Best Dehydrated Raw Dog Food for 2021 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]

best dehydrated raw dog food

We go to considerable lengths for our pets, and always have; those animals that find themselves the preferred companions of human beings have historically benefited from comforts and are almost on par with those of the humans themselves. Indeed, there are few lengths to which humans have not gone to show their affection and concern for pets of one kind or another; any luxury one might care to name for a human has, in some way, been reproduced for pets as well. 

Dogs are arguably the primary recipients of this outpouring of affection; it goes well with their natural inclinations to attach themselves to humans and the incredible versatility of which their species is possessed, making them not only realistic house pets but also able to contribute to society in a number of ways. More important than either of these, dogs are among the few species in which we humans find our love not to be unilateral; communicating with dogs is still far from an exact science, but there is no denying that dogs understand, share, and return our affection and commitment. 

This special relationship between dogs and mankind has driven us to produce an astonishing array of accessories exclusively for the dogs’ enjoyment; there are toys, games, and treats of every possible description, all intended to let you give your pet the best day ever any day you want. 

Dogs often live at least as well as their owners, enjoying pet houses for inclement weather, beds for those who like their dogs indoors, lint rollers for those pets that don’t like to stay out of their owner’s beds – the list goes on and on, and leaves no one in any doubt about how much we are ready to do to keep our dogs happy. 

Before we occupy ourselves too thoroughly with whether or not our pets are enjoying themselves, we also need to look after their health – it is not only unproductive but borderline unconscionable to keep a dog as a pet without ensuring that it has the best medical care one can afford to give it, whether for routine medications or to treat an injury or illness. 

People who might try to rely on their own immune systems and time’s healing powers to overcome a human illness have no qualms about laying out respectable sums of money for medication for their dogs; indeed, that such medication was ever developed is a heartening display of how much humans have grown to care for their dogs over the years. 

Any doctor can tell you that a healthy body isn’t just the one that takes the right medicine when sick; health involves a commitment to one’s diet and exercise as well and avoiding toxic influences that might cause one’s body to degenerate prematurely. Dogs are no different in that regard, and need much more than to be given the correct pill when they seem to be under the weather; your dog should be getting a high-quality healthy lifestyle, not just good health care. 

If you’re looking for a place to start off a healthy lifestyle for your dog, one of the simplest and most effective starting points to be found is in its diet. Minimizing the intake of excess calories or harmful elements is a staple of nearly any diet plan for humans, and the same method has been proven to work on dogs as well. 

To properly calibrate a diet for your dog, consider what kind of food they are eating at the moment; if it has a package, check it carefully for nutrition facts or advice about how to ease into or out of having it in your dog’s meals. Unpackaged food, such as raw meat or table scraps, can be easily calculated by using one of many nutrition trackers online and entering the values for ordinary human food of the same kind and weight. 

Next, consider what options you might have available for getting your dog to adopt healthier eating habits. The most common choice among dog owners is using a commercially produced kibble, which comes in large packages and is relatively easy to measure out; the main downside is the harsh cooking or maceration process that is used to create it, leaving a decidedly lower proportion of nutrients to mass in the finished product. 

Raw meat is often taken as the organic route, and with good reason; from farm to bowl is the way to go if you want your pet to have minimal exposure to artificial flavoring and hormones. Keep in mind, though, that this method means using either a considerable amount of freezer space or only keeping enough food in stock for a short period of time; meat spoils relatively quickly, and despite their better adapted digestive system, dogs should not be allowed to eat it once it has gone bad. 

