While in the wild, dogs’ ancestors fed on raw flesh. Like raw flesh, unprocessed raw dog foods – frozen or fresh – are the best choice. They have all their nutrients intact and natural enzymes intact.
However, these raw diets do present several challenges, which include meats harboring germs such as Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, Yersinia and so on and they require refrigeration, among other issues. A discussion for another a day.
The second best after raw foods are freeze-dried dog diets. What are freeze-dried dog foods? Do they have any benefits? Which are some of the best brands to buy for your Fido?
What are freeze-dried dog foods?
Freezing drying (lyophilization or cryodesiccation) is a food preservation method. It involves freezing and dehydrating perishable foods in a frozen state under low pressure and temperature. You can freeze-dry both raw and cooked foods.
It occurs by rapid freezing (flash-freezing) of the foods followed by vaporization of the ice formed during the freezing step directly into vapor (sublimation) under a vacuum, low temperature, and using minimal heat to avoid the ice turning into liquid.
This process removes almost all the moisture, and the resultant food is about 97% dry, preventing microbial activity just as drying does, thereby extending their shelf-life.
Finally, since the process requires costly specialized equipment, it is not practical to do it at home
Benefits of freeze-dried dog foods
Freeze-dried dog foods a superior in terms of taste, quality, and nutrition when compared to canned or dry kibbles. Some of their benefits include the following:
1. Raw or lightly processed to preserve taste and nutrients
Most of the manufacturers use raw ingredients or lightly process (where necessary) to ensure they closely resemble their original state.
Secondly, since the preservation happens under a frozen state, the food retains most of its natural taste, nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients), natural enzymes, and nutrition. Cooking and processing of the usual canned or dog kibble usually degrade heat-sensitive nutrients.
Finally, they retain their initial shape (structure), size, and may also maintain their color and appearance. You can even identify a pea, broccoli, or meat. However, this is not valid for some foods.
2. High-quality ingredients with high meat amount
Most freeze-dried canine diets have high-quality ingredients sourced from animals humanely raised, grass-fed, or animal from meats certified organic such as by the USDA or other certified bodies. Additionally, these foods are predominantly (up to 95%) made with animal muscle meat, their organs, or raw ground bones.
However, manufacturers may add some vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients to enhance nutrition, provide antioxidants, and fiber. Commonly added veggies and fruits include spinach, carrots, parsley, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and so on.
3. Grain-free and no preservatives
Most of these diets are grain-free since manufacturers consider that many buyers won’t want freeze-dried foods with grains. They also don’t have preservatives, especially artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. However, some may have natural preservatives.
4. Longer shelf-life without refrigeration
They are lower in moisture (3-4%). Therefore, once in sealed moisture-tight packaging, these diets can last for longer than kibbles or canned dog foods and don’t need refrigeration. However, if opened, they may absorb moisture that will support microbial activity.
5. Rehydrate faster
When compared to dry kibbles, these diets rehydrate faster and regain their texture, flavor, and aroma, something your pet will enjoy.
While they are nutritionally superior and a better quality diet than kibble or canned foods, they do present disadvantages that include:
- They are expensive – Since manufacturers use premium ingredients, including organic ones and their freeze-drying is energy-intensive and costly equipment, they are expensive.
- Bulkier and frail – While they will be lighter in weight, they are bulky since they retain their shape. Furthermore, some may be frail and crumble easily if poorly handled.
- They may be unsuitable for some dogs – Some dogs digest cooked foods better than raw diets, making freeze-dried or raw diets, not the right choice for them.
- May have pathogens – Freeze-drying is not a kill-step. Therefore, these diets may have remnant pathogens that were present in their raw carcasses. If you rehydrate them, they may become active unless the food undergoes high-pressure processing (HPP), otherwise known as cold pasteurization. HPP which deactivates microorganism and enzymes.
Tips for buying the best freeze-dried dog food
The moment you decide you want to give a freeze-dried dog or puppy food, here are critical considerations to help you make the right decision.
1. Look at the product label
Produce labels will guide you on the life stage and tell you if they are complete and balanced for the specific life stage. There are freeze-dried foods for puppies, nursing or pregnant dogs, and adult maintenance. Furthermore, there are diets large, small, older, or senior dogs.
