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The 10 Best Freeze-Dried Dog Foods In 2024

Freeze-dried dog food eliminates the time and effort required to prepare and feed a raw, natural diet. Not only does the freeze-drying method maintain more of the nutrients in the original ingredients, but it also keeps the natural flavor, making it more appetizing for your dog.

Freeze-dried dog food has a premium price tag due to the complex manufacturing process and the use of higher-quality ingredients. But freeze-dried dog food toppings can make up for this. Served on top of dry kibble, they add more nutrients and make the food taste better.

Whether you're looking for a whole freeze-dried meal or a topping to improve current dry biscuits, BestForPets has evaluations of some of the best freeze-dried dog foods to help you get the most for your money.

icon Vet Approved
icon Reviewed & Fact - Checked by

Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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Here's a brief overview of our favorite choices for 2023.

Image Product View on Amazon
1 Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food View on Amazon
2 Nature's Diet Simply Raw® Freeze-Dried Raw Whole Food Meal Nature's Diet Simply Raw® Freeze-Dried Raw Whole Food Meal View on Amazon
3 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Super Beef Meal Mixer Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Super Beef Meal Mixer View on Amazon
4 Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Dog Food, Beef Mini Nibs Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Dog Food, Beef Mini Nibs View on Amazon
5  Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain Free Gut Health Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain Free Gut Health View on Amazon
6 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Dinner Patties – Grain Free Dog Food Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Dinner Patties – Grain Free Dog Food View on Amazon
7 Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw, Ultra-Rich Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw, Ultra-Rich Grain-Free Dry Dog Food View on Amazon
8 Stella & Chewy’s – Stella’s Solutions Skin & Coat Boost Stella & Chewy’s – Stella’s Solutions Skin & Coat Boost View on Amazon
9 Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets for Dogs Chicken Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets for Dogs Chicken View on Amazon
10 ORIJEN Original Freeze Dried Medallions, Grain Free Dry Dog Food and Topper ORIJEN Original Freeze Dried Medallions, Grain Free Dry Dog Food and Topper View on Amazon

Reviews

1. Open Farm Freeze-Dried Dog Food

 Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food

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  • Type of Food: Meal or Mixer
  • Chicken, lamb, pig, turkey, beef, and Surf & Turf are the available flavors
  • Volume: 3.5 oz, 13.5 oz, 22 oz

Open Farm Freeze-Dried Dog Food  is a premium brand that offers superior quality and nutrition for dogs. They use all-natural, ethically farmed meat and wild-caught fish to cater to canines with specific dietary requirements.

Their freeze-dried products are available in poultry, turkey, pork, lamb, beef, and Surf & Turf combinations of beef and salmon, all specially formulated to meet the nutritional demands of dogs. These products are high in premium animal proteins and healthy fats, with low carbohydrates.

Their freeze-dried raw recipes consist of 85% meat protein and bones, with 15% of the highest quality fresh produce and vitamins, such as organic fruits and vegetables like blueberries, spinach, kale, pumpkin, and carrots. Other unique natural ingredients like coconut oil and turmeric are included to provide a variety of health benefits.

Although Open Farm Freeze-Dried Dog Food is expensive, investing in your pet’s health with natural ingredients of the utmost quality from a company with a commitment to ethical sourcing practices is worth it. The food can supplement your dog’s existing diet or be provided as a complete meal.

Some people might find the brand’s strong odor unpleasant, but dogs seem to enjoy it. Nevertheless, Open Farm’s transparency and ethical sourcing practices are significant positives.

Overall, Open Farm Freeze-Dried Dog Food is an excellent option for pet owners who want to provide their dogs with the highest quality nutrition.

Pros

Species-appropriate diet

Sources of humanely-raised protein

Extensive range of items

Cons

Strong smell

Pricey


2. Nature’s Diet Fresh Beef Simply Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food 

 Nature's Diet Simply Raw® Freeze-Dried Raw Whole Food Meal

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  • Type of food: rehydrated food
  • Flavor: Beef
  • Volume: 3 pounds

Nature's Diet Fresh Beef Simply Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food  is a high-quality and cost-effective option for pet owners who want to provide their furry companions with excellent nutrition.

