You may have heard, on occasion, the expression ‘come and get it before I slop it to the hogs.” It has its place in fact, of course, but the main gist of it is that whatever it is can’t possibly be kept, and so it will be disposed of in the most profitable way possible.
Depending on what is being thrown out, of course, one might be better advised to throw the uneaten food to the dogs instead; they will eat faster, produce less mess, and can digest the food that would actually be damaging to a human. Things that a person might consider unusually moldy or contaminated from a fall on the floor will have no adverse effect on your pooch.
Nevertheless, we mustn’t think of dogs as trash cans; most are not picky eaters, but a responsible pet owner does not make a habit of feeding their dog refuse or scraps. Like humans, dogs need to take in a particular blend of nutrients to grow and thrive.
Having as they do a naturally carnivorous drive, a dog’s preferred meal is animal in nature, something to provide a considerable amount of protein which dogs need to stay in peak condition. Once upon a time, this was accomplished by simple means of tossing the dog an untreated piece of animal bone to gnaw; the dog may be willing to eat it, but that does not mean that it should.
As food manipulation technology improved, there became one characteristic in particular that could influence the dog owner’s decision as to what kibble to get. Spoilage, the bane of those attempting to keep food for some time is doing fine; no matter how juicy a piece of meat you may have found, it should not be too big for the dogs to finish in one helping, or you may find that it is going to waste even from that relatively forgiving destination.
Thankfully, the same principles of food preservation that we use on our own meals are just as valid when applied to dog food – by rapidly reducing the moisture content of the food in question, one can ensure that the microorganisms responsible for spoilage are either killed or rendered inert by the sudden environmental change. This creates the reality where dried food is among the most resilient kinds of foodstuff available; dried goods can realistically last years without showing any ill effect.
Of course, to eat dried food one needs to soak it again, a chore all to itself that can, on occasion, be more tedious than simply cooking the food in the first place. Cooking food heats it to the point where spoiling agents are burned out anyway; while this may reset the spoilage clock, it does not stop it indefinitely, and such a mistake could easily be the difference between knowing how much food you have left or not.
|1. The Honest Kitchen
|2. Instinct Frozen Raw Medallions
|3. Visionary Pet Foods Human-Grade
|4. Nature’s Logic All-Natural Feast Patties
|5. Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers
|6. Primal Chicken Formula
|7. Vital Essentials Mini Nibs Entree
The opposite extreme – freezing your dog’s food – is far more practical; it takes barely any time to get ready, and stops or destroys any spoiling agents, at least, as effectively as drying or heating. These factors and many others combine to make frozen food a natural choice for someone looking to make dog food keep without adding preservatives; to help you along with this commendable and important choice, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best-frozen dog foods to make sure you have good options for your dog’s next chilly treat.
Our Best Frozen Raw Dog Food Reviews and Comparisons
1. Instinct Frozen Raw Medallions
As the name suggests, this product comes in the form of discs packed with all the nutrients that your dog will ever need or want.
- Three-pound bag
- Chicken matter recipe
- Frozen during manufacturing and in transit
- 85 percent meat
What We Like About Instinct Frozen Raw Medallions
Keeping this product frozen from the time it leaves the factory ensures that all the flavor and nutrition in these foods stay exactly where it was when it was packaged, giving your dog a meal as fresh as if it had been prepared on the spot.
What We Don’t Like About Instinct Frozen Raw Medallions
You will need to keep this bag frozen to make certain that it will not begin to spoil shortly after it is opened, making it higher-maintenance than most foods.
- Larger discs are easier to measure
- The product stays frozen to preserve freshness
- Ethically sourced ingredients
- Mineral content addresses neglected areas like coat and gums
- No fillers used
- Needs further cold storage
- Larger discs mean fewer meals per bag than ordinary kibble
2. Visionary Pet Foods Human-Grade
There’s a reason it became such a popular health option among humans, and now, your furry friends can also experience the many advantages of a healthy keto diet.
- Six-pound bag
- 12 patties per bag
- Frozen until purchase
- Contains fewer than four carbs per ounce
What We Like About Visionary Pet Foods Human-Grade
Keto has been a rising star in the health industry for some time now, and humans all over the world use it as a surefire way to maintain their own health; this product gives you a way to share keto’s low carbs and high energy with your pet as well.
