle meats, organ meats, and bones make up the protein sources, and no hormones are added. Primal foods also contain a wide range of organic fruits and vegetables which provide fiber, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
No supplements are added to Primal products. The ingredients come from various locations around the world, including the U.S., New Zealand, and France.
Different products, of course, have different nutritional percentages, so in this case, we have to go with averages to give you the best idea of nutritional value. Primal’s dry dog food has a protein level of approximately 44% on average. Its average crude fat percentage is around 26.7% and its crude fiber percentage is 4.6%.
In terms of wet food, Primal’s products contain on average 49.5% crude protein, 28.4% crude fat, and 5.3% crude fiber. From these averages, we can ascertain that both the dry and wet food options are high in protein—protein is crucial for dogs to grow and develop properly, so we’re suitably impressed by Primal’s average protein percentage.
As a reminder, these are just averages. Please refer to the nutritional guidelines of the individual Primal product you have in mind to find out how much protein, fiber, and fat it contains.
Note: Primal produces grain-free foods. Grain-free diets are currently being investigated due to a potential connection with canine heart disease. Nothing has been proven as of yet, but it’s worth being aware of.
Primal has a vast selection of products, with a current 50 products for dogs including treats and recreational bones. One of the most interesting things about Primal in particular is that it offers a diverse and exotic range of proteins, including venison, buffalo, and quail. This provides a bit of variety for those looking to try something other than the more standard proteins.
Product types are frozen, freeze-dried, bones, treats, and chews. It has a range of toppers and hydrators to complement the main diet. Primal does not offer a grain-inclusive selection as all of its products are grain-free.
Like many high-quality dog food brands, Primal doesn’t come cheap. Primal dry foods cost around $0.0223 per calorie on average.
Overview of Stella and Chewy’s:
Stella and Chewy’s origins are quite similar to those of Primal’s. It was started in 2003 by Marie Moody. Following the advice of a veterinarian, Moody began feeding her own dog, Chewy, a raw diet that seemed to aid in his recovery. This is what led Moody to create her own raw pet food brand, which developed into Stella and Chewy’s as we know it today. Let’s break down what Stella and Chewy’s can offer its customers.
Stella and Chewy’s places a lot of emphasis on sourcing only high-quality ingredients from around the world to prepare recipes in U.S. kitchens. Like Primal, Stella and Chewy’s opts for ethically-sourced meat and does not add any hormones, antibiotics, or preservatives to its products. The meat comes from USDA-inspected facilities.
In its FAQs, Stella and Chewy’s answers a question related to whether or not their dry food recipes can be considered “human-grade”. They explain that they cannot be considered “human-grade” because they use ground bone and organs in their recipes, but they remain committed to using only safe ingredients. The wet foods and broth toppers, however, are labeled “human-grade”.
Stella and Chewy’s uses the following controversial ingredients in some of their recipes: tomato pomace, pea protein, canola oil, and vegetable oil.
The average crude protein content in Stella and Chewy’s dry dog foods is around 37.3%, the crude fat content is around 23.0%, and the fiber content is around 5.6%. The wet dog food contains approximately 51.6% protein, 22% fat, and 9.2% fiber. As with all dog foods, the nutritional value will differ by product, so please refer to the nutritional information of the product you’re thinking of buying for individual analysis.
We checked out a few products to see the nutritional analysis on a more individual level and noticed especially high protein levels in certain products, especially, for example, the freeze-dried raw patties, some of which contain more than 46% crude protein.
Stella and Chewy’s product selection is pretty impressive and includes both grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas. There are several product types, specifically broth, kibble, grain-free kibble, wholesome grain kibble, freeze-dried raw, treats, frozen raw, frozen cooked, and wet food. There is also a large variety of product lines to choose from.
Due to its diverse product range, Stella and Chewy’s may be best suited to those who like a lot of choices and more standard proteins. Stella and Chewy’s uses more “typical” proteins, like beef, chicken, and duck.
We also noticed that Stella and Chewy’s recommends products for specific needs, such as sensitivities and allergies and a few broths that can be added to the main diet.
Per calorie, Stella and Chewy’s dry dog foods cost around $0.0110. As another high-quality brand, we can’t really expect Stella and Chewy products to come cheap!
Top 3 Primal Recipes
1. Primal Beef Formula Freeze-Dried Nuggets
|Main Ingredients:||Beef hearts, beef liver, ground beef bones, organic carrots|
|Crude protein:||34% min|
|Crude fat:||36% min|
These beef-flavored freeze-dried nuggets are currently Primal’s bestselling product on Chewy. Antibiotic, hormone, and steroid-free beef organs make up the main ingredients and the formula is infused with added minerals and unrefined vitamins. It’s also high in protein and contains essential fatty acids to help keep your dog’s skin, coat, and immune system in good condition.
Primal’s beef nuggets have received an overwhelmingly positive response from buyers. Several users commented on how much their dogs are enjoying this formula and consider it a great raw option. On the other hand, some commented on the price tag, which they think is just too high. Some users find the nuggets difficult to break up when it comes to rehydrating them.
2. Primal Chicken Formula Freeze-Dried Nuggets
|Main Ingredients (New Recipe):||Chicken (with ground bone), chicken livers, organic carrots, organic squash|
|Main Ingredients (Original Recipe):||Chicken, chicken necks, chicken hearts, chicken livers|
|Crude protein:||47% min|
|Crude Fat:||25% min|
|Calories:||127 kcal/oz (new), 172 kcal/oz (original)|
The second bestselling Primal product is the chicken formula freeze-dried nuggets, also formulated to be crumbled and rehydraded with broth, goat milk, or water. Like the beef recipe, its chicken meat is free of steroids, hormones, and antibiotics, and it contains added vitamins and unrefined vitamins. Ingredients may vary depending on if you get the original recipe or the new recipe.