To rehydrate this freeze-dried food, pet owners should follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a 1.5:1 ratio of water to food, with a ten-minute waiting period.

This product contains essential nutrients for dogs, including freeze-dried beef, freeze-dried bovine liver, beef broth, vitamins and minerals, probiotics, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids derived from natural food sources. Pet owners can adjust the water-to-food ratio to achieve the desired consistency, but Nature’s Diet recommends a soupy texture.

This 3-pound container of freeze-dried dog food can provide approximately 10 pounds of food when rehydrated to the appropriate consistency, making it an excellent value for pet owners.

Nature’s Diet Fresh Beef Simply Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food is made from human-grade, fresh ingredients, such as raw turkey heart, raw turkey liver, eggs, bone broth, sweet potatoes, carrots, cranberries, superfoods, and spinach. This dog food is free from fillers, grains, GMOs, artificial preservatives, soy, flavorings, and pigments.

The freeze-drying process used for this product removes moisture while preserving the nutritional value of the ingredients, making it a safe and nutritious way to feed a raw diet.

Nature’s Diet Fresh Beef Simply Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food is produced in small batches in the United States with locally sourced ingredients and humanely raised meat, making it an excellent choice for pet owners who want to provide their furry companions with the best possible nutrition.

Pros

Cheap

The primary components are based on meat

Simple to rehydrate

Cons

The manufacturer’s instructions specify an extremely moist consistency


3. Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper from Stella & Chewy’s

 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Super Beef Meal Mixer – Dog Food Topper

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  • Type of food: Topper
  • Flavor: Beef
  • Volume: 8 oz

Stella & Chewy's Stella's Super Beef Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper  is an optimal food option for pet owners who want to provide their companions with the best possible nutrition.

This topping is an excellent source of protein and essential nutrients, thanks to its high-quality beef components, including beef, beef liver, and beef kidney.

Enriched with organic fruits and vegetables, this dog food topper provides your dog with essential vitamins and minerals. With 95% beef and organs, this product can be served as a topping or a full meal.

Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers are made with high-quality beef components, ensuring that your dog receives nutritious meals. However, dogs with sensitive stomachs may have difficulty digesting the high beef content.

This dog food topper is fortified with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and antioxidants to promote your dog’s overall health.

Organic fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, cranberries, spinach, and beets, provide antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and overall vitality. Additionally, pumpkin and fenugreek seeds provide omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat.

Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers are an excellent option for pet owners who want to provide their companions with a nutritious and delicious diet. The product is made from responsibly sourced, premium ingredients with minimal processing in the United States.

This item is grain-free, low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and does not contain unnecessary additives, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

In conclusion, Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper is an ideal way to supplement your dog’s diet with nutrient-dense meat, wholesome fruits and vegetables, probiotics, and antioxidants. This highly nutritious and accessible product is sure to be a hit with your furry companion.

Pros

Includes 95% beef

Contains only organic fruits and veggies

Allows direct feeding or rehydration

Cons

Expensive

Could be too expensive for certain pets


4. Dogs and Puppies Deserve the Finest Nutrition, So Feed Them Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

 Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Dog Food

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  • Type of food: complete or topping
  • Flavor: Beef
  • Volume: 1 pound

For proper growth and development, puppies require essential nutrients, including protein, amino acids, and fatty acids. Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food is an outstanding option that meets your puppy’s nutritional requirements.

This food contains a complex of amino acids and herring oil, providing essential nutrients for your puppy’s growth and development. Mini Nibs are smaller than patties and other freeze-dried dog foods, making them easier for canines to consume.

Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs are made from high-quality animal proteins, including beef, cattle heart, beef liver, beef lung, and beef fat. This grain-free and gluten-free food contains minimal ingredients, making it suitable for canines with food allergies.

If used as a complete meal, the bag may not last as long as other freeze-dried foods. However, it can be used as a topping or training reward.

The Mini Nibs are hard, even when moistened, so they may not be suitable for younger puppies. If you prefer to crumble the food for younger puppies, you may wish to explore other options.

Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and nutrients that support your puppy’s health and well-being.

This food is ideal for canines with sensitive stomachs or food sensitivities, as it contains minimal ingredients and high-quality animal proteins. Additionally, the freeze-drying process preserves the food’s nutrients and vitamins, making it a healthy and convenient option for pet owners.

Overall, Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food is an excellent choice for those seeking a nutritious and tasty food option for their puppies.

Pros

Pieces sized appropriately for tiny jaws

The only primary component is meat

Grain-free, gluten-free, restricted ingredient diet

Cons

Bag doesn’t travel far

It is tough to break apart hard nibs


5. Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixer Grain-Free Gut Health Recipe

 Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain Free Gut Health All Natural Dog Food Topper

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  • Type of food: Topper
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Volume: 5.5 oz

Recipe for Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain-Free Gut Health Dog Food Topper  is a great addition to your dog’s diet because it is designed to be sprinkled on top of kibble or dry biscuits to create a nutritious and tasty meal. This reasonably priced option provides excellent value.

This dietary supplement contains poultry, chicken liver, and pumpkin seeds, which are excellent sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

The topper is free of grains, corn, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients, making it a great option for picky eaters and dogs with sensitive stomachs. It also contains probiotics that promote digestive health.

Adding Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain-Free Gut Health Dog Food Topper to your dog’s diet provides a variety of nutrients, making it a cost-effective alternative to purchasing raw food portions.

Introducing raw food to dogs’ diets abruptly can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting. Using a topper allows for the gradual introduction of the new food, allowing you to determine whether a raw diet is suitable for your dog’s appetite and preferences before making a full commitment.

The ingredients are freeze-dried to remove moisture carefully, preserving nutrients and intensifying flavor, making it an ideal natural dog food topper for picky eaters and puppies.

The 5.25-ounce canister of Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain-Free Gut Health Dog Food Topper contains twenty servings. However, for a dog of average size, it may only last up to four days.

It is our top choice for the best freeze-dried dog food overall due to the high quality of its ingredients and versatility.

Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain-Free Gut Health Dog Food Topper is a great choice if you’re searching for a nutritious and delicious meal supplement for your dog. It contains no artificial colors or preservatives and is formulated with natural ingredients that promote digestive health.

By using this supplement, you can provide your dog with a nutritionally-balanced diet that promotes their overall health and wellbeing.

In summary, Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers Grain-Free Gut Health Dog Food Topper is an affordable and high-quality supplement that adds nutritional value and flavor to your dog’s meals. It is ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs and picky eaters and provides a cost-effective alternative to buying raw food portions.

By gradually introducing your dog to a raw diet using this topper, you can ensure they receive the best nutrition possible while promoting their digestive health and overall wellbeing.

Pros

The dry kibble is topped with a food topper

Chicken and chicken liver are the main components

No grains, soy, wheat, or synthetic additives

Cons

Small bag doesn’t last long


6. Freeze-dried raw Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties dog food

 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Raw Dinner Patties – Grain Free Dog Food

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  • Type of food: patties
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Volume: 25 oz

Stella & Chewy's Chewy's Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food is a nutritious and high-quality meal for canines. It contains 95% chicken raised without the use of cages, organic fruits and vegetables, and essential vitamins and minerals.

The patty-shaped entrée is versatile and can be rehydrated, served as is, or crumbled over other foods.

The recipe includes chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, and chicken gizzard, which are all excellent sources of protein. Additionally, it includes antioxidant-rich organic fruits and vegetables such as cranberries, spinach, broccoli, beets, and blueberries.

This freeze-dried raw dog food is grain-free and easy to digest, making it suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes. It is free from extraneous additives, potatoes, peas, lentils, and by-product meals, as well as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

The formula contains fiber, probiotics, and taurine for digestive support and cardiac health.

Made in the USA with responsibly sourced, premium ingredients and minimal processing, Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food is a top-quality product.