What We Don’t Like About Visionary Pet Foods Human-Grade
Keto is not a natural food for dogs, so extra work or a more meat-based food topper might be needed to coax your pet into eating this product the first few times.
- Proven dietary benefits
- Minimal carbs
- Convenient patties
- Freshness is frozen inside until the moment you buy it
- Human grade ingredients ensure your pet is getting nothing you wouldn’t eat yourself
- Not a natural food for dogs
- May cause digestive problems initially
3. Nature’s Logic All-Natural Feast Patties
There are plenty of foods that don’t use any chemical fillers, but this product makes sure its nutrients are all-natural as well.
- Six-pound bags
- Eight ounces per patty
- Frozen until delivery
- Chicken matter recipe
What We Like About Nature’s Logic All-Natural Feast Patties
By sticking to muscle and organ tissue and avoiding bone and cartilage, this product packs in all the nutrients it needs without using any artificial vitamin boosters.
What We Don’t Like About Nature’s Logic All-Natural Feast Patties
The patties in these bags are so dense that one gets rather few of them in a six-pound bag, so you will need to stock more of them to keep your pet fed.
- Carefully monitored composition
- High poultry content, well over ninety percent
- No carbohydrate fillers
- Never cooked
- Fewer patties per bag
- Low-quality plastic used in packaging
4. Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers
Everyone’s favorite duo of doggies is back with yet another offering in a long line of exceptional dog foods.
- 18-ounce bag
- Beef recipe
- Internationally sourced ingredients
What We Like About Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers
This food is made to be usable as a topper as well, and so it is specifically intended to be enticing to picky eaters or upset stomachs without sacrificing nutritional value along the way.
What We Don’t Like About Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers
Toppers tend to come in smaller packages and be more expensive than ordinary food, and this one is no exception – even this small bag can cost as much as a full bag of regular kibble
- Trusted manufacturer
- Appealing to fussier dogs
- Scientifically calculated to be easier on an upset stomach
- Natural canine dietary ingredients
- Smaller quantity per bag
- Considerably more expensive than most option
5. The Honest Kitchen
These boxes are a good choice economically and contain a more balanced meal that is especially suited for puppies looking to bulk up as they begin to grow.
- Ten-pound box
- Poultry and barley recipe
- Freeze-dried and dehydrated
- Soaking required before use
What We Like About The Honest Kitchen
Using this box ensures your pet a complete AAFCO diet in every bowl, without needing to go looking for all the necessary parts to assemble it yourself.
What We Don’t Like About The Honest Kitchen
As this product has undergone a number of dehydration processes, it will be necessary to soak it back to a usable state before it hits your dog’s bowl.
- No GMOs
- Free-range poultry
- Dehydrated consistency has an exceptional shelf life
- Large quantity per box
- AAFCO compliant
- Needs to be soaked before use
- More processed than other foods
6. Primal Chicken Formula
Chicken nuggets aren’t just a school lunch or fast food dish anymore – these snacks will turn into a full dog meal within a few minutes of being placed in water.
- Compacted and free-dried nuggets
- 14-ounce bag
- Poultry matter recipe
- Need to be soaked before serving
What We Like About Primal Chicken Formula
Despite its small size, this bag contains several full meals for your dog – just pop one or two nuggets into the water to yield a full helping of dog food.
What We Don’t Like About Primal Chicken Formula
These nuggets produce a fairly pungent aroma as they dissolve, one which many people may find overpowering or unpleasant at first.
- Sustainable ingredients
- No grains or legumes added
- Easy packaging of several dog meals
- No chemical waste in meat
- Optimum levels of fatty and amino acids
- The powerful smell while dissolving
- Cannot be served as is
7. Vital Essentials Mini Nibs Entree
These take all the elements dogs will naturally pursue in their meals, fortified with essential minerals and in kibbles small enough that even the more diminutive breeds will be able to enjoy what they have to offer.
- One pound bag
- Useable as kibble or topper
- Beef recipe
What We Like About Vital Essentials Mini Nibs Entree
Freeze drying is a common procedure, but a proprietary change in the process leaves these kibbles with not only preserved but enhanced nutrition and flavor when it’s finally doggy dinner time.