Comparison Table

PRODUCT FEATURES LATEST PRICE
1. Instinct Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Frozen Raw Bites
Instinct Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Frozen Raw Bites
  • Six-pound bag
  • Kibble kernels
  • Beef based recipe
  • Should be kept frozen
Check Price
2. Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Patties
Stella & Chewy's Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Patties
  • 25-ounce bag
  • Individual patties
  • 95 percent of meat content
  • Chicken and produce recipe
Check Price
3. Primal Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Chicken Formula Nuggets
Primal Chicken Formula Grain-Free Raw Nuggets
  • Individual patties
  • 14-ounce bag
  • Chicken based formula
  • Makes up to three pounds of food when rehydrated
Check Price
4. Vital Essentials Beef Entree Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs
Vital Essentials Beef Entree Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs
  • One pound bag
  • Beef recipe
  • Freeze-dried
  • Can be either a topper or a full meal
Check Price
5. TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Beef Bonanza
TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Beef Bonanza
  • Beef recipe
  • Freeze-dried
  • 99 percent meat
  • 14-ounce bag
Check Price
6. Sojos Complete Adult Beef Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Recipe
best freeze dried raw dog food
  • Seven-pound bag
  • Rehydration required
  • Beef and vegetable-based recipe
  • Creates up to five pounds of food per one pound of mix
Check Price
7. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Real Raw Beef Recipe
Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Real Raw Beef Recipe
  • 12.5-ounce bag
  • Beef recipe
  • No rehydration required
  • Deboned
Check Price
8. Only Natural Pet RawNibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Beef & Tripe Dog Food
Only Natural Pet RawNibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Beef & Tripe
  • Ten-ounce bag
  • Beef and vegetable recipe
  • Freeze-dried
  • No rehydration required
Check Price
9. I And Love And You Stir & Boom Boom Ba Raw Grain-Free Dehydrated Beef Dinner
I and Love and You Stir & Boom Boom Ba Raw  Grain-Free Dehydrated Beef Dinner
  • Air-dried
  • Beef and vegetable recipe
  • 1.5-pound bag
  • Rehydration required
Check Price
10. Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Puppy Recipe With Freeze-Dried Turkey
Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Puppy Recipe with Freeze-Dried Turkey
  • Freeze-dried
  • Ten-pound bag
  • Turkey meat
  • Intended for puppies
Check Price

You can circumvent both the threat of spoiling and the low nutritional content by switching to dehydrated pet food. Dehydrated food nuggets have none of the moisture of raw meat, making them practically immune to spoilage – the microbes that cause the meat to decay can not function, or in many cases survive, without some liquid around them. 

Ingredients for a dehydrated kibble may be ground up just like lower-quality cooked kibble, but instead of pasteurizing them for preservation, they are instead dried out into compact bits for bagging. This ensures that they retain an even consistency and all their nutritional content, without taking up any more room than regular kibble. 

Like the rest of the pet world, you are virtually certain to find an enormous variety of dehydrated kibbles on the market, with different bags or boxes catering to every breed, size, age, and condition a dog might display. Even longtime pet owners can be left bemused by the spectrum of products on offer, but that’s no reason not to find the best option for your dog’s health; we’ve put together some of the best dehydrated kibble options out there to help you figure out what should be in your dog’s next meal.

Our Best Dehydrated Raw Dog Food Reviews and Comparisons

1.Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Patties

Stella & Chewy's Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Patties

Product Highlights

Everyone’s favorite mascot pair have appeared on scores of high-quality dog food and dog food supplements, earning them a reputation for being the go-to choice for a healthy and happy pet. They return once again with this new recipe featuring chicken, instead of their usual beef, to prove that it can be every bit as good. 

Features

  • 25-ounce bag
  • Individual patties
  • 95 percent of meat content
  • Chicken and produce recipe

What We Like About Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Patties

All ingredients in this meal are ethically sourced from organic or sustainable producers, including cage-free chicken and naturally grown produce. Not only can you buy with a clear conscience, but your dog is also guaranteed not to be getting any unnatural hormones or steroids added to their bowl. 

What We Don’t Like About Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Patties

The change from the primarily beef or lamb recipes that Stella & Chewy usually use leaves these patties with relatively low energy and a different taste than your dog might be used to. Patties are bigger than kibble, as a rule, and you may find it hard to measure properly for the first few days. 