In case your pet has a particular condition that requires a therapeutic diet such as one low in fats, phosphorus, protein, and so on, let your vet guide you on ideal foods.
Don’t forget to look at guaranteed analysis as well as a list of ingredients to ensure they don’t have artificial preservatives, flavors or color (uncommon in these foods). Also, avoid those without a named protein source, very high in fats (more than proteins),
Finally, check the expiry date to ensure it will still be fresh by the time your pet finishes it.
2. Do you need complete and balanced diets or toppers
Dog food toppers or mixers help enhance nutrition, improve palatability (make the food more delicious, better tasting, and bring variety). Some are complete and balanced, while others are not.
Therefore, when buying freeze-dried dog foods, ensure they are complete and balanced (whole meals fed alone) for their intended life stage. However, if you want mixers or toppers for your dog, they don’t have to be complete and balanced
3. Avoid cheap, low-quality brands
Avoid cheap, low-quality brands, especially those not well packaged. Poor packaging may allow in moisture and, consequently, spoil the food by encouraging microbial activity. How would a manufacturer afford freeze-dried diets but fail to package well?
4. Don’t confuse those coated or having freeze-dried bits
Some dog diets are only coated with freeze-dried raw meats, poultry, fish, and so on while the food themselves re not. A good example is the CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Ancestral Fish Formula Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Dog Food, which is raw coated using freeze-dried fresh salmon to enhance their taste and nutrition.
In some, freeze-dried foods are only a small part, while the remaining diet is dehydrated.
5. Consider your dog’s preference
While some dogs will like the powdery foods that turn mushy, others prefer large chunks in which they can identify the meat, vegetable, or fruit. Furthermore, consider specific ingredients that your Fido doesn’t like or causes allergies or intolerances.
6. Consider raw material sourcing and place of manufacturing
Go for manufacturers that source and manufacture their foods where there are stricter quality control and manufacturing guidelines. Such as in the US, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, or most of the Western European nations.
All the raw materials should be free on any pollutant, hormones or antibiotics such as grass-fed animals, cage-free poultry, and so on.
When to buy freeze-dried dog food
If you can afford it, they are a better choice of dogs. Otherwise, some of the common instances you want these canine diets are:
- If you use homemade dog foods and you are traveling (like on long a road trip), going to camp, or you want to leave your pet to a dog sitter who may not manage the hassle preparing homemade foods or handling raw foods.
- Since they are tastier and more nutritious, they will be an excellent choice for picky, old, sick, or dogs with poor appetites. Also, they will be suitable for jump-start recovery or extend the life of a chronically ill canine. However, if immunocompromised, talk to your vet.
- Buy them if you intend to use them as topper or mixers. People with large dogs may find them a yummy topper since it will be expensive for them to rely on only freeze-dried foods.
Best freeze-dried Dog foods reviews
While reviewing the best freeze-dried dog foods, we only considered complete and balanced dog foods or mixers and toppers that can also be fed alone. Otherwise, see the best freeze-dried dog mixers and toppers or best freeze-dried treats or nuggets.
As a precaution, don’t forget to wash with hot soapy water on surfaces used for handing the food, food bowls, and your hands as they may harbor germs.
1. Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Patties Dinner Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
Life stage: Adult dogs of all breeds and sizes, including small, medium and large breeds
Chewy’s Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties is a delicious raw adult dog made with minimal processing to resemble this pet’s ancestral diet closely. It is one of the many premium quality and biological appropriate Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried raw dog dinner patties to buy.
- Protein-rich and nutritious, i.e., it is made with 95% raw, cage-free chicken, organs, and pure chicken bones together with a blend of nutritious 100% organic fruits and vegetables.
- The food has added vitamins, minerals, and taurine to make it complete and balanced.
- No added antibiotics, hormones, or fillers, and it doesn’t have gluten, peas, potatoes, or grains.
- It has probiotics to boost digestion and antioxidant to help create an oxidative balance and boost immunity.
- You can serve it with or without rehydration.
- First ingredients: Chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, pumpkin seed, organic cranberries, organic spinach, organic broccoli, organic beets, organic carrots, organic squash, organic blueberries, and fenugreek seed.
