Dogs are an integral part of our family, almost like children. That’s why we’re just as peaky about their food as we are with ours.
Reports show that we’re looking for pet food that reflects our own taste. But the choices are many: homemade or canned, dry or wet, processed or raw, dehydrated vs freeze-dried dog food. It’s easy to get lost.
With the dramatic increase in organic raw dog food, freeze dried and dehydrated options are supposedly very healthy for our dogs. Unsurprisingly, the demand for them is higher than ever.
Let’s find out more and learn everything about:
- Difference Between Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated
- What Is Freeze-Dried Dog Food?
- What Is Dehydrated Dog Food?
- Benefits of Freeze-Dried Dog Food and Dehydrated Food
- The Downsides: Dehydrated vs Freeze-Dried
- Which is Healthier: Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated?
Difference Between Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated
While many often mistake the two, there are several key differences between them.
But let’s start with what they have in common. Both go through the process of extracting the moisture from the food. The freeze-dried process removes up to 99% of the moisture, while the dehydrated one extracts up to 95%. Although the difference seems very small, when it comes to nutrition and texture, 4% matters.
How so? Well, let’s find out the differences.
Freeze-dried food is more of a vacuum proces than a drying one, which is the case with dehydrated brands. Another crucial distinction is that dehydrated food undergoes some cooking process, unlike freeze-dried food. But some say uncooked food is more nutritious and healthier for your pet.
So, which is healthier? To find out, let’s see how each is made.
What Is Freeze-Dried Dog Food?
It involves freezing the product, lowering the pressure (vacuuming), and removing the ice by sublimation (water removal by evaporation). Reportedly, the food quality remains excellent due to the low processing temperature. That’s how companies retain the product standard without damaging the nutrients.
So, you get all the benefits of raw food. If you’re looking for freeze-dried vs frozen raw dog food information, the two are the same and they retain nutritional value longer. Even earlier civilizations discovered and used this method.
Freeze-Dry: Dating Back to 15th Century Incan Civilizations
Although it might sound like modern technology, the process goes back to the 15th Century when the Incan Civilizations developed it.
Only back then, they freeze-dried potatoes. They exposed the veggies to below-freezing temperatures during the evenings in the Machu Picchu mountain peaks, then they squeezed the water out and dried them during the day. That’s how they stored more food that lasted longer.
The turning point to more frequent freeze-drying happened during World War II. Blood plasma and penicillin were the first substances to undergo this unique process. But, the greatest purpose of freeze-drying in the food industry was in the 1950s–1960s. The first products were for astronauts and military personnel.
And, now, decades later, we’re talking about freeze-dried raw dog food. It’s amazing how a simple method like this has evolved over time.
Does Freeze-Dried Food Lose Nutrients?
Freeze-dried dog food manufacturers explain that all nutrients remain intact during this unique process. That includes all the essentials — proteins, amino acids, calcium, enzymes, fats, and probiotics.
That said, bear in mind the portion you’re giving to your pooch. Since this food is full of protein and vitamins, you might need to reduce your pet’s usual intake to avoid obesity.
So how much should you give your dog? It depends on the breed and size. Reduce it by a little at first, and see how it’s going. If you notice your pooch is gaining weight, make the portions even smaller or consult your vet. Alternatively, just follow the instructions on the back of the food package.
Is Freeze-Dried Food Good For Dogs? Consistency & Texture
What makes freeze-dried dog food awesome, aside from the nutritious part, is that it’s lightweight and easy to chew and digest. It’s a fantastic option for dogs of all ages.
Due to its size and how it’s made, it’s also a convenient solution for traveling. Plus, the long shelf life guarantees it won’t spoil during your adventures.
Another key difference between dehydrated vs freeze-dried dog food is that you don’t need to reheat or boil it. You can give it to your dog straight from the package. Also, it’s great as a treat for your training sessions.
Ready, Set, Serve — How to Make Freeze-Dried Dog Food
If you love to cook, the best way to make this food yourself is to get a freeze-dryer. Unfortunately, that doesn’t come cheap. But if you get one, you can try many recipes online that your pooch will love.
You can do that using your own freezer, too. That said, you should carefully follow the instructions to keep the food quality the same.
You’ll need to place the food on a tray or plate and put it in your deep freezer departments. Once there, you should freeze it at the lowest temperature for 2–3 weeks. After that, put the food in a ziploc bag and store it in your freezer or pantry.
How to feed freeze-dried dog food? You can serve it straight from the ziploc bag. That said, if it’s meat, we recommend you rehydrate it first in hot water, which takes only a few minutes.
If all this seems complicated, you can find freeze dried dog food online or in the pet store. Our dogs love TruDog Freeze Dried Raw Superfood. Alternatively, you can sign up for raw dog food delivery.
What Is Dehydrated Dog Food?
