Here’s What To Know About Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Is freeze-dried dog food raw? 🥩

freeze-dried dog foods
Amazon, Chewy

You may have heard of freeze-dried dog food and wondered what it is and if it’s safe to feed your pup.

We spoke to Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian with Hepper, and Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinary journalist and veterinarian with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, to find out what to know about freeze-dried dog food.

Plus, here are some of our top picks for freeze-dried dog food:

Is all freeze-dried dog food raw?

All freeze-dried dog food is raw. It’s made by freezing and dehydrating raw products, like meat, to help the food last longer and make it easy to store.

“Freeze-dried dog food is raw food that has been frozen and dehydrated so that it is shelf-stable,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo. “This makes it a more convenient option for those that want to feed a raw diet, since it doesn’t have to be stored in the freezer.”

Is freeze-dried food good for dogs?

Freeze-dried dog food can be a good option for pet parents who are interested in feeding their pets raw food but want a safer or more convenient option.

“What's nice about freeze-dried food is that the moisture has been removed, making the risks of exposure to pathogens that are typically associated with raw food lower than traditional raw food in many cases; however, it still retains all the nutrient benefits of raw food,” Dr. Wooten told The Dodo.

But there are still some risks to feeding your pup freeze-dried food. “Freeze-dried food is raw, so there are still some risks associated with bacteria and other pathogens,” Dr. Wooten said.

According to Dr. Bonk, if the freeze-dried food doesn’t go through a pasteurization process, it can be contaminated with bacteria, such as E. coli.

Because of the possibility of contamination, some types of dogs shouldn’t eat freeze-dried food. If your dog’s sick, having chemotherapy or taking immunosuppressive drugs (or if you have a compromised immune system), don’t give freeze-dried or raw food to him. Puppies also shouldn’t be fed raw food because their immune systems aren’t fully developed yet.

Freeze dried food also tends to be more pricey than regular kibble or canned food, so you should keep that in mind if you’re planning to make freeze-dried food a normal part of your dog’s diet.

Benefits of freeze-dried dog food

According to Dr. Bonk, “Freeze-dried dog food is less processed than commercial kibble that is cooked and pressed, so most believe that it is a more nutritious option.”

Some of the potential health benefits of freeze-dried dog food include:

  • Shinier coat
  • Healthier skin
  • Better bone and joint health
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Smaller stools
  • Fewer allergic reactions

And since freeze-dried food is technically still raw, your dog gets the same benefits from freeze-dried food as he would get from raw food. Plus, since it’s dried out, you have a smaller chance of encountering bacteria that can make your pup (and you) sick.

Best freeze-dried dog food

When picking out freeze-dried food for your dog, be sure to check that it’s complete and balanced.

“To be fed as an exclusive diet (i.e., the dog isn't eating kibble), the food needs to be AAFCO-certified to be complete and balanced for all life stages to avoid nutritional imbalances, which is one of the risks of feeding non-kibble diets,” Dr. Wooten said.

(Some of the below recipes are grain-free, so talk to your vet before feeding them to your pup because grain-free dog food should only be fed to dogs with grain allergies or intolerances. Or be sure to mix them with other food.)

INSTINCT Freeze-Dried Raw Meals Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food, 25-oz bag -

This freeze-dried dog food contains 85 percent chicken to give your pup lots of protein, plus non-GMO fruits and vegetables to support your dog’s muscles, skin and coat.

Best freeze-dried dog food patties: Stella & Chewy's Surf 'N Turf Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

These Surf ‘N Turf patties are made with grass-fed beef with no antibiotics and wild salmon. It also includes 100 percent organic fruits and vegetables and probiotics to help digestion for pups with sensitive stomachs.

Best freeze-dried dog treats: Wag Freeze-Dried Raw Single Ingredient Dog Treats Chicken Breast

These treats are made with only one ingredient: 100 percent real chicken. Since they have a single ingredient, they’re perfect for pups who have food allergies or who are on limited-ingredient diets. There are no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives added.

Best freeze-dried kibble toppers: Stella & Chewy's Stella's Super Beef Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper

This topper is great for picky eaters. You can add the freeze-dried pieces to your pup’s regular dog food to make it tastier for him and add additional nutrients. The topper’s made with 95 percent grass-fed beef that’s super healthy.

If you’re interested in trying out raw food for your pup, try one of these awesome freeze-dried options as a safer and more convenient alternative.

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