- Calorie content: it has a calculated 4420 kcal ME /kg or 50 kcal/patty
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 48%, Crude Fats (min): 28%, crude fiber (max): 5.0%, moisture (max) 5.0%, microorganisms (min): 50,000,000 CFU/Oz.
Besides the Chicken Dinner, others most voted are the Duck Duck Goose, Absolute Rabbit, and Super Beef Dinner Patties. Also, you can buy the Simply Venison, Beef & Salmon Puppy, Chicken & Salmon Perfectly Puppy, Pure Pork, Tantalizing Turkey, Venison Blend, and Surf ‘N Turf Dinner Patties
2. Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food Nuggets Lamb Formula
Life stages: All life stages (puppy, adult, nursing, or pregnant dogs).
Primal freeze-dried nuggets lamb formula is an easy to prepare and yummy choice of canine diet made with ethically raised lamb. You only need to measure the right portion, shred it before rehydrating with water. Alternatively, you can rehydrate with raw goat’s milk or bone broth.
- It is formulated with 77% fresh lamb organs, vital essential fatty acids, amino acids, and finely ground bones to provide calcium.
- The food is antioxidant and vitamins A, C, D, and vitamin B-complex rich, thanks to the added blend certified organic, nutritious fruits and vegetables.
- It doesn’t contain any synthetic vitamins, antibiotics, corn, soy, or wheat.
- First ingredients: Lamb Hearts, lamb livers, ground lamb bones, organic kale, organic carrots, organic squash, organic broccoli, organic apples, organic cranberries, organic blueberries, organic pumpkin seeds, and organic sunflower seeds.
- Calorie content: 6,354 kcal per kg, or 180 kcal per Oz.
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 39.0%, Crude Fats (min): 38%, crude fiber (max): 1.0%, moisture (max) 3.0%, ash (max):3.9%.
Besides the lamb formula, you can also try the Canine Chicken Formula, Duck Formula, Beef Formula, Venison Formula, Pork Formula, Rabbit Formula, and Or Turkey & Sardine Formula.
3. Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper
Life stage: Adult small, medium, or large dog breeds.
Nothing will transform the usual boring kibble mealtime like a few scoops of Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper. Your dog will go crazy with every bite, thanks to this tasty, mixer or topper, which you can also feed as a complete and balanced meal.
- Protein-rich topper with 95% raw beef, nutrient rich-organs, and bones obtained from grass-fed cattle plus nutrient and antioxidant-rich wholesome organic fruits and vegetables.
- Increased content of vitamins and minerals and added taurine to boost nutrition.
- The mixer is enriched with antioxidants as well as probiotics to support healthy immunity and digestion, respectively.
- It doesn’t have hormones, antibiotics, gluten, grains, artificial preservatives, colorings, and worthless fillers as well as pea, lentil, or potatoes.
- Besides being a mixer, you can serve it as a complete and balanced diet to your dogs, both with and without rehydration. Use their free-feeding chart or calculator to determine the amount depending on your dog size.
- First ingredients: Beef, beef liver, beef kidney, beef heart, beef tripe, beef bone, pumpkin seed, organic cranberries, organic spinach, organic broccoli, organic beets, organic carrots, organic squash, organic blueberries, and fenugreek seed.
- Calorie content: it has a calculated 4940 kcal ME /kg or 56 kcal/ 0.25 a cup
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 44%, Crude Fats (min): 35%, crude fiber (max): 5.0%, moisture (max) 5.0%, microorganisms (min): 50,000,000 CFU/Oz.
Besides Stella’s Super Beef meal mixer, others are Chicken Meal, Tantalizing Turkey, Savory Salmon and Cod, Dandy Lamb, Duck Duck Goose, and Purely Pork Meal mixers.
Finally, besides mixes, Stella & Chewy’s have Freeze Dried Lil Bites (for small dogs), Dinner Patties, Meal Mixer Superblends, and Dog supplement powders.
4. TruDog: Feed Me Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood for Dogs
Life stages: All dog breeds and ages.
TruDog’s Feed Me Crunchy Munchy Beef Bonanza is a nutrient-rich, delicious, and precisely crafted dog food made with non-split, recognizable, and producible ingredients. It will support your dog’s overall health, a shiny coat, dental health, manage weight, and keep them energetic.
- TruDog utilizes whole prey principle, i.e., the food has the highest-quality cuts of beef meat, heart, liver, tripe, kidney, ground bones, and fat without any added fruits and vegetables.
