If you are a pet owner who is concerned about their pets’ dietary needs, you may be confused about what’s best to feed your fur friend. From raw diets to grain-free, there are many options in today’s pet nutrition. After a visit to a pet supply store, you may have noticed freeze-dried dog food as well as dehydrated dog food. Are they the same, or if they differ, how so? Your friends at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital are here to explain.

Freeze-Dried Dog Food vs. Dehydrated Dog Food

There are distinct processes that occur during freeze-drying versus dehydration. During dehydration, hot and dry air circulates around the food to remove water. This is an ancient technique that was done as early as 12,000 B.C. Meat, fruit, and vegetables were hung to dry in the sun as a way to preserve them for future needs. You may have even made your own dried fruit or beef jerky using the process of heat and aridity over a period of time in the oven or in a dehydrator.

Freeze-drying is a very different process for removing moisture. Food is placed in a vacuum container and cooled below freezing. Then, it is slowly heated up, which results in moisture loss. Freeze-drying was a process once used by the Incas as early as the 15th century, and the same technology was used during WWII. It has since been perfected.

The Better Option Is Freeze-Dried Dog Food, and Here’s Why

Dehydration loses more than 95% of the moisture content, as opposed to 98-99% with freeze-drying. With freeze-drying, the flavor and texture mostly remain the same, making it a better-tasting food than dehydrated products. Along with this benefit, freeze-dried food is less bulky and can be stored easily without taking up a lot of space.

Freeze-dried dog food can be rehydrated in less than 3 minutes, whereas dehydration often takes up to 10 minutes.

Freeze-dried dog food has a better appearance, unlike the leathery, darker look of dehydrated food, which some pets dislike. During dehydration, the food loses many key nutrients because of the intensive process of hot and dry air. Freeze-drying is a less invasive process that keeps enzymes, which locks in nutrition.

Clearly, the tastier and more nutritious choice is with freeze-dried diets!

Choosing the optimal diet for your cat or dog can be challenging, with so many options available. We recommend that you read more about freeze-dried dog food or consult our team about what’s best for your fur friend. We look forward to hearing from you.