PROS

  • Trusted seller
  • Ethically sourced ingredients
  • Patties are easy to cut for treats or smaller portions
  • Extra sanitation measures in manufacturing
  • Can be served with or without rehydration

CONS

  • Many require some grinding or crumbling for the desired portion size
  • Uses less popular chicken instead of beef or game animals

2. Primal Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Chicken Formula Nuggets

Primal Chicken Formula Grain-Free Raw Nuggets

Product Highlights

This product is made with a number of amino acids and digestive enzymes that most commercial foods lack, giving your dog a much needed nutritional boost with high-grade nutrients that it might otherwise not get. 

Features

  • Individual patties
  • 14-ounce bag
  • Chicken based formula
  • Makes up to three pounds of food when rehydrated

What We Like About Primal Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Chicken Formula Nuggets

You get considerably more than you bargained for with this bag – with just some water and a little waiting, a few small nuggets can give your dog a full meal that is easy to chew and digest. Added Omega-3 and fatty acids make it a great way to address some health concerns that frequently get overlooked. 

What We Don’t Like About Primal Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Chicken Formula Nuggets

These patties require rehydration to be used properly, adding time and mess to every mealtime. Additionally, they contain added vitamin boosters – while they are beneficial to the dog, there are many pet owners that favor an all-natural approach. 

PROS

  • Turns into a considerable amount of food
  • Important nutrients added
  • Organic ingredients
  • Resealable bag
  • USDA certified

CONS

  • Rehydration required
  • Additional nutrients artificially added

3. Instinct  Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Frozen Raw Bites

Instinct Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Frozen Raw Bites

Product Highlights

There are plenty of products that include dehydrated food, but this choice lets you include the health benefits of dehydration with the tasty touch of true freshness by keeping the ingredients frozen until you put them in your shopping cart. 

Features

  • Six-pound bag
  • Kibble kernels
  • Beef based recipe
  • Should be kept frozen

What We Like About Instinct  Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Frozen Raw Bites

Almost every dehydration process works around the basic principle of making it too dry for harmful bacteria to survive. This product remains frozen until purchase, protecting your dog’s food from bacterial growth until they’re ready to eat. 

What We Don’t Like About Instinct  Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Frozen Raw Bites

Constant cold temperatures are a liability for any product that needs them to stay viable, and this one is no exception. You will need to check by smell to ensure that these kibbles are still good after as little as a night or two outside a freezer. 

PROS

  • Added guarantee of freshness
  • Large bag
  • The beef recipe includes more nutrient value
  • No genetically modified ingredients
  • Probiotic digestion booster included

CONS

  • Requires freezer space after purchasing
  • Can degrade in transit

4. Vital Essentials Beef Entree Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs

Vital Essentials Beef Entree Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs

Product Highlights

Not all the nutrition to be found in beef is in the muscles; people often overlook the considerable benefits to be had from consuming organ or bone tissue as well. This product makes heavy use of less-common tissues to give your dog all the benefits that natural prime beef has to offer. 

Features

  • One pound bag
  • Beef recipe
  • Freeze-dried
  • Can be either a topper or a full meal

What We Like About Vital Essentials Beef Entree Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs

Because it is freeze-dried, this product requires no refrigeration at all, and even a modest amount can still give your dog all that they need for a good meal. This is also a hugely versatile product – it can be used for all breeds and nearly all ages, and works like a treat, a meal of its own, or as a topper for something plainer. 

What We Don’t Like About Vital Essentials Beef Entree Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs

These bites present a less uniform constitution than one might find in solid meat kibble, making them more difficult on the dog’s digestion. If used to its full potential, you will likely find this food hard to keep in stock, as it does not come in particularly large bags. 

PROS

  • Versatile product
  • Uncommon vitamin sources
  • Suitable for all breeds
  • Can be used as a topper
  • Manufacturer exclusive drying process makes it cheaper and safer

CONS

  • Somewhat inferior to all-meat bites
  • Relatively small bag

5. TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Beef Bonanza

TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Beef Bonanza

Product Highlights

This dog food uses a combination of cheaper materials and nutrient-rich ingredients to give your dog the same value they would get from a more designer dog food for a lower cost per bag. 

