6 Freeze-Dried Foods For Your Dog to Try · The Wildest

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6 of the Best Freeze-Dried Dog Foods For the Raw Curious

A veterinary nutritionist weighs in on how best to approach the diet plan.

by Sean Zucker
September 23, 2023
Large brown dog and Vital Essentials butcher cuts freeze dried dog food.
Courtesy of @life.with.pickles
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These days, a trendy topic you might hear around the dog park is raw-food diets. Pup parents are making the switch in hopes that it will boost their pup’s overall health by combatting allergies, increasing energy levels, and improving digestion. While there is certainly evidence of these benefits, others fear the possible risks involved with this style of eating — specifically, eating uncooked meat. And as someone who insisted all steak be well done for most of his life, I understand the hesitation.

But if you can get past the initial unconventional nature of the diet, there’s a lot to like about feeding your pup raw foods. According to theAmerican Kennel Club, raw diets may lead to shinier coats, healthier skin, healthier teeth, more energy, and smaller stools. A standard grocery list for meals would also include organ meats, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, dog-safe fresh fruits, and vegetables, as well as potentially yogurt or other dairies. Given that raw items are never cooked, they maintain more of their natural nutrients which can result in better health for your dog.

Most iterations of the diet, such as the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF) model, suggest a regimen that’s made up of 60 to 80 percent raw, meaty bones (such as poultry necks, wings, and backs) and 20 to 40 percent fruits and veggies, meat, eggs, and dairy, along with an abundance of supplements.

If that still sounds a bit intense, there’s another, more middle-ground option: freeze-dried food. Freeze-dried food is made of raw ingredients that are dehydrated at a low temperature. While there is a freezing step, a second vaporizing step removes ice crystals, resulting in food with zero risk of spoilage. This method preserves the nutritional value of the food, but because all moisture is removed, you need to add warm water to rehydrate the food before serving.

The whole science experiment-like process preserves the food at its freshest, which makes it a great choice for your pup. Veterinary nutritionist Dr. Sally Perea adds that the freeze-drying process can make raw foods easier to handle. Plus, freeze-dried dog food is slightly more convenient than a traditional raw diet, with a much longer shelf life. 

That being said, Dr. Perea does warn that this diet still has some risk of bacteria. “Freeze-drying is a process that can make raw foods easier to handle and feed but it is not considered a kill step to inactivate microorganisms on foods,” she explains. With this in mind, it’s important to buy from reputable brands for the most nutritional benefits and minimal threat of drawbacks. Below, six of our favorites.

Disclaimer alert: This article is here to share information. But, much like pineapple on pizza, the topic may be controversial. Meaning, not all vets or pet professionals agree. Because every pet is a unique weirdo with specific needs. So, talk things over with your vet when making decisions, and use your best judgment (about both your pet’s health and pizza toppings).

bixbi Rawbble freeze dried food

From duck to lamb, BIXBI’s Rawbble line offers pups freeze-dried versions of all their favorite proteins. Its chicken recipe features 98 percent meat, bones, and organs for a clean intake of nutrients. But Dr. Perea notes that the meat base isn’t nearly as important as how it uniquely impacts the dogs themselves.

“Individual raw material qualities can vary so it is difficult to assess based on ingredient name alone. I would look to how the diet performs for the pet and measures such as protein digestibility if the manufacturer can supply this information,” she says. To its credit, BIXBI’s minimally processed Rawbble has been independently certified for 95 percent protein digestibility.

orijen freeze dried medallions

More than any specific dieting trend, Dr. Perea confirms that what is most impactful to a dog’s health is balance. The Orijen Freeze-dried Medallions seemingly took this stance to heart by opting for a slew of hearty ingredients, especially proteins. Its base includes two forms of poultry in turkey and chicken, as well as a duo of fish in herring and flounder. Not to mention, there are some eggs sprinkled in for some extra protein in case your pup needs to bulk up before the gym.

little hunter freeze dried food

For pet parents who have already made the full-fledged switch to raw diets, freeze-dried options can still provide value — namely for travel. Dr. Perea tends to agree. “One of the main benefits of freeze-dried is that it provides a good alternative when traveling. It is much easier to transport and cold storage is not required,” she says. Little Hunter’s version packs tiny nuggets of 90 percent humanely sourced rabbit and 10 percent fresh fruits and veggies in what is essentially a stylized Ziplock bag. Ultimately, it’s as easy to ride or fly with as a bag of peanuts.

freeze dried Get Joy dog food

“When we discuss nutritional benefits or drawbacks, I would focus more on high-quality ingredients and the use of beneficial nutrients, like prebiotics or antioxidants, which have the biggest influence on things such as digestibility, urinary health, and overall well-being,” says Dr. Perea. Thanks to its team of veterinary nutritionists who devise each food’s formula, Get Joy has got this covered. Its freeze-dried beef recipe is particularly committed to improving gut health with minimal ingredients, including beef, beef liver, and quinoa.

halo freeze dried food

Now, with all these different variations of freeze-dried food with alternating proteins, it would be fair to wonder which base is the best one for your pup. Dr. Perea advises pet parents not to fret over this dilemma because each of the big ones is equally beneficial. “Both beef and poultry are good sources of protein and essential amino acids. I don’t have a preference over one in general,” she says. Halo opts for beef and beef organs here with 100 percent of each coming from genuine animal sources and no artificial fillers.

Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker is a writer whose work has been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He has an adopted Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and whose behavioral issues rival his own.

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