Freeze-dried raw dog food is an appealing choice for pet parents who want to combine the benefits of a raw dog food with the convenience of a traditional pet food. Unlike fresh or frozen raw dog food, freeze-dried raw dog food is shelf-stable so it doesn’t require freezer or refrigerator storage. Plus, it’s lightweight, takes up less space and is easy to transport from the car into the house. But are there other differences to consider?
Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food vs. Frozen Raw Dog Food
“The primary difference between freeze-dried raw dog food and frozen raw dog food is moisture,” says Carol Osborne, DVM, at Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “Freeze-dried usually has less than about 3 percent moisture. Other than that, the benefits are very similar. The ingredients of freeze-dried raw dog foods are normally very high quality with minimal-to-no processing of the ingredients.”
Because freeze-dried raw dog food doesn’t require special storage, “it’s great if you’re traveling, if you have a sitter watching your pets who doesn’t want to mess with food, and for elderly, sick or convalescent pets who might be reluctant to eat,” Dr. Osborne says. “It’s a wonderful little starter food because it’s so tasty.”
Freeze-dried raw dog food can be fed as your pup’s sole diet or mixed in with his regular food.
“You can even use it as training treats,” Dr. Osborne says. “It’s not greasy, it doesn’t smell, and you can put it in your pocket and your clothes don’t get all messed up.”
7 Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food Options
The best freeze-dried dog food depends on your preferences and your dog’s tastes. The great news is there are many brands to choose from. Always wash your hands after handling any raw dog food, including freeze-dried raw dog food products.
Most freeze-dried dog foods can be rehydrated with water or fed straight out of the package. Adding water will bulk up the food, making it more filling for your dog.
Let’s take a look at some popular freeze-dried raw dog foods that all have four-star ratings or higher on Chewy.com.
These bite-sized nibbles can be used as a complete diet, as a food topper or as a tasty treat. They contain raw, freeze-dried beef and organ meat, fresh whole vegetables and fruits—including sweet potatoes, broccoli and apples—and organic goat’s milk.
This dog food topper is formulated to boost a dog’s regular diet with the benefits of raw nutrition. The freeze-dried topper contains cage-free chicken and chicken liver, as well as non-GMO fruits and vegetables, including carrots, apples, butternut squash, broccoli and blueberries.
This grain-free, freeze-dried dog food is a high-protein diet made with antibiotic-, hormone- and steroid-free chicken meat. The fruits and vegetables contained in this freeze-dried raw dog food include certified-organic kale, carrots, squash, broccoli and apples. There also are certified organic minerals, unrefined vitamins and fresh ground bone for calcium supplementation.
This complete and balanced grain-free, freeze-dried raw dog food contains fresh turkey as the first ingredient, whole eggs and flaxseeds. Raw superfoods include apples, cranberries, alfalfa, kelp, pumpkin and ginger. Simply add water to rehydrate before feeding.
Each raw dog food pattie is made from sustainably-sourced ingredients and a single-source of protein for a healthy option. This freeze-dried raw dog food features certified-organic fruits and vegetables like cranberries, spinach, broccoli, beets, carrots, squash and blueberries. The patty form makes it easy for pet parents to measure the correct meal portion—patties can be served straight out of the bag or rehydrated with water.
Designed to be used as an addition to a dog’s regular diet, this freeze-dried raw topper uses only one ingredient: 100-percent New Zealand grass-fed lamb green tripe. Green tripe contains naturally occurring microorganisms, prebiotics and probiotics, which may be helpful for canine gastrointestinal upset. This food is intended for supplemental feeding only.
This grain-free, freeze-dried raw food diet for dogs contains deboned beef and beef liver. It is blended with real fruits and vegetables, like apples, carrots and blueberries, and contains essentials vitamins and minerals. Pet parents can feed this as a complete meal, mix it into their dog’s regular food for a nutritious boost, or use it as a dog snack or treat.
If you’re thinking about making a change to your dog’s diet, it’s always best to check with your veterinarian.
Jackie Brown is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in the pet industry. She is the former editor of numerous pet magazines, including Rescue Proud, Dog World, Natural Dog, Puppies 101 and Kittens 101, and is the author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: Making Sense of Animal Phrases (Lumina Press, 2006). She lives in Southern California with her family, including her Miniature Poodle Jäger. Reach her at jackiebrownwriter.wordpress.com.
Featured Image: By Jon Lofdahl