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Freeze-dried raw dog food is a definite trend these days. Why? Freeze-drying preserves essential nutrients in raw food ingredients, producing a shelf-stable and lightweight dog food product. Whereas most kibble is baked and loses some nutrients in the baking process.
So, many consumers think it’s a healthier option vs commercial kibble if they want the healthiest ingredients without having to store dog food in their fridge or freezer. Our freeze-dried dog food reviews give you our top picks, as well as information about the questionable safety of raw dog food.
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We chose several different freeze-dried raw dog food types to help you choose the best kind for your furry friend’s preferences. If you’re interested in dog treat options, check out our reviews of the best freeze-dried dog treats to see our top picks.
Nulo freeze-dried dog food formulas contain at least 80% meat, organs, and bone, along with real fruits and veggies. This high-quality food that’s made in a USDA-inspected facility comes in five recipes: beef, duck, lamb, salmon, and turkey. It’s free of grains, such as wheat, rice, corn, barley, and oats. It also includes probiotics to help food-sensitive dogs digest their food better and maintain a healthy gut.
You can sprinkle some on top of your pup’s kibble or use it as a stand-alone meal. Some customers complained about the food being crushed from delivery or that their dogs didn’t like it, but a majority said their dogs loved the food.
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These protein-rich patties include at least 85% meat, organs, and bone — all animal proteins are grass-fed, cage-free, or wild-caught. Each freeze-dried recipe also includes organic fruits and vegetables. The ingredients are all-natural and minimally processed and enhanced with taurine, probiotics, and antioxidants.
Stella & Chewy’s offers a wide variety of patties: chicken, beef, duck, lamb, pork, turkey, venison, rabbit, salmon and beef, and more. They even have freeze-dried patties for puppies. Stella & Chewy’s also has freeze-dried dinner morsels, meal mixers, treats, and a blend of freeze-dried raw-coated kibble with freeze-dried raw chunks.
- 1.56 lb bag (chicken):
Primal is another highly-rated company that makes freeze-dried dog food. All of their meats are antibiotic and steroid-free without added hormones. Their all-natural nuggets are protein-rich (containing at least 80% of meat, organs, and bone) and include organic fruits and veggies. They’re also free from grains, gluten, corn, wheat, and soy. All products are made in the U.S. Primal also carries freeze-dried formulas.
- 14 oz bag:
Merrick is a high-quality manufacturer of freeze-dried dog food. This chicken and salmon formula for puppies includes pieces of freeze-dried raw dog food and raw-coated kibble. This food is complete and balanced for a growing puppy’s needs with a mix of proteins, healthy grains, vitamins, and minerals. It also includes high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and omega-6 and 3 fatty acids for skin and coat health.
- 10 lb bag:
If you only want to mix freeze-dried raw dog food with your pup’s kibble, you may want to consider Instinct Rawboost Mixers. These all-natural freeze-dried dog food toppers are available in beef, chicken, and lamb and are made in the U.S. All animal ingredients are responsibly sourced, and all fruits and vegetables are non-GMO.
Instinct is one of the cheapest freeze-dried dog food brands you’ll find, but they don’t skimp on quality. They also offer freeze-dried meals, a formula of kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw chunks, raw-coated kibble formulas, and freeze-dried cat food options.
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Although the following brands didn’t make our top picks for best freeze-dried raw dog foods, they’re also excellent choices for high-quality dog food.
BIXBI Freeze-Dried Rawbble
BiXBI’s freeze-dried Rawbble dog food is a high-quality option for dogs on a raw food diet, or you can use it as a topper or treat. Every recipe includes 80-98% fresh meat, organs, and bone and contains no added hormones or antibiotics. It comes in three sizes: 4.5, 12, or 26 ounces.
Nature’s Blend Dr. Marty’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food is a nutrition-packed formula that’s all-natural and free of fillers and artificial preservatives. This formula blends a variety of meats (turkey, beef, salmon, duck, beef and turkey liver, and turkey heart) with fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a popular choice for many dog owners. While the price on Amazon (see below) is extremely expensive, you can find it at a much more reasonable price on Dr. Marty’s website.
- 16 oz bag:
Orijen offers three all-natural freeze-dried formulas that contain 90% animal ingredients (meat, organs, cartilage, and bone), 10% vegetables and fruits, along with vitamins and minerals. Like many other freeze-dried dog food products, Orijen’s are grain-free. The Original formula includes free-run chicken and turkey, cage-free eggs, and wild-caught fish. They also have Exotic Meats and Beef formulas.
- 1 lb bag:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some things we’re asked often when it comes to freeze-dried dog food.
There’s some controversy over the safety of freeze-dried pet food and treats. Raw diets are a growing trend in the dog food industry (particularly freeze-dried food and treats), but the concern is that raw foods, especially meats, can be contaminated with bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. And the freeze-drying process doesn’t normally involve cooking meat before freeze-drying it.
However, the best freeze-dried dog food and treats manufacturers use high-pressure processing (HPP), a pasteurization process used to eliminate bacteria before the freeze-drying process.
Still, the FDA and major veterinary organizations advocate strongly against raw food diets for dogs, so we suggest you speak with your vet before feeding your dog raw or freeze-dried food.
Do you have to add water to freeze-dried dog food?
Although you can give your dog a small chunk without rehydrating it as a treat, most freeze-dried dog food is best rehydrated with water before giving it to your pup for several reasons. Not only does it help your dog stay hydrated. It’s more filling and helps them digest the food better.
Depending on the product, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes to rehydrate. Rehydration adds water to your dog’s diet and makes the food more palatable and easier to digest.
Is freeze-dried dog food better than kibble?
It depends on your dog. There are pros and cons to any doggy diet and freeze-dried is no exception. However, the process of freeze-drying dog food preserves more of the natural nutrition and is considered more “pure” than processed kibbles or other types of cooked food.
Can you mix freeze-dried raw with kibble?
The answer to this is somewhat complicated and controversial. Some say that adding kibble (which has starch in it) interferes with the benefits of the raw diet. While others encourage having a healthy balance of the two. Talk to your vet to discuss your dog’s health situation and whether or not it’s a good idea. It may be a way to help stretch your dollar since raw food is more expensive than diet, but you want to make sure you aren’t wasting your money either.
Is dehydrated raw dog food the same as freeze-dried raw dog food? Technically, no. However, many people often call freeze-dried dog food dehydrated dog food. The difference comes down to how the raw food is processed — it’s either freeze-dried or air-dried. Freeze drying removes about 98%-99% of moisture, while air drying removes about 90%-95%. While both methods help to preserve nutrients, some believe that freeze drying is slightly better.
What’s the best dehydrated dog food? We’ve reviewed several brands that offer air-dried dog food and have chosen Unkibble by Spot & Tango as our top pick. Our runner-up is Sundays For Dogs. Both are convenient, shelf-stable alternatives to commercial kibble. And both are made with all-natural ingredients.
Can you freeze dry dog food yourself?
You can if you have a freeze dryer; however, they’re super expensive. Otherwise, you’re better off purchasing a freeze-dried dog food product.
If you’re not sure freeze-dried raw food is ideal for your pup, we encourage you to learn more about other healthy dog food options. One popular choice for health-conscious pet parents is fresh, all-natural dog food. See our reviews of the best fresh meal dog food delivery companies, including our top picks for services that can personalize your dog’s food with fresh, whole-food ingredients. This can be an excellent alternative to raw food, as long as freezer and fridge space aren’t an issue for you.Tagged With: Comparison