The Best Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Foods of 2018

Freeze-dried dog food tends to be high-quality and high-cost. Because they are light-weight and shelf-stable, freeze-dried dog food is particularly handy to bring on road trips with your dog.

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Are you looking for the most expensive way to feed your dog? Probably not – but if price is no object, the freeze-dried dog food products we’ll describe here are very high-quality foods that are extremely shelf-stable (in many cases, without the use of any preservative, or with a natural preservative only). Many are made with organic ingredients; many are made with certified humanely raised and/or grass-fed meats. All of the freeze-dried dog food diets are made with a high inclusion of meat; some contain as much as 95 percent animal muscle meat, organ meat, and raw ground bone.

Most of the other ingredients in freeze-dried dog food diets are raw and/or very lightly processed. All the freeze-dried raw diets we reviewed are grain-free – not because we think grains are inappropriate in these foods; it’s the food manufacturers who seem to have decided that raw feeders won’t buy a product that contains any grain.

Many people who feed home-prepared or commercial raw diets to their dogs when they are home replace this diet with a freeze-dried raw food when they travel, or when the dog is left with a sitter who doesn’t want to deal with a fresh or frozen raw diet.

Benefits of Freeze-Dried Dog Food

In addition to being raw and lightly processed, freeze-dried dog diets offer other benefits:

1. Freeze-dried food stores longer than kibble.

Very low-moisture foods such as these products can be stored at room temperature (in unopened packages) without spoilage or rancidity – much longer than kibble. That’s because most freeze-dried diets contain about three to five percent moisture; conventional kibble generally contains about 10 percent moisture. The less moisture there is in a food, the less biological activity can occur.

2. Dogs love the taste of freeze-dried raw food.

When rehydrated, these foods are highly palatable to most dogs. It may be due to the concentration of flavor in freeze-dried food ingredients or their minimal processing. Dogs with poor appetites (like very senior or chronically ill dogs) may accept these foods when nothing else appeals.

3. Really good ingredients in freeze-dried dog food.

As a generalization, the makers of these freeze-dried dog food products are targeting the top end of the market and have an extraordinary commitment to sourcing top-quality ingredients.

freeze dried dog food

Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food is Still Raw Dog Food

Though it should be obvious, it bears repeating that all of the products included in this review are made with freeze-dried raw meats. Raw diets aren’t for every dog or owner. Cooked foods may be safer for immune-compromised individuals. Some dogs digest cooked foods better.

bravo! freeze dried raw dog food

That said, freeze-dried dog foods don’t seem as “raw” as raw-frozen or fresh raw foods, but it’s important to understand that they are, in fact, uncooked. Freeze-drying removes so much moisture from the ingredients that it stops the biological action (decay) in the food, with less damage to the meat’s natural enzymes or vitamins than cooking temperatures cause. When the foods are rehydrated, the biological activity of any pathogenic bacteria that might be present in the food can resume.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011 contains zero-tolerance policies for products that test positive for pathogenic bacteria. For this reason, some of the manufacturers of freeze-dried raw foods subject their products to a “kill step” known as high-pressure processing (also known as high-pressure pasteurization, and in any case abbreviated as HPP); they don’t want to risk increased surveillance or recalls from food control officials.

k9 natural freeze dried raw dog food

The owners of some companies, however, believe so strongly in the benefits of raw foods, that they refuse to use a kill step. Instead, they rely on the quality of their ingredients and their own food “hazard analysis and critical control points”(HACCP) plans to prevent selling contaminated products. They understand that the FSMA policies are present to protect dogs and their owners, and that today’s human food supply does sometimes contain pathogens – but they also have observed that most healthy dogs can thrive on raw foods that may contain some pathogens (few healthy dogs have trouble with Salmonella, for example, though Listeria and e. Coli are another story). And, importantly, they engage and educate their consumers about these facts.

There are food-industry experts who feel strongly that HPP is a very safe technology, and others who worry that it may alter foods on a molecular level. We feel fine about HPP; we’ve been to HPP plants and observed the raw dog food before, during, and after treatment and have confidence that it is not harmed or made unsafe to feed. On the other hand, we respect the right of owners to feed raw foods that have not undergone a kill step – as long as they are informed about the risks to which they are subjecting themselves and their dogs.

