Primal vs Instinct

Primal vs. Instinct

In this comparison article for Primal vs Instinct, we'll highlight the key differences between these two pet food brands. To properly compare Primal and Instinct, we'll use up-to-date nutritional and price information.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best pet food brand for your pet. Factors such as ingredient quality, guaranteed analysis, product safety, brand history, and cost are among the most important factors to consider.

Throughout this Instinct vs Primal comparison, we've utilized average data to make general comparisons. If you'd like to see individual product reviews, visit our Primal Review Page or Instinct Review Page.

Guaranteed Analysis: Instinct vs. Primal

According to AAFCO, all pet food labels must provide a guaranteed analysis of nutrient content. The analysis must provide guaranteed minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.

All percentages used in this comparison are averages reported on a dry matter basis.

Primal Dog Food vs. Instinct Dog Food

Dry Dog Food Primal Instinct
Crude Protein 46.3% 35.5%
Crude Fat 30.9% 20.3%
Crude Fiber 2.4% 4.6%
Wet/Canned Dog Food Primal Instinct
Crude Protein 48.7% 45.0%
Crude Fat 30.3% 25.1%
Crude Fiber 4.7% 8.1%

Crude Protein Comparison For Dog Food

Protein is an extremely important part of your dog's diet. Without sufficient protein, dogs can develop a wide-range of serious health problems.

When you look at the average percentages of crude protein for dry dog food, it's clear that Primal provides significantly more protein. On average, Primal guarantees about 10.79% more protein than Instinct. For wet dog foods, Primal typically provides a little more protein (about 3.63% more).

Crude Fat Comparison For Dog Food

Fats are an absolutely vital component of a balanced canine diet. Not only do fats provide energy, but they also serve important roles in the normal development and function of your dog's body. For example, fats help dogs produce prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation among many other significant functions.

The comparison table above shows that Primal dry dog foods provide significantly more fat than Instinct. More specifically, Primal guarantees at least 10.56% more fat. For wet dog foods, Primal provides more fat (about 5.23% more).

According to our data, Instinct guarantees 2.16% more fiber than Primal. Although this difference is relatively small, it's still a notable difference. In addition, Instinct wet dog foods also provide more fiber than Primal wet foods.

Primal Cat Food vs. Instinct Cat Food

Dry Cat Food Primal Instinct
Crude Protein 55.5% 44.4%
Crude Fat 27.0% 20.4%
Crude Fiber 3.0% 4.1%
Wet/Canned Cat Food Primal Instinct
Crude Protein 54.7% 48.2%
Crude Fat 29.0% 24.4%
Crude Fiber 4.4% 8.8%

Crude Protein Comparison For Cat Food

Protein is an extremely important part of your cat's diet. Without sufficient protein, cats can develop a wide-range of serious health problems.

Primal dry cat foods clearly provides more protein than Instinct. In fact, the difference between the protein content is roughly 11.09%, which is a significant amount. For wet cat foods, Primal provides more protein (about 6.51% more).

Crude Fat Comparison For Cat Food

There are many ways in which dietary fat contributes to the overall health of our feline friends. Here is a short list of benefits provided by fats (not exhaustive):

  • Fats help with the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Reduce inflammation associated with arthritis
  • Slow the growth of yeast infections
  • Prevent or reduce the likelihood of certain heart problems.
  • Aid in the development of the retina and visual cortex.

Our analysis shows that Primal guarantees 6.56% more fat than Instinct dry cat food recipes. In addition, Primal wet cat foods also provide more fat than Instinct wet foods.

Primal and Instinct both provide roughly the same amount of crude fiber. For wet cat foods, Instinct provides more fiber (about 4.43% more).

Primal Pet Food Ingredients vs. Instinct Pet Food Ingredients

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Instinct.

Canola Oil
Pea Protein
Tomato Pomace
Dried Tomato Pomace
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid)

We believe that certain pet food ingredients are linked to adverse health affects; these ingredients are classified as harmful.

Here are some of the harmful ingredients used only by Instinct.

Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex

Product Safety: Recall History of Primal & Instinct?

Primal has been recalled 2 times.

  • March 13, 2015: low thiamine level
  • Dec. 22, 2017: incorrect bone grind size

Instinct has been recalled 2 times.

  • July 24, 2015: Salmonella
  • Feb. 15, 2013: Pieces of clear plastic in bag

Price Comparison: Which Brand Is More Expensive?

Dry Dog Food Primal Instinct
Per Pound $42.45 $3.37
Per Calorie $0.0163 $0.0018
Dry Cat Food Primal Instinct
Per Pound $43.11 $4.60
Per Calorie $0.0180 $0.0024

The average cost-per-lb is heavily influenced by the varying amounts of moisture present in each brand's food products (wet vs. dry food, dry vs. freeze-dried food, etc). However, the average cost-per-kcal eliminates the influence of moisture. Therefore, the average cost-per-kcal is the better metric to consider.

If you'd like to calculate the average cost-per-day or cost-pet-year of feeding Primal or Instinct, input your pet's weight into our cost analyzer widget.

Averages price data can identify whether or not there exists a significant price difference between two brands. However, the actual price that you'll pay for Primal or Instinct will depend on your shopping habits.

Pet owners who use our price comparison feature typically save more than 25% off retail prices for Primal and Instinct. In addition, we currently have some great coupons for our readers.

Disclosure: PawDiet has an affiliate relationship with stores featured (or linked-to) in this article. We are compensated for referring customers. Thank you for shopping with our retail partners!

Where To Buy Primal Pet Foods

You can purchase Primal pet foods from the following stores:

31 Recipes In-Stock Today

31 Recipes In-Stock Today

26 Recipes In-Stock Today

17 Recipes In-Stock Today

4 Recipes In-Stock Today

Where To Buy Instinct Pet Foods

You can purchase Instinct pet food products from these retailers:

125 Recipes In-Stock Today

97 Recipes In-Stock Today

89 Recipes In-Stock Today

33 Recipes In-Stock Today

Type Of Pet Foods Available

Product Primal Instinct
Dry Dog Food 31 Recipes
Wet Dog Food 19 Recipes
Dog Treats 7 Treats
Dry Cat Food 16 Recipes
Wet Cat Food 18 Recipes
Cat Treats

Compare Pet Food Prices Across Multiple Pet Stores