When it comes to choosing dog food, it may be time to think out of the can! “Although kibble, semi-moist and canned are the traditional types of pet foods, less-processed options are becoming more popular,” says Dr. Susan Wynn, a board-certified nutritionist with BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “These choices don’t use intense heat, so heat-sensitive nutrients, like some kinds of B vitamins and amino acids, remain intact.” What’s more, Dr. Wynn notes, is that less-processed pet foods are generally higher in healthy antioxidants. “Cutting, slicing, and grinding foods exposes them to more oxygen, thereby oxidizing them and lowering their antioxidant content,” she explains. If you’d like your pet to eat more natural foods, but don’t have the time to cook their meals yourself, or the extra space in the fridge to store it all, you might be interested in learning more about these two types of less-processed foods:
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Chicken, turkey, duck, fish—you name it—is put in a vacuum chamber where the temperatures remain below freezing. Nearly all of the moisture is removed, resulting in a highly concentrated source of nutrients. In addition to having a nutrition boost, freeze-dried pet foods, such as Stella and Chewy’s Chicken Meal Mixers, Sojos Complete Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food, and Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food, are a great choice for families on the go. Not only are they lightweight (Orijen comes in 6 and 16 ounce bags, for instance, while Stella & Chewy’s ranges from 3.5 to 18 ounces), they don’t require refrigeration, making them ideal for camping trips with your pooch, or even when you’re staying in a hotel room without a fridge. You simply add warm water to allow the freeze-dried food rehydrate, mix it up, and voila! Dinner is served!
Many pet owners think freeze-dried and dehydrated pet foods are one in the same, but they’re not quite identical. The dehydration process uses a low-heat, rather than a pressurized chamber to remove moisture from food. Dehydrated pet foods usually last for a year or so—and that’s plenty. Like freeze-dried foods, dehydrated ones are also ideal for camping and hiking since you are able to pack lighter. For instance, Honest Kitchen Revel Dehydrated Dog Food squeezes 40 pounds of fresh food into a 10-pound box. To rehydrate, you simply mix with warm water and wait 3 minutes to serve.