10 Best Freeze-Dried Dog Foods

Quality varies greatly from one freeze-dried dog food to another, so it’s important to learn how to distinguish a good dog food from a bad one. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best dry dog foods on the market.

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Made with the freshest raw ingredients, freeze-dried food offers a protein- and nutrient-rich alternative to conventional wet and dry dog food. This food is gently freeze-dried to remove moisture, rendering the product shelf-stable for convenience.

Because freeze-dried food is shelf-stable, it generally doesn’t require the use of artificial preservatives. A quality recipe contains plenty of animal-based proteins and healthy fat with limited carbohydrate content. It tends to be a pricier option, but the quality makes it worthy of your consideration.

Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food Formulas in 2022

Now that you’ve been introduced to the basics about freeze-dried dog food, take a look at some of the options we recommend.

1

Ziwi Peak Chicken Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

Rating

Price 36%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 90%
Customer Experience 87%
Nutrient Value 68%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 90%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.56

Company info

Company HQMt. Maunganui, New Zealand Parent companyZiwi Ltd

Overview

While it technically isn’t a freeze-dried formula, this air-dried recipe from Ziwi Peak offers species-appropriate nutrition and shelf-stable convenience. This recipe contains 96% meat, organs, bone, and New Zealand mussels in a high-protein, low-carbohydrate formula. It is designed to be fed as-is and may not rehydrate as well as freeze-dried food.

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, New Zealand Green Mussel, Chicken Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Selenium Yeast), Salt, Parsley, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid).

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 38%

Fat: 30%

Fiber: 2%

Moisture: 14%

Ash: 12%

Carb: 4%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 44.19%

Fat: 34.88%

Fiber: 2.33%

Ash: 13.95%

Carb: 4.65%

What We Like

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • To our knowledge, Ziwi has never had a product recall
  • Gently air-dried to preserve nutrition
  • Contains dried kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Green-lipped mussel is added as a source of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein

What We Did Not Like

  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
2

Vital Essentials Beef Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Rating

Price 62%
Quality of Ingredients 100%
Customer Experience 91%
Nutrient Value 90%
Recall History 25%
Manufacturing Method 0%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.92

Company info

Company HQGreen Bay, Wisconsin Parent companyCarnivore Meat Company

Overview

Formed into bite-sized nibs, this freeze-dried dog food also works well as a meal topper. Fresh beef is the first ingredient, followed by beef heart, liver, lung, fat, stomach, and kidney, all derived from beef. Herring oil provides an animal-based source of omega-3s and finishes up the short list of main ingredients. This is a protein-packed, single-source protein formula.

Beef, Beef Lung, Beef Liver, Beef Stomach, Beef Heart, Beef Fat, Beef Kidney, Beef Blood, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, D-Alpha Tocopherol.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 51%

Fat: 23%

Fiber: 2.2%

Moisture: 7%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 16.8%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 54.84%

Fat: 24.73%

Fiber: 2.37%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 18.06%

What We Like

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • Most customers have good experiences with this food

What We Did Not Like

  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried dog food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
  • The brand has had multiple recalls over recent years
  • Some dogs may be allergic to fish
3

ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food & Topper

Rating

Price 48%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 88%
Customer Experience 58%
Nutrient Value 63%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 0%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$1.10

Company info

Company HQAlberta, Canada Parent companyChampion Petfoods

Overview

Formulated for use as a complete diet or meal topper, this freeze-dried formula from Orijen is crafted with 100% free-run chicken and turkey, cage-free eggs, and wild-caught herring and flounder. It’s full of flavor and high-quality animal protein but very low in carbohydrates.