Reviews are largely positive for the chicken formula. Some users commented on how much it benefited their dogs with digestive and gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea. As with the beef formula, though, some users commented that their main issue with this product is the hefty price tag. Other users mentioned that it arrived in a “powdery” condition.
3. Primal Lamb Formula Freeze-Dried Nuggets
|Main Ingredients:||Lamb hearts, ground lamb bones, lamb liver, organic carrots|
|Crude protein:||34% min|
|Crude fat:||30% min|
Primal’s third bestseller is its freeze-dried lamb formula nuggets. Like other Primal recipes, it’s made in the U.S.A. with ingredients from various countries, including France, Spain, and New Zealand in addition to the U.S.A. It contains a variety of organic vegetables, fruits, and seeds, including organic squash, carrots, apples, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
If your dog isn’t keen on chicken or beef, this one may be worth checking out. User reviews point to a product that is tasty, easy to eat and has a great texture. On the downside, once again, the price was mentioned as an issue. Some users also commented that the pieces were a little large for small dogs to feed as a treat.
Top 3 Stella & Chewy’s Recipes
1. Stella & Chewy’s Super Beef Dinner Patties
|Main Ingredients:||Beef, beef liver, beef kidney, beef heart|
|Crude protein:||44% min|
|Crude fat:||35% min|
|Calories:||4940 kcal/kg, 56 kcal/patty|
Like Primal, Stella & Chewy’s bestselling product is its beef-flavored freeze-dried dinner patties. The meat is sourced from grass-fed cows and is free of antibiotics and hormones. It’s designed to be rehydrated with water and formulated with sensitive dogs in mind. As such, it contains probiotics to help keep the digestive tract in good shape.
Customer reviews are very positive for the most part, with plenty of praise for how well it goes down with picky eaters in particular and how palatable it is. Others consider the amount too small and some found the patties difficult to break up.
2. Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties
|Main Ingredients:||Chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, pumpkin seed|
|Crude protein:||48% min|
|Crude fat:||28% min|
|Calories:||4420 kcal/kg, 50 kcal/patty|
Another of Stella & Chewy’s most popular products is its chicken recipe dinner patties. The meat is sourced from cage-free chickens and, like the beef patty, contains no antibiotics or hormones. A variety of organic fruits and vegetables including carrots, squash, cranberries, and spinach make up part of the recipe. At 48% min, these patties are very high in protein.
Another set of glowing reviews for Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken patties, with their convenience and tastiness mentioned as major pros. On the downside, some feel that the bag size is too small for the price, and, once again, some commented on how hard the patties are to crumble for rehydration.
3. Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Patties
|Main Ingredients:||Duck with ground bone, turkey, turkey liver, goose|
|Crude protein:||38% min|
|Crude fat:||38% min|
|Calories:||5370 kcal/kg, 60 kcal/patty|
If your dog has more exotic tastes, they may prefer this duck, turkey, and goose recipe over the more traditional chicken and beef formulas. Like the chicken patties, the meat in this product comes from cage-free poultry and contains probiotics for healthy digestion. It’s formulated to support various areas of health including digestion, skin, teeth, gums, and vitality.
According to several users, these patties don’t last long in the bowl before they’re gobbled up by excited pups. Some users also mentioned that feeding these patties has benefited dogs with health issues and that the patties are easy to break up. This is in contrast to other recipes that were described as too hard.
One thing to be aware of is that these patties have a higher calorie content than the other two bestsellers, so be mindful of overfeeding.
How do They Compare?
Now that we’ve looked at what each brand has to offer individually, we’re going to compare them side by side to see which one has an edge.
Both brands place a high emphasis on using high-quality ingredients, so this one is hard to call. Primal is marketed as “human-grade” food, whereas Stella and Chewy’s isn’t, but according to experts, this isn’t necessarily a marker for quality.
Based on the averages, Primal’s dry foods appear to have a higher protein content than Stella and Chewy’s. Stella and Chewy’s wet food has a higher protein content but by a slighter margin.
Stella and Chewy’s seems to offer more product types, but Primal offers more exotic and less common protein sources.
Primal appears to be more expensive on average than Stella and Chewy’s at $0.0223 per calorie.
Both Primal and Stella and Chewy’s have been recalled on a few occasions. Primal has been recalled three times—for bone grind size being too large, for low thiamine levels in cat food, and potential salmonella risk in cat food. Stella and Chewy’s was recalled for listeria potential on two occasions.
What the Users Say
Having checked out reviews for the bestselling products from each brand, it appears that both brands get generally excellent reviews. Users have commented on the tastiness and how even fussy dogs seem to enjoy both products. In terms of negative reviews, some Primal users mentioned that they’re unhappy with how costly it is, and not every dog took to the flavor as hoped.
Taking everything into account, we’ve decided to go with Primal as our top recommendation. It wasn’t an easy choice, as both seem to be very popular and trusted brands with the exception of a few past recalls. In the end, Primal came out on top for its higher average protein content and more varied protein sources. That said, we consider Stella and Chewy’s to be more wallet-friendly and a broader range of products are available to buy online.