The 25-ounce container contains approximately 50 patties, making it a cost-effective option for pet owners. The product is backed by a satisfaction guarantee, which demonstrates the manufacturer’s commitment to producing natural, high-quality pet food that prioritizes nutrition, palatability, safety, and convenience.

Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food is a great choice for pet owners who want to provide their dogs with a nutritious and appetizing meal. This formulation contains high-quality ingredients and essential vitamins and minerals to support the health of the entire body.

Pros

95% chicken

Contains chelated vitamin and mineral supplements

A package includes around fifty patties

Cons

Very dense pucks


7. Raw grain-free Nulo Freestyle Duck Recipe with Pears freeze-dried dog food

Nulo Freeze Dried Dog Food: Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

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  • Type of food: complete or topping
  • Flavor: Duck
  • Volume: 13 oz

Duck is an excellent source of nutrition for canines due to its high content of iron and protein, and it is also recommended as a protein source for dogs with allergies.

The Freeze-Dried Nulo Freestyle Duck Recipe with Pears Grain-Free Raw Dog Food contains 82% duck, which is less than some other freeze-dried products that contain 95% meat.

This dog food includes duck, duck necks, duck heart, duck wings, and duck liver, providing a natural diet that dogs consume more of the animal’s parts, which are abundant in vitamins and minerals often missing in some dry kibble and wet diets.

Additionally, this dog food contains fruits and vegetables for added nutritional value, vitamin supplements, and probiotics for improved digestive health.

The Nulo Freestyle Duck Recipe with Pears Grain-Free Raw Dog Food also contains pears, butternut squash, green beans, carrots, blueberries, kale, spinach, parsley, apple cider vinegar, ground flaxseed, salt, sunflower oil, salmon oil, dried kelp, inulin, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative), vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, and vitamin D3 supplement.

This protein-rich, grain-free formula is optimal for dogs with allergies and weight control issues, as it contains up to 83% animal-based protein, fewer carbohydrates, and low-glycemic ingredients.

The BC30 probiotic promotes healthy intestinal flora, facilitates digestion, and enhances metabolism and immune response in dogs.

Nulo Pet Foods, headquartered in Austin, Texas, does not include corn, wheat gluten, soy, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors in their products.

Overall, Nulo Freestyle Duck Recipe with Pears Grain-Free Raw Dog Food is an excellent option for pet owners who seek a nutritious and high-quality meal for their canine companions.

Pros

Duck is recommended as a substitute for allergic meats

Added fruit, vegetables, and vitamin supplements

Gluten-free and grain-free

Cons

82% meat might be increased

It is possible for food to grow dusty in the bag


8. Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Solutions Skin & Coat Boost Freeze-Dried Snacks

 Stella & Chewy's – Stella’s Solutions Skin & Coat Boost

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  • Type of food: Topper
  • Flavor: Lamb and salmon
  • Volume: 13 oz

Stella's Answers by Stella & Chewy's The Skin & Coat Boost Freeze-Dried Raw Grass-Fed Lamb & Wild-Caught Salmon Dinner Bits  is an excellent dog food that promotes healthy skin and coat maintenance.

This raw diet is a superior option for pet owners who seek to provide their canines with the highest quality food, as it is made with natural ingredients and is less processed than dry or moist food.

Salmon, a key component in this dog food, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that, together with linoleic acid found in sunflower oil and other nutrients, can improve your dog’s overall skin and coat health and may assist in treating certain dermatological and coat disorders.

This raw dog food also contains lamb, lamb heart, and lamb liver, which are excellent sources of protein and essential nutrients. The formula is grain-free and gluten-free, making it suitable for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs.

Pineapple and pineapple stems contain natural bromelain, which reduces edema and inflammation in dogs, and biotin improves keratin structure, relieving itching, strengthening nails, and preventing coat thinning.

The coconut flour in this raw dog food contains omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and linoleic acid, which promote a healthy, shiny coat.

Stella’s Answers by Stella & Chewy’s The Skin & Coat Boost Freeze-Dried Raw Grass-Fed Lamb & Wild-Caught Salmon Dinner Bits is a versatile entrée that can be used as a mixer, supplement, or treat for dogs of all ages and sizes.