Chicken Ground With Bone, Chicken Liver, Turkey, Whole Herring, Eggs, Pea Fiber, Turkey Liver, Turkey Heart, Flounder, Chicken Heart, Whole Pumpkin, Collard Greens, Carrots, Whole Apples, Salt, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Potassium Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Vitamin E Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 40%

Fat: 34%

Fiber: 5%

Moisture: 4%

Ash: 9%

Carb: 8%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 41.67%

Fat: 35.42%

Fiber: 5.21%

Ash: 9.38%

Carb: 8.33%

What We Like

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • To our knowledge, ORIJEN has never had a product recall
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Contains dried kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein

What We Did Not Like

  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried dog food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
  • Some dogs may be allergic to fish
4

Nulo Freestyle Turkey Recipe With Cranberries Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Rating

Price 28%
Size Variety 83%
Quality of Ingredients 78%
Customer Experience 75%
Nutrient Value 73%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 0%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$1.41

Company info

Company HQAustin, Texas Parent companyNulo Pet Food

Overview

This nutrient-dense freeze-dried raw formula from Nulo is inspired by whole prey nutrition. Fresh turkey is the primary ingredient, supplemented with additional protein and essential nutrients from turkey necks (also a source of ground bone), turkey heart, and turkey liver. This is a single-source protein formula and it is supplemented with probiotics to support digestive health.

Turkey, Turkey Necks, Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Cranberries, Apples, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Carrots, Kale, Spinach, Parsley, Apple Cider Vinegar, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Kelp, Inulin, Salt, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (natural preservative), Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 44%

Fat: 29%

Fiber: 4%

Moisture: 5%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 18%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 46.32%

Fat: 30.53%

Fiber: 4.21%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 18.95%

What We Like

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • To our knowledge, Nulo has never had a product recall
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Contains health promoting ground flaxseed for fiber
  • Contains dried kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • A good source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Did Not Like

  • Expensive
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried dog food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
  • Some dogs may be allergic to fish
5

Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals Real Beef Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food

Rating

Price 44%
Size Variety 95%
Quality of Ingredients 74%
Customer Experience 81%
Nutrient Value 57%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 0%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$1.16

Company info

Company HQLincoln, Nebraska Parent companyM.I. Industries

Overview

Compared to Instinct’s Original dry dog food, this freeze-dried formula contains three times more beef and organs. It features fresh beef as the main ingredient with beef liver, kidney, and spleen as well as a limited list of plant-based ingredients. This formula is higher in carbohydrates than we’d like, but it still contains a fairly short ingredient list, and it is a single protein formula.

Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Spleen, Carrots, Apples, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Ground Miscanthus Grass, Montmorillonite Clay, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), Mixed Tocopherols (for freshness), Blueberries, Spinach, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 36%

Fat: 29%

Fiber: 5%

Moisture: 6%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 24%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 38.3%

Fat: 30.85%

Fiber: 5.32%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 25.53%

What We Like

  • To our knowledge, Instinct has never had a product recall
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Contains health promoting ground flaxseed for fiber
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • A good source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Did Not Like

  • Low protein content
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried dog food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
  • Some dogs may be allergic to fish
6

Stella & Chewy's Stella's Super Beef Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Rating

Price 55%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 80%
Customer Experience 90%
Nutrient Value 73%
Recall History 25%
Manufacturing Method 0%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$1.00

Company info

Company HQMilwaukee, Wisconsin Parent companyStella and Chewy’s LLC

Overview

Shaped into easy-to-portion patties, this freeze-dried formula from Stella & Chewy’s features fresh beef and beef organs as the primary ingredients. An assortment of organic fruits and veggies provide supplemental fiber and natural sources of key nutrients with probiotics for digestive support.

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, Fenugreek Seed, Potassium Chloride, Dried Kelp, Sodium Phosphate, Tocopherols (Preservative), Choline Chloride, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 44%

Fat: 35%

Fiber: 5%

Moisture: 5%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 11%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 46.32%

Fat: 36.84%

Fiber: 5.26%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 11.58%

What We Like

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Contains dried kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein

What We Did Not Like

  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried dog food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
  • The brand has had multiple recalls over recent years
7

Grandma Lucy's Pureformance Fish Recipe Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Rating

Price 93%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 67%
Customer Experience 72%
Nutrient Value 46%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 0%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.33

Company info

Company HQRancho Santa Margarita, California Parent companyGrandma Lucy’s

Overview

This freeze-dried fish formula from Grandma Lucy’s contains fresh pollock as the first ingredient and a single source of high-quality animal protein. Chickpeas, flax, and an assortment of fruits and veggies make up the rest of the ingredients list, along with a few synthetic nutrient supplements. Overall, it provides a decent source of animal protein but is higher in carbohydrates than other foods on this list.