Features

  • Beef recipe
  • Freeze-dried
  • 99 percent meat
  • 14-ounce bag

What We Like About TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Beef Bonanza

By using parts of the cow normally left out of the food, including hemoglobin-rich blood and bone marrow, this food provides competitive nutritional value at a lower cost than comparable dried dog food. Herring oil is used to make up the nutrient imbalance and give a number of peripheral health benefits sometimes ignored in other products. 

What We Don’t Like About TruDog Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Beef Bonanza

Of necessity, this food has been processed a great deal more than most dog foods are; it remains beneficial to the dog, but many pet owners are more inclined to the natural options instead. It also contains vitamin and mineral additives, another layer of an unnatural constitution that is off-putting to most. 

PROS

  • Relatively cheap
  • Strengthens peripheral systems like gums and coat
  • Fish oil added for increased Omega-3 content and flavor
  • Hypoallergenic formula 
  • Processed food is easier for dogs to digest

CONS

  • Far less natural a recipe than most pet owners prefer
  • Includes artificially added nutrients

6. Sojos Complete Adult Beef Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Recipe

best freeze dried raw dog food

Product Highlights

A dash of water can turn even a modicum of this product into a full meal for your dog, thanks to a proprietary recipe containing all essential nutrients and food groups sealed into one freeze-dried nugget for your convenience. 

Features

  • Seven-pound bag
  • Rehydration required
  • Beef and vegetable-based recipe
  • Creates up to five pounds of food per one pound of mix

What We Like About Sojos Complete Adult Beef Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Recipe

The efficiency you get in this one bag is hard to beat – one single pound of this recipe rehydrates into more than five pounds of dog meal, saving an enormous amount of space in your home. It contains a considerable serving of vegetables as well, including some that you don’t see much and whose nutritional values are often overlooked as a result. 

What We Don’t Like About Sojos Complete Adult Beef Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Recipe

Although it is quick and easy to do, there is no denying that you will need to rehydrate this product to serve it to our dog, giving it an added step and another chance to get messy in the process. If your dog has enough fiber or fruity sugars already, you may want to abandon the produce additions to choose something higher in protein. 

PROS

  • Large bag
  • Rehydrates quickly
  • Ethically sourced ingredients
  • Varied recipe
  • Contains no soy or genetically modified organisms

CONS

  • Rehydration required
  • Ancillary ingredients unnecessary for the dog

7. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Real Raw Beef Recipe

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Real Raw Beef Recipe

Product Highlights

These meal mixers put beef first on their ingredients list for a reason – Merrick believes that dogs should get the food they eat naturally, as naturally as how they would eat it. Not only does this food not contain grain, but it also steers clear of less common starches like beans or potatoes. 

Features

  • 12.5-ounce bag
  • Beef recipe
  • No rehydration required
  • Deboned 

What We Like About Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Real Raw Beef Recipe

This dog food takes a number of steps to make it more closely resemble the dog’s natural diet, including using no added starches or fillers and including wholesome deboned beef as the primary ingredient. Most foods opt for macerated meat content, not deboned, putting this option a step ahead of the rest in terms of minimal processing and quality of beef used. 

What We Don’t Like About Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Real Raw Beef Recipe

Using minimally processed meat means leaving a relatively high percentage of fat in the beef, which is transferred onto the dog’s meal. This product is also more vulnerable to moisture than other options, as rehydrating the meat will make it spoil instead of simply absorbing it as a macerated treat would. 

PROS

  • Beef treated with minimal processing
  • Vegetables to raise fiber content
  • Fruits for added natural sugar
  • Can be used as a training treat
  • Suitable for all breeds

CONS

  • Higher fat content than normal
  • Spoils quickly if dampened

8. Only Natural Pet RawNibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Beef & Tripe Dog Food

Only Natural Pet RawNibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Beef & Tripe

Product Highlights

Having both dogs and cats can be an exciting challenge, but feeding them both can take a lot of room and money. Now you can make fewer trips to shop for all your furry friends; this food is rated for both dogs and cats, so you’ll only need to make one purchase to supply both kinds of pets. 