Some of the companies utilize a “test and hold” program whereby finished products are tested for pathogens and not released for sale until results indicate the products are uncontaminated.

Varieties of Freeze-Dried Dog Food

The freeze-dried foods on the market are diverse in content, appearance, and form. Some are very high in protein and fat – there are even products that contain more fat than protein! – while others compare in these respects to high-end kibble. Always check the guaranteed analysis when switching to a product in this category, particularly when feeding a dog who needs to be on a lower-fat diet.

Most of these freeze-dried dog food products are meant to be rehydrated with water before serving, though the products that come in small cubes can be fed as treats without rehydrating. In general, though, adding water will bulk up the food, making it more filling for your dog, as well as easier to digest.

Some of the freeze-dried dog food products are very powdery, which makes them turn into a sort of mush (or gruel, depending on how much water you add) when rehydrated. Some are powdery with large chunks of identifiable dehydrated meats, fruit, and/or vegetables – either an advantage (if your dog enjoys the contrast in taste and mouth-feel) or a disadvantage (if your dog seeks out only the chunks or mush and eschews the other).

Typical Freeze-Dried Dog Food Ingredients

On the table that starts on the next page, we have listed the ingredients for one variety of each company’s food. When a chicken variety was available, we used the ingredients of that variety, so you could compare relatively similar product offerings.

The Price of Freeze-Dried Dog Food

We’ve listed prices for the largest size of the products that are available; the larger sizes are generally the most economical (if that can be said at all of this category).

Because the cost of these products is so high, we imagine that few people feed them full-time, especially if their dogs are large or many. We would most likely use them only for a small dog, on a short-term basis while traveling, as training treats, to jump-start the recovery of a sick dog, or to extend the life of a chronically ill dog.

WDJ’s Approved Freeze-Dried Dog Foods: 2018

Note About the Reviewed Products:  Please note that we are including only products that are made with freeze-dried meat in this review. In previous years, we examined diets that contain freeze-dried and dehydrated meats in the same review. There are so many of these products now that we will review them separately this year.

Also note that we are discussing only diets that are “complete and balanced”  as per the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. Products that are meant for “supplemental or intermittent feeding only” are not included in this review.

PRODUCTS LISTED ALPHABETICALLY BY THE NAME OF THE COMPANY THAT MAKES THEM. 

PRODUCT & COMPANY INFO NOTES INGREDIENTS PRICE
BRAVO HOMESTYLE
Bravo Pet Foods
Manchester, CT
(866) 922-9222
Three grain-free varieties are available: beef, pork, and turkey.

All the varieties contain 38% protein and 8% to 13% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Bravo Homestyle Beef variety contains: beef, beef liver, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, beef hearts, beef kidney, beef spleen, green beans, cranberries, dried eggs, tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, dried kelp, turmeric, rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, salt, mixed tocopherols (preservative), zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, rosemary extract $76 – $104 / 6 lbs.
LIBERTY FREEZE-DRIED
Buckley Pet
Boulder, CO
(303) 666-1070
Three grain-free varieties are available: beef, chicken, and lamb.

All the varieties contain 45% protein and 36% to 42% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Liberty Chicken variety contains: chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, chicken gizzard, squash, chicken necks, apples, carrots, broccoli, eggs, ground flaxseed, inulin, blueberries, cranberries, apple cider vinegar, dried kelp, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, salmon oil, fish oil, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, mixed tocopherols $35 – $40 / 20 oz.
ORACLE GRAIN-FREE
ORACLE WHOLE GRAIN
Dr. Harvey’s
Atlantic Highlands, NJ
(866) 362-4123
Oracle Whole Grain comes in beef, chicken, and fish varieties. Each contains 27% protein and 16% fat.

Oracle Grain-Free also comes in beef, chicken, and fish varieties. They range from 27% to 29% protein and 12% to 14% fat.