- It will support healthy digestion, weight, gum, and teeth as well as ensure your dog has a strong immunity as boost overall health and wellbeing.
- Easy to digest, hypoallergenic dog food made with a single protein source and limited ingredients.
- The diet doesn’t have any gluten, corn, wheat, soy, grains, fillers, antibiotics, artificial flavors, or colors, as well as no added salts, sugar, or hormones.
- First ingredients: beef, beef tripe, beef lung, ground beef bone, beef liver, beef heart, beef kidney, beef blood, beef fat, and herring oil.
- Calorie content: 4,595 kcal/kg and 286.59 kcal/cup.
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 42%, crude fat (min):28%, crude fiber (max): 6%, moisture (max): 5%, Bacillus coagulans (min): 1,000,000,000 CFU/lb.
Other Flavors: Feed Me Turkey, whitefish, and Truducken Freeze-dried raw superfoods
5. Open Farm Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Harvest Chicken Recipe
Life stages – All life stages
This Chicken Recipe is a delicious and very nutritious complete, and balanced food that your dog will find hard to resist. Just scope, serve, and watch your dog going crazy.
- Protein-rich, i.e., has 85% fresh, raw chicken, organs, and bones sourced from 100% certified Humane® farms that don’t have any antibiotics or by-products of meat and poultry.
- Rich in vitamin A, C, and K, that will support cardiovascular and liver health, thanks to the added blend of organically certified leafy greens, squash, pumpkin seeds, and so on.
- Usable as a complete and balanced meal or as a dog food topper.
- All ingredients used are 100% traceable to their origin.
- It has added superfoods such as blueberries and non-GMO coconut oil.
- Doesn’t have artificial colors, preservatives or flavors
- First ingredients: Chicken with ground bone, chicken livers, chicken necks, chicken hearts, organic carrots, organic blueberries, and organic squash.
- Calorie content: 5250 kcal per kg or 208kcal/cup
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 41%, crude fat (min):33%, crude fiber (max): 3.5%, moisture (max): 5%.
Besides the chicken recipe, Open Farms has Surf & Turf, Grass-Fed Beef, Homestead Turkey, Farmer’s Table Pork, Pasture-Raised Lamb recipes as well as Shiny Fur & Coat Bundle, Puppy Essentials Pack and Better Bowl Bundle.
6. Sojos Complete Turkey Recipe Adult Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Dog Food – Cheapest
Life stage: Adult maintenance
Sojos Complete Turkey Recipe is cheapest freeze-dried a delicious and meticulous made dog food that only requires hydration, soaking it for about 15 minutes and serving it to your dog.
- It has real raw, freeze-dried turkey raised without any genetic engineering as its first ingredient and other healthy ingredients, including whole eggs, flaxseed, sweet potatoes, and cranberries, among others.
- No grains, gluten, soy, fillers, genetically engineered ingredients, artificial colors, flavor or preservatives
- Its manufacturing occurs in small batches without any ingredients from China.
- Offers a trial size turkey recipe for people who have picky eaters.
- First ingredients: Turkey, sweet potatoes, whole egg, broccoli, apples, ﬂax seeds, cranberries, celery, turkey liver, tricalcium phosphate, basil, pumpkin, ginger root, and dried kelp.
- Calorie content: 3604 kcal ME per kg or 342 kcal ME per cup.
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min): 28.0%, Crude Fats (min): 12%, crude fiber (max): 4.0%, moisture (max) 10.0%
If your canine loves this diet, you still have the beef, Lamp, Goat, and Chicken, Pork as well as Turkey Salmon Recipe Puppy and Senior Dog food. You can also go for the trial size foods.
7. Stewart Raw Naturals Freeze-Dried Dog Food Grain Free – Lamb Recipe
Life stage: All life stages including growth of large size dogs (70 pounds or over as adults).
A proper diet is a surefire way to ensure your dog is healthy, has vigor and energy. Steward’s Lamb recipe, which is protein and nutrient-dense, will deliver this and a lot more to your canine friend.
- A wholesome meal with 80% lamb, organs and ground bones, 18% vegetables and fruits while the remainder is supplements and minerals.