Pollock, Chickpeas, Flax, Carrots, Celery, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Papaya, Spinach, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphorous, Zinc Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Monoitrate, Potassium Chloride, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 31%

Fat: 14%

Fiber: 6.2%

Moisture: 6.5%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 42.3%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 33.16%

Fat: 14.97%

Fiber: 6.63%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 45.24%

What We Like

  • To our knowledge, Grandma Lucy's has never had a product recall
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Affordable

What We Did Not Like

  • Low protein content
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains plant-based proteins
  • Doesn’t receive consistently positive customer reviews
  • Freeze dried dog food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
  • Some dogs may be allergic to fish
8

Sojos Complete Beef Recipe Adult Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

Rating

Price 80%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 69%
Customer Experience 84%
Nutrient Value 36%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 0%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.65

Company info

Company HQMinneapolis, Minnesota Parent companyWellPet, LLC.

Overview

Simple to soak and serve, this freeze-dried formula from Sojos features fresh beef and whole egg to provide plenty of animal-based protein. An assortment of vegetables and herbs provide supplemental sources of essential nutrients as well as digestion-boosting dietary fiber. A single pound of Sojos freeze-dried food rehydrates to up to 5 pounds of fresh food.

Beef, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Whole Egg, Cabbage, Flax Seeds, Cranberries, Celery, Beef Liver, Tricalcium Phosphate, Papaya, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Parsley, Ginger Root, Dried Kelp, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Acetate, Ferrous Fumarate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 25%

Fat: 14%

Fiber: 5.5%

Moisture: 10%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 45.5%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 27.78%

Fat: 15.56%

Fiber: 6.11%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 50.56%

What We Like

  • To our knowledge, Sojos has never had a product recall
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Contains dried kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Affordable

What We Did Not Like

  • Low protein content
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried dog food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
9

Primal Beef Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Rating

Price 47%
Size Variety 92%
Quality of Ingredients 65%
Customer Experience 87%
Nutrient Value 50%
Recall History 25%
Manufacturing Method 0%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$1.11

Company info

Company HQFairfield, California Parent companyPrimal Pet Foods Inc.

Overview

This beef formula from Primal is a single-source protein recipe, making it a great option for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities (as long as they can tolerate beef). Beef hearts, beef livers, and ground beef bone make up the majority of the ingredients list with a few organic fruits and veggies thrown in. The carbohydrate content could be lower, but its still a high-protein recipe.

Beef Hearts, Beef Livers, Ground Beef Bones, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash, Organic Kale, Organic Apples, Organic Broccoli, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Blueberries, Organic Cranberries, Organic Parsley, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Montmorillonite Clay, Fish Oil, Organic Rosemary Extract, Organic Quinoa, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Ground Alfalfa, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Dried Organic Kelp.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 34%

Fat: 36%

Fiber: 8%

Moisture: 3%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 19%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 35.05%

Fat: 37.11%

Fiber: 8.25%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 19.59%

What We Like

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Contains kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • A good source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Did Not Like

  • Low protein content
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried dog food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
  • The brand has had multiple recalls over recent years
  • Some dogs may be allergic to fish

Why Should You Trust Us

As dog parents ourselves, we understand how hard it is to choose the right wet dog food with so many recipes available in 2022. So how do you navigate past marketing claims to get real facts?

That’s where we come in. With over 3438 recipe reviews, Pet Food Sherpa is the largest database for dog food recipe reviews overseen by a vet nutrition specialist.

Our team has analyzed over 300 Freeze-Dried dog foods and selected the 10 best recipes, we then used our pet food algorithm to determine the scores for each recipe.