This all-natural, freeze-dried raw recipe made with wild-caught salmon and grass-fed lamb is an easy way to add the nutritional benefits and flavor of raw to your dog’s diet.

This raw dog food is easy to digest, contains no fillers, potatoes, legumes, lentils, or by-product meals, and is made in the United States using responsibly sourced, premium ingredients, minimal processing, and small-batch production. Additionally, it is free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Stella’s Answers by Stella & Chewy’s The Skin & Coat Boost Freeze-Dried Raw Grass-Fed Lamb & Wild-Caught Salmon Dinner Bits is an excellent dog food for pet owners who want to promote healthy skin and coat maintenance and overall well-being in their furry companions. The Stella & Chewy Satisfaction Guarantee provides confidence in your purchase.

Pros

Gluten-free and grain-free

The principal components are lamb and fish

Developed to enhance skin and coat health

Cons

Hard parts are more difficult to shatter


9. Grain-Free Raw Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Freeze-Dried Dog Food

 Primal Freeze Dried Dog Food Nuggets Chicken Formula, Crafted in The USA Grain Free Raw Dog Food

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  • Type of food: complete or topping
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Volume: 14 oz

Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food  is an excellent choice for pet owners seeking a nutritious and convenient food for their furry companion.

The food contains 80% chicken, with poultry and chicken livers as the primary ingredients, as well as organic fruits and vegetables for additional vitamins and minerals.

Rehydrating this dehydrated dog food is as simple as adding one tablespoon of water, bouillon, or goat milk per serving, making it a convenient option for pet owners who want to feed their dogs raw food but don’t want to deal with the hassle of preparation.

Although the food’s ingredients appear to be of high quality, the 80% meat content is significantly less than that of competing brands, which may be a concern for some pet owners.

The food is made with fresh, cage-free poultry raised without antibiotics, steroids, or added hormones, as well as organic fruits and vegetables certified by the USDA. Additionally, it contains no corn, wheat, soy, lentils, or legumes.

The food has a pungent odor, and the morsels are tough and difficult to separate. In addition, the recommended feeding amounts are generous, so a 14-ounce pouch that rehydrates into 3 pounds of food may not last long for some dogs.

This freeze-dried raw dog food provides high digestibility for optimal nutrient assimilation, promoting a healthy weight, reduced stool volume, healthy skin and coat, oral health, and clear vision in your dog.

The food contains no artificial supplements, flavors, colors, or preservatives, and it is made from genuine, whole foods.

Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food is a 100% complete and balanced raw food diet for mature dogs, manufactured in the USA using high-quality proteins. Overall, this is a convenient and nutritious option for dog owners seeking a raw food regimen.

Pros

Chicken and chicken liver are the main components

Gluten-free and grain-free

Cons

Hard nuggets

Only 80 percent meat


10. Orijen’s Original Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food with Topper

 ORIJEN® Freeze Dried Dog Food & Topper, Grain Free, High Protein

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  • Type of food: complete and topping
  • Chicken, turkey, and fish flavor
  • Volume: 16 oz

Orijen Original Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food & Topper  is a highly nutritious meal option for pet owners seeking high-quality, raw dog food.

The freeze-dried patties comprise 90% meat, including a combination of chicken, turkey, whole herring, and chicken liver, providing an excellent balance of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

However, it’s important to note that this food may not be suitable for those seeking a single or limited source of protein, as it contains a variety of meats.

One of the benefits of Orijen Original Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food & Topper is its versatility, as it can be served as a topping or rehydrated into a whole meal.

The patties can also be crumbled, making it easy to feed to your dog as a topper or mix into their dry food, but the bags contain a significant amount of food crumbles and dust at the bottom.

This dog food is made from 100% raw ingredients, including high-protein poultry, wild-caught fish, and eggs, which are frozen at their peak freshness, ensuring the maximum nutritional value.

The food is free from corn, wheat, soy, and other fillers, making it a healthy and nutritious option for your pet.