Features

  • Ten-ounce bag
  • Beef and vegetable recipe
  • Freeze-dried
  • No rehydration required

What We Like About Only Natural Pet RawNibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Beef & Tripe Dog Food

Both dogs and cats are naturally carnivorous but tend to seek out different food sources, making it hard to find one food that both will like. This product uses a natural, holistic beef tripe recipe to appeal equally to both, letting you feed all your pets with one product instead of seeking out different food for each one. 

What We Don’t Like About Only Natural Pet RawNibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Beef & Tripe Dog Food

It will take time to get your pets properly acclimated to this food’s unique formulation. Make sure to follow the included guide to avoid intestinal trouble and ensure that your pets will not get a bad impression of their new food. 

PROS

  • Suitable for dogs and cats alike
  • Veterinarian certified
  • Experienced manufacturer
  • Human quality ingredients
  • Digestive boosters

CONS

  • Acclimation period required
  • More needed to feed two kinds of pets

9. I and Love and You Stir & Boom Boom Ba Raw  Grain-Free Dehydrated Beef Dinner

I and Love and You Stir & Boom Boom Ba Raw  Grain-Free Dehydrated Beef Dinner

Product Highlights

Those three little words mean a lot of things to humans, but only one to dogs – that there is a healthy meal on the way in as little time as it takes you to pour this product into a bowl and add some water. 

Features

  • Air-dried
  • Beef and vegetable recipe
  • 1.5-pound bag
  • Rehydration required

What We Like About I and Love and You Stir & Boom Boom Ba Raw  Grain-Free Dehydrated Beef Dinner

All parts of this meal are prepared with minimal processing, including 100 percent natural air-dried ingredients and vegetables cut into relatively large chunks so that you can see what your dog is eating with the naked eye. The nutrient blend in this product is calculated for weight control and improving a dog’s oat and gums, actively making your pet healthier the longer it stays with this product. 

What We Don’t Like About I and Love and You Stir & Boom Boom Ba Raw  Grain-Free Dehydrated Beef Dinner

The need to rehydrate this product makes it take longer to prepare, and makes it necessary to measure out more carefully than regular kibble. Because it is not a homogenous mixture, but rather in large chunks, you may find your dog rejecting the vegetable parts and picking out just the meat, especially once rehydrated. 

PROS

  • Air-dried to preserve natural flavors
  • Ingredients you can see
  • Quick to rehydrate
  • Larger bag than usual
  • Actively improves pet health

CONS

  • Requires more measuring and is harder to rehydrate
  • Visible ingredients mean dogs may pick out the meat only

10. Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Puppy Recipe with Freeze-Dried Turkey

Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Puppy Recipe with Freeze-Dried Turkey

Product Highlights

Give your dog a change from the ordinary diet of beef or chicken without compromising on its appetite or health. This food uses solid turkey bites for a meal that is at once something new and interesting for the dog focusing on keeping them in peak condition.

Features

  • Freeze-dried
  • Ten-pound bag
  • Turkey meat
  • Intended for puppies

What We Like About Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Puppy Recipe with Freeze-Dried Turkey

Growing dogs need all the nutrition they can get, which is why this puppy food is made with nothing but boneless turkey meat that will give them a powerful protein boost and a break from more common varieties of food at the same time. This meat is rich in antioxidants and DHA to support healthy circulation and increased cognitive growth during your dog’s early years to get them ready for later in life. 

What We Don’t Like About Wellness CORE RawRev Grain-Free Puppy Recipe with Freeze-Dried Turkey

Keep in mind that this is puppy food, and may not be suitable for older dogs or those with a more active lifestyle. Additionally, it is exclusively meat, so you will need to supplement it to give your dogs nutrients like fiber or healthy sugars. 

