What's the Difference Between Raw, Dehydrated, Freeze Dried, and Air Dried Dog Food, Anyway?

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What's the Difference Between Raw, Dehydrated, Freeze Dried, and Air Dried Dog Food, Anyway?
Confused by the options out there? We explain dog food prep styles so you can decide what’s best for your pup!

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Raw dog food
Raw dog food is fresh food in its natural state, i.e. uncooked and unprocessed. Proponents of this diet believe that dogs thrive by eating what canines ate before they were domesticated—largely raw meat and no grains. Raw muscle meat forms the foundation of a raw food diet. Added organ meat provides the multi-vitamins, ground bone offers calcium, and fresh vegetables like kale or broccoli provide the veg dogs would have gotten from the stomach of the prey animals they consumed. Raw dog food is frequently frozen—just defrost to feed your dog.

Recommendation:
Try Primal’s Raw Frozen Mixes, made of organic raw meat (chicken, lamb, sardine, beef or turkey) and incorporating fresh ground bone for calcium and certified organic produce for additional fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Find it at primalpetfoods.com.

Dehydrated raw dog food
Raw food can also be dehydrated. Dehydration involves a slow, gentle process of using warm air to remove water or moisture from raw ingredients to preserve them. It is free of artificial preservatives and still has nutrients and enzymes intact. Dehydrated dog food offers the benefits of a raw diet with none of the defrosting hassle, making it ideal for camping or travelling, as dehydrated food is lighter and more nutrient dense than frozen raw, and does not require refrigeration.

Recommendation:

Try Gutsy, an awesome all natural, grain-free, gently dehydrated dog food. It’s made from antibiotic and hormone-free chicken or salmon and trout, plus organic fruits and vegetables. Bonus: it contains ingredients specifically designed for preventative and protective gut health so it’s great for your dog’s digestion. Find it at crumps.ca.

 

We also love the convenience of Amore’s MEGA Morsels dehydrated dog food--just serve as is or add water to hydrate! Their nutritious recipes are available in a wide variety of protein sources, from human-grade chicken, beef and turkey to novel-protein-source kangaroo, perfect for dogs with allergies. The protein is mixed with veggies, salmon or olive oil, kelp and ground bone for a complete and balanced meal. Their free range meats are free of antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones and are bought directly from farms that have personally been checked by the owner. That's amore! amorepetfoods.com

Freeze Dried raw dog food
Freeze-drying, like dehydration, is a water removal process which is used to preserve perishable food. While dehydration uses warm air to remove moisture, however, freeze-drying works by a three step process: a freezing phase (lowering the temperature until all liquid in the product turns to solid), a primary drying/sublimation phase (reducing pressure to reduce the water in the material), and a secondary drying/absorption phase (raising the temperature to break the bonds between the material and water molecules). Freeze drying preserves more of the nutritional content of the food than dehydrating, as proteins, vitamins, and minerals stay intact due to freezing before drying.

Recommendation:
We love Primal Pet Food’s natural, raw freeze-dried formulas, such as the delicious duck, lamb, and rabbit nuggets! Check it out at primalpetfoods.com

Air Dried raw dog food
The process of air-drying food, while similar to dehydration, produces an extremely nutrient-dense food with scoop-and-serve convenience. Air-drying slowly and gently evaporates moisture from the raw ingredients, eliminating harmful pathogens while preserving vital nutrients, offering nutrition similar to a raw diet.

Recommendation:

Ziwi uses this gentle process to make nutrient-dense, glycerin and filler free, limited ingredient food and snacks—in their own facility no less, with all meats and fish sourced from New Zealand and no outsourced production! They provide higher organ/meat content, which means smaller serving sizes and a lower cost to feed. It comes ready-to-feed and stays shelf stable at room temperature, so no need to refrigerate or add water. Try their super-healthy air-dried mackerel and lamb & venison formulas, all of which are good for any breed or life stage! Available at ziwipets.com

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