- It is formulated with human-grade ingredients with only a single protein source from New Zealand and the US to help deal with food sensitivities or allergies.
- Grain-free, soy-free, gluten-free and free of any artificial additives (flavors, colors or preservatives)
- Will support healthy skin and ensure a shiny coat, thanks to the high omega fatty acids.
- First ingredients: Lamb, lamb heart, lamb liver, ground lamb bone, broccoli, apples, carrots, cantaloupe, egg, ground flaxseed, and salmon oil.
- Calorie content: 5611 ME Kcal/kg (255 kcal per cup)
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min): 40.0%, Crude Fats (min): 31%, crude fiber (max): 5.0%, moisture (max) 8.0%, omega 3 fatty acids (min) 3%, omega 6 fatty acids (min): 6%
Besides the lamb, Steward Raw Naturals also have freeze-dried beef, chicken, turkey, chicken, and wild salmon recipes as well as a puppy formula. They also have chicken and beef patties.
8. Vital Essentials Beef Entree Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Life stage: All life stages
If you need a genuinely single protein source, limited ingredient freeze-dried dog food with a perfect texture, which you can serve without necessarily rehydrating, Vital Essentials Beef Entree Mini Nibs is all you need.
- Made with real raw farm-raised beef, its organ rich in protein and amino acids together with ground bones.
- Has smaller kibbles making it ideal for smaller dog breeds
- No added artificial ingredients, including preservatives and flavors, antibiotics, or hormones.
- It features a guilt-free, gluten-free, and grain-free formulation.
- First ingredients: Beef, beef lung, beef liver, beef stomach, beef heart, beef fat, beef kidney, beef blood, and herring oil.
- Calorie content: 4,500 kcal/kg or 128 kcal/oz.
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude protein (min): 51%, crude fat (min): 23%, crude fiber (max): 2%, moisture (max): 7%.
Besides Beef Entree Mini Nibs, you can also go for the equally tasty and yummy Chicken, Rabbit, Salmon, and Turkey Mini Nibs.
9. Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets – Beef Recipe
Life stages: All life stages
Northwest Natural’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets is a healthy and protein and nutrient sumptuous meal or snack ideal for all dogs, including the injured, those recovering after surgeries, small breeds, or seniors with dental problems.
- It is highly palatable. Even the pickiest dogs will find it hard to resist these nuggets.
- Made with 80% beef, beef organs, and ground bones (about 10%) obtained from the USA raised, grass-fed beef free of antibiotics and hormones
- No gluten or grains including soy, wheat and corn.
- The recipe uses human-grade proteinated minerals and vitamins for optimum absorption.
- They are easy to break into smaller pieces for use as a treat or crumble to use them as a dog food topper.
- All ingredients undergo USDA inspection and only used if they pass.
- First ingredients: Beef, beef heart, beef liver, ground beef bone, beef kidney, broccoli, carrots, apples, romaine lettuce, and ground flaxseed.
- Calorie content: 5180 kcal ME per kg or an equivalent calculated 182 Kcal ME per kg.
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 41%, crude fat (min):34%, crude fiber (max): 6%, moisture (max): 5%, ash: 5%, carbohydrates: 9%, calcium: 2.47%, phosphorus: 1.47%, magnesium: 0.09%, sodium: 0.57%, zinc: 207ppm, copper: 43 ppm.
Besides the beef recipe, the other yummy alternatives are chicken recipe, lamb, turkey, Chicken & Salmon, as well as whitefish & salmon.
10. Buckley Liberty Freeze-Dried Dog Food – Lamb Recipe
Life stage: All life stages, including the growth of large size dogs (70 pounds or over as adults).
This Buckley Liberty lamb recipe food is formulated to perfection with whole prey nutrition and enriched with the healthiest oils and antioxidant-rich vegetables to ensure your dog receives ideal nutrition to thrive.
- It has 80% lamb meat, organ meat, and ground bones together with fruits and vegetables that are nutrient and antioxidant-rich.
- No hormones, grains, antibiotics, soy, corn, wheat, fillers, artificial colors, or preservatives.
- You can use it as a complete and balanced meal, a topper, or treat with or without rehydrating it.
- The diet has added flaxseeds, fish and salmon oil are a potent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids useful for reducing blood pressure, inflammation, as well as promoting skin and coat health.
