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Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets Review 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Vital Essentials Dog Food Review

Our Final Verdict

We give Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Nutritional Value: 9.6/10
Ease of Use: 9.5/10
Longevity: 9.3/10
Price: 9/10

If you’ve been curious about switching your dog over to a raw diet, then Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets may be a good way to dip your toe into the water. Made of raw, freeze-dried chicken, they give your pup all the advantage of a raw diet without forcing you to spend hours shopping and cooking.

As you might expect from a raw food, Vital Essentials is incredibly expensive, so it’s not suitable for bargain shoppers. However, if you’re constantly seeking ways to boost your dog’s nutrition, it’s certainly worth a look.

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Vital Essentials is far from the only raw or freeze-dried dog food company on the block, but they’re undoubtedly one of the best. Their production program was created in conjunction with researchers from Kansas State University, and they use only American-raised, USDA-inspected meats in their foods.

That may seem like overkill, but if you’re serious about your dog’s nutrition, it’s essential to demand the very best — and more often than not, that’s exactly what Vital Essentials provides.

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Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets – A Quick Look

Vital Essentials chicken nibs

  • Uses American-raised, high-quality meat
  • Includes organs and bones
  • Easy to prepare and serve
  • Extremely expensive
  • Has a strong odor
  • Low in fiber

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein: 41.5%
Crude Fat:  35.5%
Moisture: 8.5%
Fibre 1.2%
Calcium: 1.78%

Ingredient Breakdown:

vital essentials nutrient breakdown


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About Vital Essential Chicken Nibblets

Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets

When looking at a raw dog food, the protein source (understandably) takes top billing more often than not. We’re not disparaging the free-range chicken inside the bag, but it’s important to note that this food is also gluten- and grain-free.

That makes it an excellent choice for dogs with digestive issues, and it should help smooth the transition to a raw diet from a traditional kibble.

It’s Light on Everything But Meat, However

It’s easy to be grain- and gluten-free when all you put inside the food is meat. The ingredients label just lists different parts of the chicken and herring oil; there aren’t any fruits or veggies to be found.

As a result, you’ll likely need to mix in your own fruits and veggies if you plan on feeding this to your dog as their primary food. Otherwise, they’ll miss out on a ton of important nutrients.

It Makes an Incredible Treat or Topper

There’s nothing that says you have to give your dog Vital Essentials as a meal. You can also mix it in with their existing kibble or use it as a reward during a training session.

Dogs love this food (it’s just chicken, after all), so it’s a great way to convince a finicky eater to polish off their breakfast or coerce a stubborn dog into finally sitting.

Just be sure to wash your hands after touching it, because raw chicken is full of potential contaminants, like salmonella.

It Doesn’t Last Forever

The freeze-drying process does a great job of prolonging the food’s shelf life and ridding it of bacteria, but it’s not a miracle worker. The food will quickly start to go bad after you open it, so it’s best if your dog polishes off the bag within 30 days.

Fortunately (or not, depending on your point of view), the bags aren’t that big, so it shouldn’t take much effort to plow through one.

It Has an Incredibly Strong Odor

You’ll know when the bag is open, because the food’s odor hits you right in the face. This is seriously smelly stuff, but that’s likely a selling point — for your dog, anyway.

The powerful aroma should entice your dog into eating it, making it a great way to get a picky pup to end a hunger strike. You can also use the smell to your advantage during obedience training sessions.

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Do I need to do anything special to prepare this food?

No, it comes ready to serve out of the bag, so there’s no need to add water or mix in any other ingredients (unless you’re adding veggies, of course). It’s an incredibly easy way to give your dog a taste of a raw diet.

Why are the fiber levels so low?

The food only has 1.2% fiber in large part because there aren’t any fruits or veggies inside. This highlights an issue with many raw diets: It’s difficult to get the nutritional balance right. We wouldn’t feed this to a dog exclusively; instead, we’d find suitable fruits and veggies to mix in. However, you should talk to your vet first to make sure you’re not missing anything important.

Does it need to be refrigerated?

No, but you should store it in a cool, dark place. You certainly can refrigerate it if you like, but it’s not necessary. Regardless of what you do, you’ll likely have to throw out any uneaten portions about a month after opening the bag.

Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets

What the Users Say

Raw diets bring out passionate arguments in dog lovers, and Vital Essential Chicken Nibblets is no exception. We scoured the internet to find out what others were saying about this food, and the results were polarizing, to say the least.

One thing that everyone seemed to agree on is the fact that dogs love this stuff. We found virtually no reports of dogs turning their nose up at the food, but there were plenty of people that used it to get their mutts to eat other food. This is truly a great option for finicky eaters.

As a result, more people seem to use the food as a treat than as a main course. The bits are easy to tear into small pieces, and since dogs love the taste, they’ll follow your every command to the letter. Many trainers like the fact that the pieces maintain their structural integrity well, rather than falling apart or turning to dust like other freeze-dried foods.

That’s not to say that all the reports are favorable, however. Just about everyone — including fans of the food — complains about how expensive it is and questions the value of paying top dollar for such a small bag. You’ll need deep pockets to make this your dog’s primary food.

People get especially upset by the fact that they need to add ingredients to the pieces in order to give their dogs a well-rounded diet. They feel that any food this expensive should come with everything necessary already in the bag rather than forcing them to whip up a few veggies as well.

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If we could sum up the opinions on Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets, we’d say that most people agree that it’s a fantastic food — they just don’t know if it’s worth the price.

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If you’re intrigued by the prospect of feeding your dog a raw diet, then Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets is one of the easiest ways to experiment with the trend. Dogs absolutely love these bits of freeze-dried chicken, and there’s nothing inside the bag that seems questionable to us.

However, there are a few things that seem to be missing from the bag — most notably, fruits and vegetables. Given the food’s exorbitant price tag, it seems strange that they would omit everything but meat from the recipe.

We expect that many people who try Vital Essentials Chicken Nibblets will agree that it’s an extremely high-quality food — but we also wonder how many will end up buying a second bag.

Featured Image: Vital Essentials, Chewy

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