Orijen Original Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food & Topper is a high-protein and grain-free food, with no added grains in the kitchen, packed with quality animal ingredients, providing a strong source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

The food is freeze-dried in small batches, locking in its nutritional value and flavor. This dog food is made in the USA, crafted in a state-of-the-art kitchen using quality ingredients from around the world.

Overall, Orijen Original Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food & Topper is an excellent choice for pet owners seeking a high-quality, nutritious, and versatile raw food option for their dogs.

Pros

90% meat content

Can be consumed alone or as a topping

Cons

In the bag, food crumbles

Not appropriate as a single-protein meal

If you want to ensure your dog is getting the best nutrition possible, head over to BestForPets and check out our in-depth guide on dog foods and nutrition.

Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Freeze-dried dog food allows you to provide a raw, natural diet without having to measure, weigh, and prepare the food daily. Freezing the ingredients removes up to 99% of their moisture, effectively preserving their nutrients and flavor.

Typically, kibble, nibs, and patties can be given dried, crumbled on top of existing food, or rehydrated and served as a complete meal. While freeze-dried food is more expensive than traditional kibble or canned food, proponents claim that it not only ensures a balanced diet, but also promotes healthy coat and skin and can even treat depression and anxiety.

1. Food types:

When purchasing freeze-dried food, you can choose from a variety of options including toppings, complete meals, and healthy, nutritious snacks:

  • Complete Meals: To be considered a comprehensive meal, dog food must satisfy all nutritional needs. This means that it contains adequate amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals without being excessive in calories or harmful minerals. Purchasing a complete meal eliminates the need to combine the food with other ingredients or sources as it contains all the necessary nutrients. The benefit of a complete meal is that it provides all the necessary nutrients, so you do not need to purchase additional kibble or add supplements to provide a nutritious meal.
  • Toppers: Some complete dishes can also be served as a topping, and certain freeze-dried foods are ideal for this purpose. Toppers are intended to be served on top of a complete kibble dish. Typically, they are used to provide additional nutrients or to encourage a finicky dog to consume all of its food. Using freeze-dried food as a topping is a cost-effective way to provide some of the benefits of a natural diet without having to purchase multiple containers per week.
  • Treats: If the freeze-dried food is available in an appropriate portion size, it can also be used as a delectable snack. Look for grains or granules as these do not require breaking up prior to administration. Freeze-dried portions are lower in calories than other commercial treats, and dogs typically enjoy the genuine meat and natural ingredients.

Buyers Guide Choosing the Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food

2. Primary Ingredients:

In addition to the type of food, freeze-dried foods contain a broad range of primary ingredients. Chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb are the most common primary constituents, and all are appropriate for many dogs. The choice of primary ingredient will depend on your dog’s sensitivity or allergy to certain meat proteins, as well as its flavor preferences.

3. To Hydrate or Not to Hydrate:

The freeze-drying process can eliminate up to 99% of an ingredient’s moisture content. This means that the food has a prolonged expiration life and that more of its nutrients, protein, vitamins, and minerals are preserved.

In most cases, the food can be administered as-is without rehydration, which can be advantageous when using it as a topping on dry or exceptionally moist food. Alternatively, it can be rehydrated.

Most manufacturers provide instructions for rehydrating their food, but the general rule is to add cool or tepid water at a ratio of 1:1 to 3:1 water to food. Adding water does not increase or decrease nutrient content, so your dog receives the same nutritional benefits from the food, but it is more appetizing, produces a greater quantity, and has an improved texture. If desired, you can rehydrate the food using bone broth or even goat’s milk.

4. Is Frozen Or Freeze-Dried Dog Food Better?

Freeze-dried dog food undergoes dehydration using a blast freezer, which preserves the food for storage purposes.

There are several distinctions between the two types of dog food:
Frozen food must be kept in the freezer until it is ready to be served, but it does not require rehydration because it retains all of the original constituents' moisture.
It is entirely unprocessed and in its natural state. Although it is not necessary, your dog may prefer it to be thawed before consumption.
Freeze-dried food is frozen using a blast freezer. The process eliminates 99% of the moisture from the ingredients, allowing them to be compressed into morsels or patties.
After being freeze-dried, the food can be preserved in a cabinet or other container without needing to be chilled.
This also means that the food can be served immediately without thawing, but because there is virtually no moisture in the food, it is typically beneficial to rehydrate the food prior to serving.