All of these products are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Oracle Whole Grain Chicken formula contains: chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, flaxseed, whole egg, rolled oats, barley, spelt, tricalcium phosphate, broccoli, green beans, spinach, beets, cabbage, celery, pumpkin, kelp, coconut, blueberries, bananas, parsley, dried yeast, lecithin, alfalfa, fenugreek, fennel, ginger, peppermint, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, manganese proteinate, vitamin A acetate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, rosemary extract, mixed tocopherols $65 – $77 / 6 lbs.

$70 – $80 / 6 lbs.

FRESH IS BEST
Fresh is Best
Milwaukee, WI
(866) 617-7735
Three grain-free varieties are available: beef, chicken, and turkey.

All the varieties contain 42% to 52% protein and 21% to 30% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Fresh Is Best Freeze-Dried Chicken variety contains: chicken, chicken hearts, chicken livers, chicken gizzards, yams, apples, kale, collards, bone meal, dried kelp, vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acids chelate, manganese amino acids chelate, copper amino acids chelate, thiamin mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement $14 / 8 oz.
ARTISAN
MACANNA
PUREFORMANCE
VALOR
Grandma Lucy’s
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
(800) 906-5829
Grandma Lucy’s has four lines of grain-free, freeze-dried foods. Each line features a unique carb source or carb combination: Artisan: potatoes, celery, and carrots; Macanna: pinto beans, hemp hearts, and carrots; Pureformance: chickpeas; Valor: quinoa. Each line has two to five varieties, and each product contains 25% to 37% protein and 13% to 17% fat.

All the Grandma Lucy’s products are complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages, with the exception of the Pre-Mix Formulas; these are for supplemental feeding only.

Artisan chicken formula contains: chicken, potatoes, flax, carrots, celery, apples, blueberries, cranberries, garlic, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, iron proteinate, calcium carbonate, phosphorous, zinc proteinate, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, potassium chloride, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, magnesium chloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin The least expensive varieties are
$80 / 10 lbs.

The ones with more exotic protein sources (i.e., bison, salmon) are
$146 / 10 lbs.K9 NATURAL
K9 Natural
Christchurch, New Zealand
(855) 596-2887

Five grain-free varieties are available: beef, chicken, lamb, and venison, and a puppy variety.

All the varieties contain 23% to 33% protein and 37% to 43% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages. (Note: Each variety contains more fat than protein.)

K9 Natural Chicken Feast variety contains: chicken, eggs, flaxseed flakes, hoki oil, brown kelp, New Zealand green mussel, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potassium sulphate, dried kelp, apples, pears, salt, vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, sunflower oil, magnesium oxide, selenium yeast, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, beta-carotene, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplementChicken:
$100/ 2.75 lbs.

 

Venison:
$140 / 3.3 lbs.

Beef, Lamb:
$196 / 8 lbs.

Puppy:
$110 / 3.5 lbs.BACKCOUNTRY RAW MEAL MIXERS
Merrick
A div. of Nestle Purina
Amarillo, TX
(800) 664-7387

Three grain-free varieties are available: beef, chicken, and salmon.

All the varieties contain 40% protein and 10% to 18% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for adult dog maintenance.

Backcountry Raw Chicken variety contains: deboned chicken, chicken liver, dried potatoes, potato protein, chicken broth, gelatin, dried kelp, salt, mixed tocopherols, potassium chloride, apples, carrots, blueberries, minerals (zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, potassium chloride, copper amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride$28 / 12.5 oz.INSTINCT RAW MARKET
Nature’s Variety
St. Louis, MO
(888) 519-7387

Instinct recently discontinued its Raw Market Blends and Raw Market Nuggets in packaging meant to supply meal-sized amounts. It will continue to sell the Blends in a 5.5-ounce package, for use as a treat or as something you can mix into your dog’s meal; though the products are complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages, they won’t be priced for daily use.

These foods range from 34% to 35% protein and 26% – 28% fat.

