Freeze-dried dog food is moist-free. Hence, it sustains a product that has better longevity and can be stored for several years. Dog food can be of various types and different diets. Freeze-dried dog food offers a substitute for a raw dog food diet. There are different ways of feeding your dog with this dried food.
You can either give it completely, mix it with other foods or use it as a treat. With so many big brands in the market offering the so-called top-quality dog foods, there are reasons why people would still go for this.
What is freeze-dried dog food?
We humans have been consuming freeze-dried food for ages now. It is not a new concept many may feel. It is a huge industry and is growing every day. By 2024, this industry is expected to be valued at $85.3 billion. Hence, not surprisingly, the inclusion of dog food has significantly contributed to an increase in its overall value.
As said before, freeze-dried food is moisture-free, pulled out through freezing techniques, and dried through various steps. As a result, the product is a dry food product that can last for years.
Unlike frozen food for humans, frozen food for the canines gets processed in a slightly different way. It goes through a procedure known as HPP (High-pressure processing). It is a pasteurization process where the number of certain bacteria gets minimized. Bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli are detrimental to our dog’s health.
Types of freeze-dried dog food
Just as other types of dog food, freeze-dried food come in different variations. The variations can be from high protein to high fat, moderate protein, to variations equal to the traditional modes of carbohydrates that we get from potatoes and lentils.
It is observed that in these freeze-dried foods, the proteins inside are generally raw, and in some variants, the starches are raw too.
The manufacturing process of freeze-dried dog food
There are several ways to produce freeze-dried dog foods. The tradition of freeze-drying the food dates back to 1200AD when the Incas were known to freeze-dry their potatoes. In today’s modern world, fresh food gets frozen first into a solid-state. Then the solid food is sent to a vacuum chamber where the solid water gets removed.
Solid water here is ice. Then in the second phase, the remaining water molecules are sucked out. By the end of the second phase, around 97% of the moisture present in the food gets removed. However, the majority of the valuable nutrients remain intact.
Pros of freeze-dried dog food
A raw diet is proven to be an ideal diet for pets. But many may face issues thinking about where to source them, how to make them, and general handling. For this, the concept of freeze-dried dog food has been introduced readily available in the markets today. It is an effective alternative to the raw diet; which pet owners ideally want to give their pets.
And it is better than raw meat in more ways than one. For example, the compositions for freeze-dried dog foods are considered fit for all breeds of dogs. Hence, it will keep the nourishment going at every stage of the dog throughout his life. Yes, you have to ensure that the composition created by you should meet the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Pet owners further appreciate that it is relatively easy to find top-quality organic ingredients, including grass-fed meats in these freeze-dried dog foods. The inclusion of additives is minimal, making it as natural as possible. And it is liked by the picky eaters. It is the best option for people who want to feed their furry friends with whole foods.
However, that does not want to cook them or make their own. Freeze-dried fresh foods are preferred by people who travel a lot with their pets. As drying shrinks the food to a small amount, carrying it is not a problem anymore. Just a pouch is enough to carry the food. It also helps in reducing freezer or fridge space as it can be kept safe on your shelves for years.
Cons of freeze-dried dog food
There are two main concerns as far as freeze-dried dog food is concerned. First, the food is taken out of its natural state by drying it completely, and further rehydrating it later when in use. By doing this, the food is way tougher to digest compared to what it would have taken to digest if consumed in the original form. Secondly, it is pretty expensive so not many people would afford it.
As per reports, freeze-dried dog foods come at around $33 per pound as compared to $10 or $11 for other types of dehydrated pet foods. Many vet doctors have expressed concerns about the process used in eliminating harmful bacteria from freeze-dried dog foods. They say that just freeze-drying is not enough to kill all bacteria.
Proper heating is essential before undergoing the freezing process. Therefore, many doctors strongly recommend against freeze-dried dog foods. They recommend food confirmed by manufacturers that it is pathogen-free.
AAFCO has mentioned that proper pet foods are treated through the heat to prevent microbial contamination. The organization has a further warming message that the food given to pups at home could affect the family members, especially children, the elderly, and people who have a comparatively weak immune system.