What We Don’t Like About Vital Essentials Mini Nibs Entree
This is a small bag of kibble with relatively little inside, and the half-sized kibbles within are small enough that they may present a choking hazard to puppies (or, in fact, to human children that happen to gain access to the bag).
- Naturally desirable diet
- Zero chemical additives, including color and preservatives
- The innovative freeze-drying process
- Can be used as a food topper as well
- Hypoallergenic properties
- Relatively little kibble per purchase
- Small kibbles can choke puppies
Final Verdict: The Honest Kitchen
Ordinarily, having to soak the food back to a palatable form would be something of the past – humans stopped doing it when the railroad made it possible to move fresh fish before they spoiled and obviated the need for a dried fish market. Here, though, a dehydrated powder actually has the distinct advantage of being able to be cleaned off of anything on which it spills, and the rehydration process is anyways quick enough not to pose too great a hassle on your pet’s mealtime.
When specifically shopping for frozen dog food, it is of paramount importance to distinguish between frozen and freeze-dried, for storage and nutritional purposes. Frozen dog food is one that needs to be kept below zero Celsius until ready to serve, and is likely to either include gravy or be a relatively unprocessed piece of meat still susceptible to spoilage in the air or at room temperature.
By contrast, freeze-dried food has simply had all the moisture removed as either ice crystals or sublimated vapor, leaving only the food behind. This food can be indistinguishable from other dried products; it should need little special care and is unlikely to spoil in the near future.
Once you know which of these considerations you are looking for, you can start shopping for pet food in earnest. Make sure that your decision takes into account the dog’s age, weight, size, and breed, as well as any special medical conditions either the dog or the humans around it might suffer from.
When buying pet food, it is sometimes worth exploring the possibility of buying in larger quantities, and as close to the manufacturer as you can get. By cutting out middlemen like importers or shop owners, you will minimize surcharges and ensure that the food you are buying is as fresh as can possibly be had in your area.
If possible, look for a kind of food that is sold as actual dog food, not a meal topper or treat bag; while these products often look the same, it is important to remember that dog food toppers often come in considerably smaller packages for the same cost. Being sure to use real dog food will save you the time and money it would otherwise require to stock up enough toppers to keep your pet fed.
When switching to your new freeze-dried choice, monitor your pet carefully to see if the switch is causing any side effects. These are most commonly unusual bowel movements or loss of appetite; should the dog begin to exhibit either these signs or the others that may be inscribed on the packaging, seek out a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the practical implications of dog food being frozen or freeze-dried instead of simply put into a bag?
Ordinary kibble is made of macerated chicken matter, and is usually still teeming with bacteria by the time the kibble is in the bag; sealing it up for shipment does not make the microorganisms go away, but rather forces them into a low-activity state due to being exposed to any sunlight at the time.
When you freeze-dry something, though, the temperature changes quite quickly from room temperature to below freezing, causing the moisture in the kibble to undergo a process called sublimation. In this process, the ice crystals formed in the moisture within the kibble evaporate without leaving any liquid residue; all liquids have effectively been removed, leaving only the dry food pellet itself.
Most harmful agents have a hard time performing for an audience, especially when there is no liquid environment around to facilitate the process. For many such microorganisms, the journey would prove too challenging; they will either die in the cold or prepare a defensive shell known as an endospore, most of which are only reactivated when the decision is made to that one and pass judgment.
Having a freeze-dried brand of dog food has other advantages as well; along with the minimal risk of damage from spoiling, it also makes sure that a different class of microorganisms that would otherwise break down the organic matter in the kibble would have no place there. The freeze-drying works the same way on benign microorganisms, ensuring they are not as swallowed as they could be; this gives freeze-dried products a distinct edge in shelf life, as theirs is almost indefinite.
When thinking about freeze-dried food versus frozen, it is worth remembering the nuances of frozen versus freeze-dried as well. While they don’t strictly address the advantages of freeze-drying food, one should always be sure what kind of food they need to meet their dog’s needs; getting the wrong one is a disservice both to yourself and, in the long run, to the dog relying on you for its meal.