Instinct Raw Market Blend Chicken variety contains: chicken (including ground chicken bone), chicken liver, chicken heart, apples, sweet potatoes, peas, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, salmon oil, montmorillonite clay, organic carrots, organic pears, tricalcium phosphate, organic butternut squash, potassium chloride, cod liver oil, salt, dried kelp, yeast culture, choline chloride, taurine, organic cranberries, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, rosemary extractPrice not yet available / 5.5 oz.NORTHWEST NATURALS
Northwest Naturals
Portland, OR
(866) 637-1872

Like many of the other companies here, Northwest Naturals also makes frozen raw diets for dogs. Its freeze-dried products are made by freeze-drying, rather than freezing, its frozen products. All recipes are grain-free and complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Six varieties of patties are available, and range from 41% to 63% protein and 15% to 34% fat.

Northwest Naturals Chicken variety contains: chicken, ground chicken bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, cantaloupe, carrots, broccoli, romaine lettuce, egg, ground flaxseed, fish oil (a blend of wild caught Alaskan fish oils from salmon, herring, and pollock), apple cider vinegar, blueberry, cranberry, inulin, dried kelp, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, ginger, parsley, garlic, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, mixed tocopherols, vitamin D supplement$21 / 12 oz.NULO FREESTYLE FREEZE-DRIED RAW
Nulo
Austin, TX
(512) 476-6856

Five grain-free varieties are available: beef, duck, lamb, salmon & turkey, and turkey. Many organic ingredients are included.

All the varieties contain 40% to 44% protein and 26% to 29% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Turkey variety contains: turkey, turkey necks, turkey heart, turkey liver, cranberries, apples, sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, parsley, apple cider vinegar, ground flaxseed, dried kelp, inulin, salt, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product, potassium chloride, salmon oil, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, mixed tocopherols, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, vitamin D3 supplement$34 / 13 oz.OPEN FARM FREEZE-DRIED RAW
Open Farm
Toronto, Ontario
(833) 399-3403

Four grain-free varieties are available: beef, chicken, salmon & beef, and turkey. Many organic ingredients are included and only certified humanely raised meats are used.

All the varieties contain 41% to 42% protein and 31% to 33% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Open Farm Freeze-Dried Chicken variety contains: Chicken with ground bone, chicken livers, chicken necks, chicken hearts, carrots, blueberries, squash, montmorillonite clay, sunflower seeds, cranberries, salmon oil, spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, chicory root,dried kelp, coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, turmeric, mixed tocopherols, spirulina, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, choline, zinc amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, selenium yeast$30 / 13.5 oz.PRIMAL FREEZE-DRIED
Primal Pet Foods
San Francisco, CA
(866) 566-4652

Eight grain-free varieties are available: beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork, rabbit, turkey & sardine, and venison. Many organic ingredients are included.

All the varieties contain 37% to 59% protein and 22% to 38% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Primal Pet Foods Chicken variety contains: chicken, chicken necks, chicken gizzards, organic kale, organic carrots, organic squash, chicken livers, organic broccoli, organic apples, cranberries, blueberries, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, montmorillonite clay, organic parsley, organic apple cider vinegar, salmon oil, organic coconut oil, organic quinoa sprout powder, dried organic kelp, alfalfa, vitamin E supplement, mixed tocopherols$31 – $39 / 14 oz.SOJO’S COMPLETE
SOJO’S WILD
Sojourner’s Farm, LLC
Minneapolis, MN
(888) 867-6567Sojo’s Complete comes in five varieties; Sojo’s Wild comes in two. All of the varieties except for the Complete Puppy variety are complete and balanced for the maintenance of adult dogs only. The Puppy variety is complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages. The Complete products range from 24% to 28% protein and 12% to 16% fat. The Wild products range from 38% to 40% protein and 16% to 21% fat.Sojo’s Complete Turkey variety contains: turkey, sweet potatoes, whole egg, broccoli, apples, flaxseed, cranberries, celery, turkey liver, tricalcium phosphate, basil, pumpkin, ginger root, dried kelp, zinc sulfate, vitamin E acetate, ferrous fumarate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid

Sojo’s Complete $90 / 7 lbs.

Sojo’s Wild
$82 / 4 lbs.