Another old way of increasing and improving the food shelf life is dehydration. Just like freeze-dried food, the aim is to reduce the moisture to very low levels. But instead of freezing the product, here we use heat, and the hot air extracts the water.
Food Dehydration: Ancient Civilization Process From 12,000 B.C.
The ancient process goes back to prehistoric times. Back then, people dried meat, fish, and plants under the sun or in deserts and mountains where the air is naturally dry.
The purpose is to preserve the food and reduce its weight and volume to store it easily. That makes it more convenient for transport and use. Also, that’s how we can transform food, like grapes, into raisins.
The Dehydration Process — How Is It Made?
Have you heard of air-dried dog food? One of the two ways to make dehydrated dog food is by air drying. In this process, hot and fry air supplies the heat for evaporation and pulls out the moisture from the food surface. That’s how top brands make the best air dried dog food.
The other way to do that is by boil drying. Here, the food comes into contact with a hot surfaceр so the water in it “boils off”. That’s usually done by vacuum drying, superheated steam, or drum drying.
But is it really good for your dog? And how is the dehydrated dog food vs kibble rated?
Dehydrated Dog Food — Level of Nutrition, Consistency and Texture
Unlike freeze-dried food, dehydration loses some of the food’s nutritional value. Depending on the reports you read, the loss can be minimal or up to 40%–50%. Still, it’s far better than kibble, which includes artificial vitamins and enzymes.
Dehydrated dog food has a hard, cooked texture that might be challenging for puppies. Also, most of it requires rehydration, which can take up to 15 minutes, making it less convenient to travel with your dog.
Is Dehydrated Food Good for Dogs?
Many claim that dehydrated food is among the best options next to homemade dog food. Just subtract the long prep time and grocery store trips.
But how to feed your dog with it? It’s easy. Just follow the package instructions. Generally, you simply have to add warm water and stir the food for 3–10 minutes, depending on the product. Then, let it sit for three minutes before serving it to your dog. That helps all the nutrients, flavors, and aromas to reach optimal state and makes it as tasteful as homemade food.
One of the best dehydrated dog food options that we can warmly recommend is The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Dog Food. Even the pickiest eaters will enjoy it.
Benefits of Freeze-Dried Dog Food and Dehydrated Food
Let’s see the pros and cons of these two healthy options for your dog. That might help you make up your mind on which dog food to choose.
Longer Shelf Life
Although kibble can have a shelf life of years, once open, it’s only good for weeks or even days. In contrast, freeze-dried and dehydrated food can last up to five years. Once opened, you can refrigerate or eat it within a month. Another benefit is that it’s very convenient for traveling and camping. Plus, you won’t even need a big bag, as it’s lightweight and easy to carry.
More Nutritious Than Kibble
When it comes to dehydrated and freeze-dried dog food vs kibble, the first two are undoubtedly more nutritious. Plus, kibble often comes with artificial additives, chemicals, and preservatives. Meanwhile, freeze-dried and dehydrated dog food are all-natural with fully or almost intact nutritional value.
Easy to Prepare
If you prefer to feed your dogs with raw food but find it difficult to handle and prepare, freeze-dried and dehydrated options are the next best thing. They keep all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, so it’s a very healthy option for your four-legged pal.
You can either give it straight from the bag or take an extra couple of minutes to make the meal even tastier. That might sound like you have to plan, but it takes significantly less time than a homemade meal, and it’s just as tasty.
The Downsides: Dehydrated vs Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Here are the two most significant cons of both:
- Costly Diet — A package of freeze-aired dog food varies from $30–$50 for a one-pound bag. Dehydrated dog food is a little bit cheaper but still way more expensive than kibble. Just to make the math, a 30-pound bag of kibble that lasts for a month or two, depending on the diet and dog size, usually costs between $20–$50.
- Microbial pathogens — The meal might contain Salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria. That’s why you should always choose more reputable manufacturers. You need to ensure safe food for your furry bestie.
Which Is Healthier: Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated?
Considering all facts above, we have to say that freeze-dried food is healthier than dehydrated food. That’s mainly because the former keeps the nutrients intact, and you can almost always give it to your dog straight without heating or boiling the food.
Some dog parents even report that this diet showed better digestion, improved skin, coat, and energy levels. Still, that’s not scientifically proven.
But that doesn’t diminish the benefits of dehydrated food. Still, some dogs prefer the kibble’s crunchiness, especially if it’s Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food.
Remember that no one dog food is best for all. In the end, it’s all about a balanced diet, just like for us. Whatever food you choose, ensure to follow the dog feeding chart. Pick what’s best for your dog and your budget. After all, healthier options like dehydrated vs freeze-dried dog food are expensive, and not everyone can afford them.
High-quality food promotes health, but there’s more to it than that. Love, devotion, and spending quality time with your dog can benefit both of you.