PROS

  • 100 percent meat
  • Interesting and unusual turkey flavor
  • Antioxidant-rich 
  • Large bag
  • Soft enough for puppies to chew

CONS

  • Unsuitable for older or high activity dogs
  • Missing some parts of a full diet

Final Verdict: Instinct  Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Frozen Raw Bites 

When you decide to put your pet on a raw diet, you want to make sure that everything in the pet’s meal has remained as fresh as possible to make sure that the maximum possible nutrition is delivered from farm to bowl. This option is by far the most omitted to that goal, keeping the kibble not just freeze-dried, but actually frozen until it is ready for your dog to eat. 

It is worth noting that although this is the best of the options presented here, the others are not all that far behind. If for some reason you cannot keep this food frozen, or do not want food that needs to be kept frozen, you can comfortably choose any of these dog foods and remain confident that you are giving your dog an appetizing and nutritious meal. 

Buyer’s Guide: 

As you can see, dehydrated dog food comes in all shapes and sizes, with one option often resembling the next so closely that it can be difficult to decide which one is the best choice for your dog. Here are some things you should be considering before you next shop for dog food, and a few tricks to help it last longer one you have. 

First, take a look at your dog; nearly every kind of dog food on the market is labeled for what size, age, and breed of dog it is recommended, and selecting a dog food that matches your dog’s physical profile is the first step in giving them the diet they need. While using a variety that does not precisely math each facet of your dog is unlikely to do any harm, you should always choose the food that is made specifically for your dog over the ones that are not. 

Similarly, you’ll want to select a dog food that relates to your dog’s activity level – a working dog in daily use will have a different set of needs than those of a couch potato. Many dog foods are also labeled for activity level, so be sure to check for a printed indication; otherwise, check nutrition facts for options with lower calorie counts and increased fiber content. 

If your dog is beginning to grow inactive, consider replacing any food-based rewards with a favorite toy or extra playtime allowing the dog to overfeed will trigger it’s resting response and lead to a cycle of inactivity and weight gain contributing to one another. Using a toy will encourage added physical activity and get your dog excited to move again. 

Be sure that you are buying enough food for your dog for a reasonable period of time; specialist dog foods in particular, such as antibiotic boosters, can come in extremely small packages, and you will need to order more than just a few doses to genuinely switch to it as a regular form of kibble for your dog. If you intend to buy it as medication or to mix it with a medicated formula, consult your veterinarian beforehand to ensure that there will be no adverse effects to either the medicine or your dog. 

At the other end of the spectrum, your dog may be unhappy with the switch to dehydrated dog food and refuse to eat for a while. Although its hunger will usually win out in the end, its best to get ahead of this pattern of behavior by using a dog food topper to keep your dog on a fixed and regular eating schedule. 

Food toppers (sold commercially as bowl toppers and meal mixers, among other names) are extra chunks of food with a different composition than normal kibble, specifically designed to get the dog to finish eating a bowl that it may not otherwise be willing to polish off. There are a number of different kinds of bowl toppers out there, falling into two general schools of thought about how to tempt your dog into eating them: one kind will use meat that has been processed as little as possible to evoke a predator instinct, the other will use a wide array of ingredients in the hope of giving the dog a .well rounded nutritional boost. 

You may also run into liquid toppers, which are meant to be poured over the dog’s food to soak in and make it both more appealing to the dog and softer and easier to chew. These toppers need to be measured carefully to prevent oversaturation and to keep them from overwhelming the kibble in the meal. 

One final thing to know if you are shopping for dehydrated dog food is that there are different methods of dehydrating it for sale and that each one will have a different effect on the food after processing. You may want to avoid dog food that has been processed or stored in a certain way.

Salting, for instance, is a classic method of dehydrating nearly any kind of food, but leaves it with excess saline content that may be detrimental to your dog’s health; you may want to soak the added salt out before feeding it to your pet. Alternatively, seek out more wholesome alternatives such as air or freeze-drying; these processes take longer, and may be somewhat more expensive, but will ensure that your dog food doesn’t contain excess chemicals detrimental to your dog’s health. 