STELLA & CHEWY’S FREEZE-DRIED PATTIES
STELLA & CHEWY’S MEAL MIXERS
Stella & Chewy’s
Oak Creek, WI
(888) 477-8977 x100

Stella & Chewy’s makes its grain-free, freeze-dried diets in patties (nine varieties), “Meal Mixers” (grape-sized nuggets, available in five varieties), and “Super Blends Meal Mixers” (like Meal Mixers, but with additional “superfoods” added). All of the products are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages. These foods range from 36% to 50% protein and 24% – 40% fat.

S&C’s uses humanely raised, cage-free birds, grass-fed animals, and many organic ingredients.

Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties variety contains: chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, pumpkin seed, potassium chloride, organic cranberries, organic spinach, organic broccoli, organic beets, sodium phosphate monobasic, organic carrots, organic squash, organic apples, organic blueberries, choline chloride, dried pediococcus acidilactici fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, taurine, tocopherols, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, iron sulfate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese proteinate, thiamin mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement

“Meal Mixers” $38 – $39 / 18 oz.

Patties $46 – $50 / 25 oz.

STEVE’S FREEZE-DRIED
Steve’s Real Food for Dogs
Cottonwood, UT
(801) 432-7478

Three varieties (beef, pork, and turkey) are available.

All varieties contain 49% to 51% protein and 31% to 37% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Steve’s Freeze-Dried Turkey variety contains: ground turkey, turkey necks, celery, turkey liver, romaine, watermelon, turkey hearts, bell peppers, raw goat’s milk, flaxseed, dried kelp, cod liver oil, coconut oil, inulin, sesame seeds, sea salt, mixed tocopherols, eggshell membrane, dicalcium phosphate$33 / 1/25 lbs.STEWART RAW NATURALS
Stewart Pet
Morraine, OH
(800) 635-2044

Seven nugget varieties (beef, bison, chicken, chicken & salmon, lamb, turkey, and “puppy”) and two patty varieties (beef, chicken) are available.

All varieties contain 30% to 47% protein and 26% to 44% fat and are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Stewart Raw Naturals Chicken variety contains: chicken, ground chicken bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, cantaloupe, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, egg, ground flaxseed, inulin, salmon oil, apple cider vinegar, blueberry, cranberry, dried kelp, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, whole ginger, whole parsley, whole garlic, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, mixed tocopherols, vitamin D supplementNuggets:
$18 – $25 / 12 oz.
$31 – $36 / 24 oz.

 

Patties:
$14 – $17 / 11 oz.TRUDOG
Trupet, LLC
Oldsmar, FL
(800) 476-8808

Two grain-free varieties are available (beef and turkey).

The products contain 41% to 46% protein and 15% to 28% fat. They are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Trudog Turkey variety contains: ground turkey with bone, turkey heart, turkey liver, herring oil, mixed tocopherols$26 – $30 / 14 oz.VITAL ESSENTIALS
Vital Essentials
Green Bay, WI
(800) 743-0322

Vital Essentials makes its grain-free freeze-dried diets in patties (beef), mini patties (beef, chicken, duck, turkey), nibblets (beef, chicken, turkey), and “mini-nibs” (beef, chicken, duck, turkey).

The products contain 45% to 51% protein and 22% to 27% fat. They are formulated to be complete and balanced for dogs of all life stages.

Vital Essentials Mini Patties Chicken variety contain: ground chicken with bone, chicken heart, chicken liver, herring oil, mixed tocopherols, d-alpha tocopherolPatties:
$50 / 1.875 lbs.

 

Mini patties:
$21 – $26 / 1 lb.

Nibblets:
$24 – $26 / 1 lb.

Mini-nibs:
$24- $28 / 1 lb.TRUFOOD MAKE IT FRESH
Wellpet
Tewksbury, MA
(800) 225-0904

Four grain-free varieties are available (beef, lamb, salmon, and turkey).

The products contain 21% to 25% protein and 8% to 13% fat. They are formulated to be complete and balanced for the maintenance of adult dogs.

