Dog owners are becoming increasingly more concerned about what they are feeding their four-legged friends (and rightly so!).
A relatively new trend that is becoming more and more popular amongst dog food manufactures is freeze-dried dog food and dog snacks.
Recently, there has been a shift by dog owners from the typically bleached rawhides that are common in most supermarkets to natural treats.
At Dog Food Info, we believe it is a step in the right direction. However, as a dog owner, it is important to know and understand the process involved.
In this article, we will explain what freeze-dried means whilst looking at some of the pros and cons of the freeze-dried approach when it comes to feeding our dogs.
We will also touch on the dehydrated process of producing dog treats and explain the differences between the two.
If you have any questions or comments about freeze-dried dog food/snacks or you would like to share your own experience with the process, then please feel free to leave a comment below.
What does Freeze-Dried mean?
Freeze drying, which can also be referred to as lyophilisation or cryodesiccation.
It’s a low-temperature dehydration process that involves freezing a product, lowering pressure, and then removing the ice by sublimation.
Freeze-dried dog foods and chews can range from muscle meats, organ meats and meaty bones. The freeze-dried process is typically used to preserve food and aid with the transportation of products.
The Freeze-Dried Process Explained
The exact process of freeze-drying is split into 3 key steps. To read the full article on how the freeze-drying process works, click here.
Step 1: Freezing Phase. In this step, the products are exposed to temperatures around -4.5°C to -8°C
Step 2: Sublimation. The pressure in the machine is lowered creating a vacuum effect around the food. The trays that the foods are laid on gradually warm causing the water to sublimate.
This means that the ice in and on the food turns into vapour which is then vacuumed out of the machine.
Step 3: Adsorption. During this phase, the temperature is raised slightly (still below 0°C) and the rest of the non-frozen molecules are removed. This whole process removes around 95% of the moisture in the food.
There may be some vitamin % lost from the food at this stage, however, the food still restores a lot of its nutritious value compared to some other food processing techniques.
Benefits of the Freeze-Dried Process for Dog Food
The main benefits of the freeze-drying process revolve around the increased food preservation time but still keeping a large proportion of the food’s nutrients.
Additionally, freeze-dried foods are often a good alternative for people who like to feed their dog’s raw food diet.
Feeding freeze-dried foods mean that your dog gets the same nutritional benefits as raw food without the costly price tag, long preparation time or mess.
Disadvantages of the Freeze-Dried Process for Dog Food
Unfortunately, buying freeze-dried dog food and snacks can be costly compared to other alternatives.
Also, if you decide not to purchase directly from the manufacturer, carrying out the freeze-drying process yourself at home can be very time consuming, costly and in some cases very confusing.
What is the Difference Between Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated?
So, we have already covered what freeze-dried food is and how its produced, but what is the difference between freeze-dried and dehydrated dog food?
Dehydrated dog foods are produced under higher temperatures than freeze-dried foods.
Dog food manufacturers place raw foods in a low-heat environment for extended periods, causing the water to evaporate and be drawn from the food.
The important factor to consider here is the heating process. When raw food is heated, it undergoes structural changes, which can lead to the loss of nutrients from the food.
Despite the loss of nutrients, the remaining nutritional value of dehydrated dog foods is much greater than that of commercial kibble.
However, as a dog owner, it is important to be aware of the loss of nutrients during the process when considering the dietary needs of your pet.
Therefore, the main differences between freeze-dried and dehydrated food are the production process, the differing temperatures the foods are exposed to and the number of nutrients left in the food at the end of the process.
Freeze Dried FAQs
Is Freeze Dry Dog Food Safe?
Freeze-dried dog food and treats are safe, yes. However, at Dog Food Info, we always suggest carrying out your research on the manufacture beforehand.
Recommended Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
We recommend Anifit freeze-dried snacks as the brand is ranked as our number one dog food in Europe. It offers a great selection of freeze-dried dog and cat treats.
What is the Difference Between Dry Food and Freeze-Dried Dog Food?
In simple terms, A LOT!
Dry food is produced under extremely high temperatures where a lot of the nutrients of the food are lost during the production phase.
However, freeze-dried foods are processed under cold temperatures with a large proportion of nutrients retained in the food.