Freeze-Dried, Air-Dried or Dehydrated?
These days, we are seeing all types of dog food on the market. Apart from the regular kibbles, freeze-dried, air-dried and dehydrated food have been gaining popularity among owners around the world. These terms have left many a dog owner scratching their heads wondering which is the best choice for their beloved canine friend. Here, we breakdown what these terms mean and explain the manufacturing process behind them.
Freeze drying is a sophisticated method that involves freezing raw food before removing the moisture content from it. Raw meat is put in a pressurised chamber till it freezes. The pressure and temperature are then carefully monitored so that the moisture in it transforms from the solid to gaseous phase, skipping the liquid state entirely, in a process called sublimation. All this is done without any changes made to the food.
Freeze drying preserves natural nutrients, enzymes and protein structures. It also improves the shelf life of food exponentially. On the downside, it is an expensive process that also causes food to crumble more easily. Popular brands for freeze-dried dog food are Primal, Graze, Northwest Naturals, Woof, and Small Batch.
Read more: The Benefits of Freeze Dried Dog Food
Air drying is the process of exposing food to unheated air (usually at low temperatures) to remove the moisture through evaporation. This is a fairly cost-effective process that preserves the nutritional value of the food. Air-dried food has a relatively long shelf life of about 18 months, but falls short of the 24 to 26 months that freeze-dried foods have. This is also considered as raw food as the food is not exposed to a high enough temperature to be considered cooked. Popular brands for air-dried dog food are Ziwipeak and Absolute Holistic.
If you have made beef jerky, meringue or kale chips before, you would be familiar with the process behind dehydrated food. Dehydrating food is the most traditional and simple of the mentioned methods for removing moisture. This is done at a low temperature to avoid breaking down the naturally-occurring proteins and nutrients, such as enzymes, in the food. Dehydrated foods do need to be rehydrated before feeding, and the shelf life is significantly shorter. Popular brands are The Honest Kitchen and Addiction.
Which should I feed my dog?
All three aforementioned types of food have their own benefits. There is no one type that is better than the other. Every dog responds differently to different food, so it really is a process of trial-and-elimination. It is best to consult your vet to ensure the food you select meets all of your dog’s nutritional needs. It is also good to find out if your dog has any allergies. Do give your dog plenty of water when feeding such food as these foods have been removed of their moisture. Check out our dizzying selection of freeze and air-dried foods at www.perromart.com.