Trufoods Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, and Cranberries variety contains: turkey, sweet potatoes, whole egg, chickpea flour, flaxseed, carrots, cranberries, potatoes, apples, turkey liver, tricalcium phosphate, fenugreek seed, pumpkin, kelp, parsley, rosemary, coconut, kale, ginger root, broccoli, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous fumarate, copper sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid$80 / 7 lbs.WHOLE LIFE LIFEBITES
Whole Life Pet Products
Pittsfield, MA
(877) 210-3142

Three grain-free varieties are available (chicken, duck, and salmon).

Each of the products contain 49% protein and 25% fat. They are formulated to be complete and balanced for the maintenance of adult dogs.

Wholelife Lifebites Chicken variety contains: chicken, sweet potato, chicken liver, peas, carrots, apples, blueberries, pumpkin, yogurt, tricalcium phosphate, flaxseed, chia seed, vitamins and minerals (zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, potassium iodide, thiamin mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement)$15 – $20 / 16 oz.

 

Have YOU Tried Freeze-Dried Foods?

When they have been rehydrated, freeze-dried foods that are sold as human treats (such as strawberries, bananas, and papayas) taste remarkably similar to (or even better than) their fresh, moist counterparts. This is due to the speed and low temperature of the freeze-drying process, as compared to any sort of dehydration process; freeze-drying concentrates the flavor of foods.

Does this matter to your dog? You’d have to offer him different products to find out, but our guess would be that he will enjoy them very much. In our experience, even sick, fussy, and stressed dogs get pretty enthusiastic about freeze-dried foods very quickly. We know many trainers who use freeze-dried meats as training treats in their classes; the products tend to draw out even highly stressed or distracted dogs.

We regard these freeze-dried dog food products as our “ace in the hole” when nursing sick foster puppies back to health. Sick puppies often stop eating, which causes low blood sugar and endangers them further, so if you can find something that will tempt them into eating even just a few bites, they have a better chance of recovering. When a pup won’t eat even canned food or formula, often they will eat a few bits of rehydrated freeze-dried foods.

Nancy Kerns is editor of Whole Dog Journal.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I was concerned about the stated high protein and fat on Stella and Chewy freeze dried. I contacted S&T and they indicated that the Protein and Fat content on the package was for the dried. Once rehydrated the food had a significantly lower protein and fat %. See S&C response below …
    Product Analysis:
    Guaranteed Analysis:
    Crude Protein (min.)
    48.0%
    Crude Fat (min.)
    28.0%
    Crude Fiber (max.)
    5.0%
    Moisture (max.)
    5.0%
    —————————————-
    Rehydrated Analysis:
    Crude Protein (min.)
    15.0%
    Crude Fat (min.)
    9.0%
    Crude Fiber (max.)
    2.0%
    Moisture (max.)
    72.0%

  2. Well, yes… If you add water to something, the total percentage of what’s in a cup of it will contain less of everything that is NOT water. The question is, do you add water to the diet? Many of us use this diet as training treats, without adding water.

    Keep in mind that if you want to compare the total fat and protein of a dry food (@10% moisture) to a dehydrated food @5% moisture) to a rehydrated food (depends on how much water you add) to a canned food (@70-80% moisture), you should calculate the “dry matter” percentages of each. When you do so, you will see that on a dry matter basis, these foods are still high in fat and protein.

  3. man!, the confusion!, one must become a geek freak… to understand what has been done naturally for thousands if not millions of years. …and the data is fed in as many unit forms as can be mustered up, oz, cups, pounds, 1/x pounds… wtf!! why not exposing it as nano-grams while you’re at it!

    As usual the price becomes prohibitive.

    So, the only way one can work thru this standard industries cover-up is to gather the data and place it in a spreadsheet with all factors reduced to PHCKNG directly intelligible layman’s terms/values.
    Everything in the bio-world is high water content 50% and above.
    All dogs do not eat the same volume/weight per sitting/per day.

    To make real life sense one must calculate/visualize while water is included. Yet all the data comes at the dry level!?
    Taking a median value(72% hydration)… how much of each of these dried foods will equate to a natural volume/quality amount!?
    …and if the food is 5% hydration, what does 72% hydration really mean!? a 77% blob of pasty mashed-potato-choke-me-dry-gulp-gulp-multiple trips-to-the-water-pail-as-I-try-to-down-this-sweat-soakin’-concoction!?

