The Best Freeze-Dried Pet Food & Treats Buyer's Guide

Written by: Only Natural Pet Team

Freeze-dried pet food is a relatively new addition to the wide array of pet foods available today. And in recent years, it has become a popular choice with a growing number of pet owners. But what exactly is freeze-dried pet food? And is it a good choice for your dog or cat?

In this article, we'll explain what freeze-dried pet food is so you can decide whether or not it's right for your pet. We'll also share some tips to help you choose a high-quality freeze-dried diet.

What Is Freeze-Dried Pet Food?

Freeze-dried pet food is a safe, healthy, lightweight, and convenient type of pet food that's formulated to fulfill your pet's nutritional needs. It is ideal for pet owners who prefer to feed a raw diet, but are unable to do so for a variety of reasons. These include cost, safety concerns, and time constraints.

Freeze-drying is a process in which water is removed from raw or cooked ingredients such as meat, fruits, and vegetables. The moisture contained in the foods is removed via a 3-step process. This sets freeze-dried pet food apart from dehydrated pet food, which is produced by using hot air to remove moisture.

Here's a brief explanation of the 3-step freeze-drying process:

First, the food is carefully arranged in the dryer and frozen at a very low temperature. This is done to separate the water molecules from the food while preserving its nutritional content.

The second and third steps – absorption and sublimation – occur simultaneously. Warm air is blown around the food to absorb moisture while a vacuum pump extracts air pressure from inside the machine to convert the water molecules into vapor. It can take several days to remove sufficient moisture from the food. Finally, the food is specially packaged and sealed into an airtight container to prevent spoilage.

Fun fact: Up to 99% of the water contained in food is removed during the freeze-drying process.

What Are the Benefits of Freeze-Dried Pet Food?

Now you know how freeze-dried pet food is produced, let's take a look at a few of the benefits it provides.

Safe and Minimally Processed

High-quality freeze-dried pet foods are minimally processed and made with safe, natural ingredients. We recommend choosing a freeze-dried pet food that's processed in the USA or Canada. It's also important to choose a product that's free from chemical additives.

The best freeze-dried pet foods are made with premium ingredients such as grass-fed meat and organic vegetables. To enhance food safety, many products are also treated with high-pressure pasteurization prior to the freeze-drying process.

Shelf-Stable

Unopened packages of freeze-dried pet food are considered shelf-stable, and can be stored for long periods of time. Because nearly all water content is removed from the food, microbial activity that leads to spoilage is suspended.

Retains Nutrients

Freeze-drying does not require extreme heat so the food's nutritional content is preserved. For this reason, freeze-dried pet food retains more nutrients than dehydrated food. In fact, freeze-dried pet food retains virtually all the essential vitamins, proteins, trace minerals, nutrients, enzymes, and probiotics contained in foods in their natural, organic state.

Palatable

Many pets find freeze-dried pet food more palatable than dry food. It's also easy to digest, and can be served in a variety of different ways to keep your pet interested.

Convenient

Freeze-dried pet food is lightweight and portable. It requires very little storage space in your home, and can be easily carried with you on camping trips or vacations.

Types of Freeze-Dried Pet Food

So far in this article, we've explained what freeze-dried pet food is and highlighted a few of its key benefits. In this section, we'll take a look at some of the different types of freeze-dried pet foods available.

Patties

Raw meat can be ground and mixed with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables to form patties which are then freeze-dried. Stella & Chewy's Raw Dinners Freeze-Dried Dog Food and Stella & Chewy's Raw Dinners Freeze-Dried Cat Food are tasty, all-natural, complete & balanced formulas that come in a shelf-stable, freeze-dried patty format. And if your pet wants more variety there are plenty of flavors to choose from, including Chewy's Chicken, Duck Duck Goose, Surf N' Turf, and Dandy Lamb. The product range is grain-free and formulated with high quality meat and superfoods, including broccoli, cranberries, carrots, kale, and parsley.

Nuggets

Freeze-dried pet food is also available in the form of small, bite-sized nuggets. Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Nuggets Dog Food and Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Nuggets Cat Food is made with a wide range of tasty and nutritious proteins, including Chicken, Pork, Lamb, Beef, Turkey & Sardine, and Venison. Each product is grain and gluten-free, and contains a healthy blend of meat, organs, bones, organic produce, and essential nutrients.

Meal Toppers

Freeze-dried meal toppers are packed full of nutrients, and make an excellent addition to a dry food diet. Only Natural Pet Freeze Dried RawNibs are ideal for topping kibble or feeding as a complete meal. The product range features a wide variety of flavors with added probiotics to aid digestion.

Treats

If you're looking for healthier treat options for your pet, check out the wide variety of freeze-dried treats on offer. Only Natural Pet All Meat Bites and Freeze-Dried Cat Treats are made from high quality, single ingredients that are freeze-dried for optimal nutrition. You can choose from a number of proteins all tasty freeze-dried treats made from single protein sources.

Looking for something a little different to tickle your pet's taste buds? Check out the tasty freeze-dried treat options from Vital Essentials. Choose from Bully Sticks made from 100% beef pizzle, Alaskan Salmon Rings, Chicken Hearts, or Turkey Fries.

How to Feed Your Pet a Freeze-Dried Diet

Ready to feed your pet freeze-dried? In this final section of the article, we'll provide some practical tips.

Rehydrate with Water

Adding water to freeze-dried pet food helps bulk it up and improves the texture. If your pet loves wet food, or if you'd like to increase their daily water intake, rehydrating freeze-dried pet food is the way to go. This method is even better for growing puppies and kittens.

Feed Alone as a Meal or Treat

You can feed your pet freeze-dried food as a meal or as a treat to reward good behavior. Either way, it's wholesome, tasty, and nourishing for your pet.

Mixed into Dry or Raw Food

Freeze-dried pet food is perfect as a meal topper or mixer. It can also be used to supplement a dry food diet or complement a raw food diet.

Conclusion

Freeze-dried pet food is an excellent choice If you're looking for a lightweight, minimally processed, healthy, and tasty food that will provide your pet with a wide array of nutrients and vitamins. The freeze-drying process reduces moisture content in food by up to 99% without affecting the nutritional value. It's also versatile, palatable, shelf-stable, and won't take up much space in your pantry.

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