5. What Is The Difference Between Freeze Dried And Dehydrated Dog Food?

What is the difference between freeze-dried and dehydrated dog food? While both types of food undergo dehydration, there are notable distinctions between the two.

  • Dehydrated dog food is made by removing moisture from the ingredients using hot air. This process removes approximately 95% of the original moisture and some essential vitamins and minerals. After rehydration, the food has a leathery texture and requires about 10 minutes to prepare.
  • Freeze-dried dog food, in contrast, is frozen using extremely low temperatures. This process removes 99% of the moisture and is gentler, preserving more nutrients and ingredients. Rehydration times can vary from two to fifteen minutes.

6. Do You Have To Add Water To Freeze Dried Dog Food?

While some freeze-dried dog food can be served immediately, many are nearly moisture-free and can be unappetizing when dry. Rehydration ensures that your dog receives some hydration with its food, which can improve the scent and taste.

Most picky dogs will prefer rehydrated food, even though it doesn’t add any nutritional value to the food. Most manufacturers recommend using lukewarm or tepid water to rehydrate the food, but you can also use goat milk or bone broth.

FAQs

1. Are freeze-dried foods healthy for dogs?

Freeze-dried dog food is not considered safe for dogs by many vets due to the risk of contamination and sickness. While the freeze-drying process may eliminate some harmful pathogens, it doesn’t eliminate all of them.

2. How long do freeze-dried dog foods last?

The shelf life of freeze-dried dog food varies by brand, but all have a long shelf life. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on the product’s packaging for specific guidelines.

3. Is freeze-dried dog food easy to digest?

Yes, freeze-dried dog food is easily digestible and contains all the nutrients of fresh ingredients, making it a highly nutritious option for dogs.

4. Why is freeze-dried dog food so expensive?

Freeze-drying requires expensive equipment that consumes a significant amount of energy, which drives up production costs. Additionally, freeze-dried dog food typically contains high-quality ingredients, such as fresh beef, rather than rendered “beef mystery meal.”

5. Why do dogs enjoy freeze-dried food?

Dogs enjoy freeze-dried dog food because it provides minimally processed sustenance, making it an attractive alternative to plain kibble. It is also known for its excellent flavor and can be used as a complete meal for picky eaters or as a tasty topping to add variety to dogs’ diets.

6. Is freeze-dried dog food better than dehydrated?

Freeze-dried dog food is better than dehydrated dog food because it loses only 98-99% of the moisture content, compared to over 95% with dehydration. The flavor and texture of freeze-dried dog food mostly remain the same, making it a better-tasting food than dehydrated products.

7. Is freeze-dried dog food better than frozen?

Freeze-dried dog food has several benefits over frozen food. It has a long and stable shelf life, allowing for easy storage at room temperature. It’s also incredibly convenient to take on-the-go and rehydrates quickly and easily without the need for cutting up or defrosting raw meat.

Conclusion

Freeze-dried meals offer more nutritional advantages than dry or wet foods and are a more practical option for raw diets. However, it is pricey, and there are an increasing number of freeze-dried dog feeds on the market, making it difficult to determine which one is the best. We hope that the information above has helped you find the best food for your dog.

We think Open Farm freeze-dried dog food is the best overall because it has a lot of meat and good ingredients. Nature's Diet Plain Raw Beef is the best value, though.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) would like to thank our visitors for visiting our website to learn about and research the best freeze-dried dog foods. We hope that you have selected the appropriate freeze-dried dog food.

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Dr. Heidi Bigham

Dr. Heidi H. Bigham, DVM is an expert in small animal veterinary care, specializing in emergency medicine, geriatric pet health, and internal medicine. She has five years of expertise as a general practitioner of small animal medicine in facilities that provide preventative care, surgery, and 24-hour emergency treatment. 

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Heidi Bigham

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