    They say, any pellet food is ok as long as you add the $1.27 powder scoop of vital ingredients to the daily intake of the hapless doggy!
    One bag of that food %40.00 per month, + 1 jar of powder $1.27 per day() or $40.00, and promptly doggy food cost is doubled. …and the poison(s) mentioned in the original shite are still present! So, sell me shite and then a shite-fixer to fix the original shite. The stench seems to remain strong, while some greedy bastard vet rolls in millions!

    What a scam!

    In the days of farms, lonnnnng long ago there were a structure that was conducive to a family setting, including pets, and it worked quite well… the modern world has changed the structure while it lags behind in putting in place proper safe, thoughtful technology to match the natural order, free of profiteers who cut corners and lie about it.

    If a puppy cost a $million a life-time to feed there would be 3 pets in the world!

    Thank you for the article, it a least brings some info to the debate.

  4. I noticed that Orijin Freeze Dried Raw Tundra was not included. Because I keep my dog away from chicken, beef and Turkey due to possible allergies, I have consistently used Tundra. I’m wondering why it wasn’t included. Also, I recently added Open Farm Freeze Dried Lamb (also not included). I have one 20lb dog and price is not an issue. I just want him to have the best food available for him. Because he is a rescue I’m not sure of his age, but my vet and I suspect he is around 8 or 9 years old. I really need direction.

  5. I didn’t find the first 4 of these to be online stores, but I’m still visiting the list. Distance is an issue. Shipping is ideal.
    – ‘Respect2Glory’ almost everywhere.

  6. Nancy,
    Great article, thank you, very thorough and confused, you’re a great writer! I would like to know which companies practice the “test and hold” method you mentioned? I don’t want it pasteurized, but I also want safety. Test & hold wound perfect!

    Bugler, love the argument. I’d love to know which essential toppers you would recommend!

  7. Nancy,
    Great article, thank you, very thorough and concised*, you’re a great writer! I would like to know which companies practice the “test and hold” method you mentioned? I don’t want it pasteurized, but I also want safety. Test & hold wound perfect!

    Bugler, love the argument. I’d love to know which essential toppers you would recommend!

  8. Nancy,
    Great article, thank you, very thorough and concised*, you’re a great writer! I would like to know which companies practice the “test and hold” method you mentioned? I don’t want it pasteurized, but I also want safety. Test & hold sounds perfect!

    Bugler, love the argument. I’d love to know which essential toppers you would recommend!

  9. Nancy,
    Great article, thank you, very thorough and concised*, you’re a great writer! I would like to know which companies practice the “test and hold” method you mentioned? I don’t want it pasteurized, but I also want safety. Test & hold sounds perfect!

    Bugler, love the argument. I’d love to know which essential toppers you would recommend!

  10. It seems all the pet stores near me and so many internet sites are recommending feeding at least a percentage of raw food so although the word “raw” (i’m giving my age away) sends shivers up my spine, I am thinking of trying one of these for my dogs (this whole DCM thing keeps me up at night). Anyway, the high protein and fat levels concern me as my dogs are six years old and are thus approaching senior hood, Are these appropriate for older dogs?

  11. I have added I and you and Love to our rescues grain free kibble. Would like to know if this freeze dried raw food is a good quality for our beloved pets.

  12. What about Dr. Marty’s product? It is dried freeze and I saw the whole ads. It was produced by only one Canadian vendor , which was only willing to provide human grade products with non by product, organic, non GMO, non- additive and etc. It sounds quite high standard. My dog, 2 -year -old havanese, keeps licking his paws, it became so red, losing hair.
    I have been looking for better food in case he has an allergy on food. I feel like it is a bit from chicken though.

  13. I am having a hard time understanding your list. Are you only recommending 4 brands? Or, are the ones that follow also recommended? I have never seen an author reply to ANY of the questions in your comments. section. And, while I subscribe to your website for up to date guidance, I may have to reconsider given that it appears that you do not monitor or answer relevant comments and questions. With hopes that you will reply to this question!

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