- First ingredients: lamb heart, lamb liver, ground lamb bone, squash, apples, carrots, broccoli, eggs, ground flaxseed, inulin, blueberries, cranberries.
- Calorie content: 4700 Kcal ME/kg or 173kcal ME/cup
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min) 45%, crude fat (min): 36%, crude fiber (mix): 5% moisture (max): 5%.
Alternative recipes: Buckley Liberty Freeze Dried Lamb and Chicken Recipes
11. Nulo Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Beef with Apples
Life stags: All life stages including growth of large size dogs (70 pounds or over as adults)
Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Beef with Apples gives your dog to enjoy whole prey benefits without all the hassle of raw foods. This healthy dog diet that is minimally processed can serve as a complete and balanced meal or side dish.
- This diet’s formulation uses only a single protein source, i.e., the food has 83% beef, organs, and bone with the balance being a blend of various healthy fruits and vegetables such as apples, broccoli, and spinach for extra vitamins and nutrients.
- Besides being protein-rich and having an optimum amino acid profile, it is has balanced fats that mimic ancestral dog’s prey.
- Enriched with GanedenBC30 probiotics to support digestion and boost immunity
- It has whole-food carbohydrates from sources such as chickpeas and sweet potatoes that are low glycemic.
- First ingredients: Beef, beef heart, beef liver, beef kidneys, ground beef bone, apples, broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, kale, spinach, parsley, blueberries, apple cider vinegar, and ground flaxseed.
- Calorie content: 4,329 kcal/kg and 195 kcal/cup.
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 42%, crude fat (min):28%, crude fiber (max): 6%, moisture (max): 5%, Bacillus coagulans (min): 1,000,000,000 CFU/lb.
Besides Beef with Apple Lamb with Raspberries, Turkey with Strawberries, Turkey with Cranberries, and duck with pears Recipes
12. Grandma Lucy’s PUREformance Dog Food, Grain-Free, and Freeze-Dried Chicken
Life stage: All Life Stages, including growth of large size dogs (70lb or more as an adult).
Grandma Lucy’s PUREformance chicken recipe is delicious and yummy dog food made with superior quality chicken protein together with a nutritious mix of vegetables, chickpea, and fruits sourced from restaurant supplies.
- Nutritious, yummy and made with fresh raw chicken without hormones, antibiotics or steroid, chickpeas (low glycemic, a good source of protein, dietary fiber, and folic acid) and selected vegetables and fruits packed to provide beta carotene, vitamin C, E, antioxidants, minerals, and so on.
- Made with only carefully chosen and inspected ingredients.
- All the food is made in small batches to ensure consistency
- Gluten-free and doesn’t have preservatives
- First ingredients: Chicken, chickpeas, flax, carrots, celery, apples, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, pumpkin, papaya, spinach, and garlic.
- Calorie content: The food has calculated of 3815 kcal/kg ME or an equivalent of 492 kcal/cup ME
- Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min): 34%, crude fat (min):14%, crude fiber (max): 6.5%, moisture (max): 6.1%, ash: 5%, calcium (min): 1.3%, phosphorus (min): 1.1%, magnesium (max): 0.13%.
Besides the chicken recipe, you can have the option of going for the PUREformance fish, rabbit, or lamb. However, note that all their premix, including PUREformance, Macana, or Artisan Premix, are for supplemental or intermittent feeding.
13. Orijen Freeze-Dried Dog Food – Tundra Formula
Life stage: All breeds and all life stages
Orijen Freeze-dried Tundra Formula is a whole prey, nutrient-dense, protein-rich dog food made to support a dog’s health, energy requirements while ensuring every mealtime is a happy time.
- It is made with a blend of meats, organs, cartilage, and bone from various protein sources for more all-round nutrition, i.e., “free-run duck, ranch-raised venison, grass-fed lamb, wild-caught flounder and herring, wild boar, and goat,” as Orijen notes.
- Low glycemic
- Even fussy eaters will find it very palatable.
- First ingredients: Raw venison meat (19 %), raw duck meat ground with bone (18.5%), raw flounder (13.5%), raw lamb meat (12%), raw duck liver (5%), raw herring (4%), raw lamb liver (4%), raw wild boar liver (2.5%), raw wild boar meat (2%), raw goat meat (2%).
