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Freeze-Dried Dog Food 101: Here's what to know about feeding your dog raw food

June 30, 2023

What’s the hubbub about freeze-dried dog food and is it worth a try?

Pet parents are buzzing about freeze-dried dog food because they see it as a safer, more convenient alternative to serving raw meat. Unlike the heat processing used for kibble and canned entrees, flash-freezing keeps all the nutrients naturally found in raw meat. Then after a quick rehydrating process, your dog enjoys a meaty portion that has the structure, flavor and nutrient profile of raw meat.

If you’re intrigued and want to learn more about how freeze-dried dog food is made, the pros and cons and whether it’s right your dog, this quick guide will cover your core questions.

What is freeze-dried dog food, and how is it made?

As the name suggests, freeze-dried dog food is prepared through a flash-freezing process. When the raw meat freezes, an application of high pressure converts the ice into water vapor, which exits through a vacuum chamber. The result is a lightweight, shelf-stable product that retains the structure, flavor and nutrients of raw meat.

So why don’t we use dehydrated to describe freeze-dried dog food? While both are similar in concept, dehydration uses an entirely different process from freeze-drying and achieves different results.

  • Dehydration applies heat to pull moisture from the protein, which results in chemical changes to its composition, while reducing the A and C vitamin content, and in some cases, the B vitamins and certain minerals.
  • Freeze-drying is a low-temperature method for preserving food, so it doesn’t alter the composition of the meat and none of the nutrients are lost.

Is it Freeze-dried dog food good for my dog? Why should I feed it to them?

In recent years, raw meat diets, which offer dogs the closest approximation to a natural canid diet, gained traction in pet circles. Raw meat is unprocessed and provides all the textures and aromas that dogs love, while retaining all the essential nutrients as none are lost in the cooking process. Advocates of raw feeding touted its slate of health benefits, including healthier skin and coat, improved dental health, and stronger immune function.

However, sourcing, refrigerating, and portioning raw meat can be inconvenient for most pet parents, especially when trying to ensure that their pets receive balanced nutrition from other ingredients.

Freeze-dried dog food: The convenient raw food solution

This is where freeze-dried dog food comes in. This protein source offers the best of both worlds, providing dogs with minimally processed, nutrient-dense meaty bites, but in a format that is just as convenient as kibble.

Introducing freeze-dried dog food into a dog’s diet can provide an enriching mealtime experience. The aromas and textures of raw feeding stimulates their senses, while the variety of freeze-dried options offers a broader range of micronutrients that benefit their overall health.

Bottom-line: Freeze-dried dog food offers the benefits raw feeding without the inconvenience and potential health risks associated with handling and preparing raw meat.

Pros and cons of freeze-dried dog food

When you’re evaluating the best food sources for your dog, these are some of the top considerations for serving your dog freeze-dried food.

Convenience: Freeze-dried is just as convenient as kibble because it’s shelf-stable. There’s no need to source fresh meat and sacrifice the limited real estate in your fridge or freezer. At the same time, freeze-dried dog food travels well, making it the perfect take-along meal for your pet!

Quality: Unlike homemade raw diets, freeze-dried takes the guesswork out of feeding your dog balanced nutrition. Instead of having to plan, source and portion the right combination of ingredients, a freeze-dried option from a high-quality brand assures you of providing all the core nutrients your dog needs.

Peace of mind: The dry surfaces of freeze-dried meats means that pathogens and bacteria don’t have an environment to proliferate. Many brands take the added step of pasteurizing. If anyone in your household is high-risk for foodborne illnesses, freeze-dried provides a safer alternative to raw.

Flavor: Dogs love the textures and flavors of meat in its natural state. If you want to recreate the experience of raw meat, rehydrating a serving of freeze-dried takes no more than three minutes!

Flexibility: Freeze-dried can be served in many ways, as a stand-alone entrée, as a mix-in to enhance your dog’s favorite kibble or offered as a special treat.

Cost: Freeze-dried does have a higher price point than canned food and kibble, which can make it cost-prohibitive for budget-conscious pet parents. Costs, however, are more affordable than a raw diet — especially when you weigh the value of saving time and storage space and reducing waste.

What’s the way to serve freeze-dried dog food to your pet?

Want to try feeding freeze-dried dog food to your dog? Freeze-dried dog food is the perfect addition to expand your Full Circle Feeding lineup. To achieve the full benefits, choose a different protein source each time you buy, rotating between chicken, beef or pork. Change up the feeding methods to make mealtimes exciting for your dog, by serving it as an entrée, a topper or a special high-value treat.

NutriSource Freeze Dried Element Series

Dogs are truly in their element when you serve up a hearty meal packed with animal protein. As they can instinctively surmise, meat provides what their bodies need to thrive. When you feed your pet a high-quality freeze-dried diet, you’ll provide their body with the full nutrient profile that’s natural to the source. NutriSource Freeze Dried Element Series starts with premium-sourced meat that entices their appetites. And only Element Series recipes perfect nature’s intention with cutting-edge nutritional concepts that restore gut health and optimize digestion of this high-protein diet.

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