Some of these dehydrating processes leave the food practically inedible in its dehydrated state; you will need to soak it back to a softer consistency before giving it to your dog. If you select a food that requires rehydration, save the packaging or write down the rehydration measurements printed on it so that you know how to serve it to your dog without the nutritional content being leached out into the water. 

Additionally, whichever dog food you buy should be kept well protected from both insects and rodents, both of which will readily attack it as a high-quality food source if it is left in the open. Store food in a room with no pest problems and make sure to seal the bag fully after each use to protect against any possible infestation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why buy any of these products? Isn’t cooked dog food cheaper and more plentiful? 

Raw dog food, even when dehydrated, contains all of the nutrients and minerals that are in the original meat product, and keeps them viable until your pet gobbles them down. There is none of the loss to excess processing that tends to accompany the process of making ordinary kibble. 

This does tend to produce smaller amounts of viable food – after all, animal matter tends to shrink when dried, and it is harder to assemble the same quantity of high-quality dried dog food as of ordinary kibble. That said, there is also less of it needed; a smaller amount of raw food will have the same nutritional value as a larger portion of a kibble containing chemical additives or starch-based filler. 

By contrast, the heat and moisture of making cooked food cause the proteins to undergo a process called denaturation, where the molecules break down and reassemble in different patterns. For humans, this is needed to make most things readily digestible; dogs, on the other hand, are better adapted for raw food, and giving them cooked will mean they lose a significant portion of their required nutritional intake. 

Additionally, keep in mind that to prepare for cooking and to make the finished product hold its shape as a kibble pellet, the actual meat content that your dog is after tends to get mixed with a filler such as flour, rice, or soy, diluting the meat matter with unnecessary starch. The mixture is also macerated, or mixed, a further layer of processing that can destroy the high-value protein structures that make meat such a good meal for the dog. 

Read Related Topic: Best Raw Dog Food Brand

What is so special about freeze-drying that makes it such a popular method of preservation? 

Freeze drying might sound like a complicated process, but it is really just two simple steps that leave food totally dry without adding or removing any of its nutritional content. It retains freshness for an exceptionally long time and can be reconstituted quite quickly. 

For something to be freeze-dried, it is first flash-frozen between chilled metal plates – this makes the water crystallize almost instantly, without adhering to anything or settling in an unnatural position in the food’s tissues. The temperature is then changed quickly again, making the water melt directly to a vapor without the rest of the food thawing, yielding a totally dry food that can be allowed to return to room temperature at an ordinary pace without fear of spoiling. 

To prevent moisture from re-entering the food once this process has been completed, freeze-dried food is often either vacuum packed or placed in an ordinary freezer, where the subzero temperatures will forestall any further bacterial growth. 

What makes freeze-drying special is how quickly and completely it can desiccate food, and how easy it is to reconstitute it later. By selecting freeze-dried food, you are likely saving yourself some effort at measuring out and rehydrating your dog’s food. 

Most of these foods say ‘Made in the USA’ or some variation thereof. It’s the same food wherever it was made, so why does that matter?

We all want to show some pride in our country, whether as an individual or a business, and many pet food manufacturers will do just that on their packaging. Whether or not you agree with the practice, though, food manufactured in the United States of America does have certain key material advantages that make it preferable to that made in other countries. 

The United States is home to a significant number of regulatory bodies that certify food products of every kind, meaning that before it is sent to your local pet food outlet, the dog food you buy has already been subjected to rigorous scrutiny and held to some of the most exacting standards in the world. The FDA in particular is known as the gold standard of food products; having its approval means that the manufacturing and shipping process were up to par. 

Most American brands are also the result of small businesses with a vested interest in maintaining strict quality control measures – even a mild blow to their reputation could be irreversible. This makes them take more care with the food they manufacture than larger international producers, resulting in a higher quality meal for your dog. 

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