- Calorie content: 75 kcal/medallion.
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 37%, crude fat (min): 34%, crude fiber (max): 5%, moisture (max): 4%, ash (max): 9%, dietary starch (max): 1%, sugar (max): 1.5%, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) (min): 0.2%, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) (min): 0.2%, calcium (min): 1.4 %, calcium (max): 3.1 %, phosphorus (min): 1.2 %, phosphorus (max): 2.1%, omega-3 fatty acids (min): 1%, and omega-6 fatty acids (min): 2.5 %.
Alternatively, you can buy the equally flavorful Orijen Regional Red or Orijen Original (fed as a topper or as a complete and balanced meal)
14. BIXBI Rawbble Freeze-Dried Duck Recipe Dog Food
Life stage: small and medium puppies and all adult dogs.
This BIXBI Duct Recipe uses whole animal nutrition to deliver a delectable and nutritious canine diet that your dog will find irresistible and more beneficial than the ordinary dry kibble.
- Comprises of 98% cage-free duct meat, bones, and organs.
- Will support healthy teeth and gums.
- Gluten and gluten-free.
- No animal meal, rendered by-products, hormone, antibiotics, fillers, as well as artificial preservatives or colors.
- First ingredients: duck with ground bone, duck liver, duck heart, pumpkin, fenugreek seed, coconut oil, and salmon oil.
- Calorie content: 4,700kcal ME/kg, 173 kcal ME/cup
- Guaranteed analysis: Crude protein (min): 52%, crude fat (min): 30%, crude fiber (max): 2%, moisture (max): 7%, ash:8%, calcium: 2.1%, phosphorus: 1.6%, potassium: 0.87%, sodium: 0.44%, chloride: 0.60%, magnesium: 0.10%, iron: 253 mg/kg, copper: 71.4 mg/kg, manganese: 14.19 mg/kg, zinc: 283 mg/kg, iodine: 2.31 mg/kg, selenium: 0.47 mg/kg.
Other great brands of freeze-dried dog foods
- K9 Natural Lamb Feast Raw Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food
- Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals Grain-Free Recipe Dog Food
- Nature’s Blend, Dr. Marty’s Premium Freeze-Dried Dog Food
- Bravo! Homestyle Complete Freeze-Dried Dog Dinners
- Dr. Harvey’s Oracle Grain-Free Complete Dog Food with Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken for Dogs
- Small Batch Freeze Dried Batch Sliders
No. While they are all food preservation methods designed to help retain nutrients, freeze-drying involves vaporization of frozen foods and helps keep most nutrients and loses the highest percentage of moisture.
On the other hand, drying is the removal of moisture by heating at a lower temperature, and the food retains slightly higher moisture about 10%.
Finally, air drying is where the foods are placed in chambers that have circulated air to help remove water slowly with foods losing only about 85% of the moisture.
Yes. Most manufacturers recommend rehydration as it makes the foods bulkier, helps your dog get full faster, get hydrated, and make the food more palatable. However, there are brands that you don’t to wet.
It depends if the manufacturer uses any cooked ingredients or not. The low temperature at which they are dehydrated will not cook them. However, it may alter them slightly.
Raw foods are nutritionally superior and versatile than freeze-dried ones. However, they may carry more pathogens that may affect owners or pets. Furthermore, they also need refrigeration. These realities make freeze-dried foods the best alternative if it’s not feasible to have raw diets or make home diets.
Finally, drying and air drying may affect the food’s nutritive composition, structure, taste, and look more than freeze-drying.
There is no yes or no answer. Instead, you need to know some facts about these diets. To begin with, since uncooked and freezing-drying isn’t a kill step (1), they may have pathogens. However, freeze-drying significantly reduces pathogens and stops the microbial activity.
Secondly, once rehydrated, any present microbial becomes active, making them a risk to dogs with weaker immunity, just like raw diets do but with a lower risk factor. However, it has observation has proved that most healthy dogs won’t be affected by the present pathogens.
In line with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011 that tests for pathogens in foods, some companies kill any present pathogens by subjecting their food to HPP (high-pressure processing).
However, some companies who value raw diets benefits don’t expose their foods to HPP but instead carefully source for uncontaminated ingredients or test finished products. They argue it may alter the quality of the food.