You should keep in mind that no single Freeze-Dried food is right for all dogs. Instead, use our list as a research tool to help you make a better-informed decision on your dog’s diet.

Freeze-Dried Dog Foods - What you Need to Know

1. What is freeze-dried dog food?

Freeze-dried dog food is prepared using a technique that involves freezing fresh food to remove moisture. The food is quickly frozen at very low temperatures and then the ice crystals are vacuumed out, rendering the product low in moisture and shelf stable. Because freeze-dried food is so low in moisture, it is recommended that you rehydrate the product before feeding it to your dog.

One thing to keep in mind about freeze-dried food is that it is technically raw food. This type of food is made with raw ingredients, but the freeze-drying process helps eliminate some of the potential for foodborne pathogens. Freeze-dried food can be stored at room temperature in its original packaging for months, even years, and opened food is good for about 30 days.

2. Is freeze-dried raw food good for dogs?

Freeze-dried food is a very nutritious option for dogs. As is true for any type of food, the quality is determined by the ingredients and nutritional composition. That being said, however, freeze-dried dog food tends to offer higher quality than the average dry food.

Many freeze-dried dog foods are made with higher inclusions of animal protein and, in many cases, a single source of animal protein. This makes many recipes a great choice for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities to certain animal proteins. Due to the freeze-drying process, this type of food doesn’t require as many carbohydrate fillers or thickeners as traditionally extruded dry food.

The main caveat with freeze-dried food is that it is very low in moisture. It’s recommended that you rehydrate the product with water or broth before feeding it to your dog to ensure that he gets the moisture he needs for optimal hydration.

3. How do I rehydrate freeze-dried dog food?

It is very easy to rehydrate freeze-dried food – you just add water. Freeze-dried food can also be rehydrated with broth or other liquids like goat milk. Just make sure whatever you’re using to rehydrate the food doesn’t contain any potentially harmful ingredients like onion or garlic.

Most commercial freeze-dried dog foods will provide instructions for rehydrating the food. Generally speaking, however, you just add your dog’s portion to his bowl then add the liquid. In most cases, an equal proportion of food to water works well.

It typically takes about 15 to 20 minutes for freeze-dried cat food to rehydrate, though the timing may vary by recipe. Large freeze-dried patties may take longer to rehydrate than smaller nibs or nuggets. Again, you should refer to the feeding instructions on the package. Once the dog food has been rehydrated it should be treated like wet dog food and not left out for more than 4 hours.

4. Is freeze-dried raw dog food safe?

A raw diet can be incredibly nutritious for your dog, but it isn’t without risks. There is always some degree of risk for bacterial contamination with raw foods but following safe food handling procedures is very easy. Always wash your hands after handling the food along with any utensils you use to serve it.

The main concern with freeze-dried raw dog food is bacterial contamination, the most common culprits being E. coli, listeria, and salmonella. Fortunately, the freeze-drying process helps decrease the number of pathogens in the raw ingredients, but some may still survive freeze-drying. Unprocessed and homemade raw foods may have lower rates of contamination than commercial freeze-dried foods.

5. Can freeze-dried food cause problems for dogs?

For the most part, freeze-dried dog food is considered safe, and it can provide many nutritional benefits for your dog. Quality varies by brand and by recipe, however, so some formulas may be better than others. A recipe that contains too many plant-based ingredients, especially low-value grains like wheat and corn, won’t be as good for your dog as one primarily composed of meat, organs, and bone.

It’s also important to note that the process of freeze drying removes the moisture from the raw ingredients. This helps kill bacteria and makes the product shelf-stable, but it robs the food of essential moisture. Dogs require moisture in their diet for proper hydration, so it’s best to rehydrate your dog’s freeze-dried food before feeding it to him and provide plenty of fresh water.

While commercial freeze-dried diets are generally formulated for nutritional adequacy, homemade raw diets come with a risk for nutritional imbalance or deficiencies. If you’re going to feed your dog raw or freeze-dried raw food, make sure to choose a recipe formulated by a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist.

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