It’s also important to consider safe-handling of raw food. It’s no different than the precautions you would take handling raw meat for yourself; just wash your hands and surfaces to avoid cross-contamination.
The process of freeze-drying is fairly simple: fresh ingredients are flash-frozen so that all liquid within turns solid, then extremely low temperatures are used during a slow pressure process of turning the frozen liquid into vapour.
Freeze-dried is nutritionally equal to raw as it preserves all of the nutrients, enzymes and protein structures while only removing water content. It also retains the smell, taste and texture of raw. The lack of moisture inhibits the potential for bacteria, yeast and mold growth. What’s left is a more convenient, shelf-stable version of raw food. This can be a great option even if you normally feed frozen raw but want something more convenient for camping trips and family outings, for instance. It’s not always necessary to rehydrate freeze-dried raw, but it is beneficial to add moisture back and can be done using just water or a tasty broth. Check out Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw’s freeze-dried line, Sojos, and coming soon—K9 Natural--next time you’re at Sector Woof!
Freeze-dried can be quite costly, however, even more so than frozen, so that’s one thing for more budget-conscious people to consider.
Still, they offer convenience, minimal processing and artificial ingredients, adequate nutrition for your dog, and are a great option to use as training treats. The Honest Kitchen and Stella & Chewy’s are good brands to look into if you’re interested in dehydrated food.
What to feed your four-legged friend is a vital thing to consider because you want to ensure they are getting all of the proper nutrients needed to thrive. Feeding raw is a fantastic choice for most, but it understandably can be overwhelming trying to decide which type. Our goal is to help you by providing information and suggestions. It’s always best to consider your individual pet’s needs and consult with your vet. These points cannot be said enough. Whether you choose frozen, freeze-dried or dehydrated, you should feel confident in your choice.
You may have done your research and talked with your vet or canine nutritionist regarding raw feeding and decided with confidence that it’s the best option for your dog. As you may now know, dogs are anatomically designed to consume and digest raw animal meat and bone. It is a diet that they can thrive on, much like their carnivorous ancestors, with numerous health benefits. Now the question remains as to which type of raw should you choose. There are a few different options—frozen, freeze-dried, or dehydrated—all of which have individual pros and cons.
Dehydrated food undergoes a process of removing moisture content using low heat rather than cold pressure like that of freeze-drying. Different pet food companies use slightly different methods and temperatures; those that use a higher heat are not considered a true raw food, but rather lightly cooked. The downside is that using heat denatures some of the nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals within the food, lowering its’ nutritional value, and therefore they need to be added back in.
Most dehydrated foods require rehydration prior to serving, and this takes a little longer than rehydrating freeze-dried.
Frozen is simply that—frozen, unprocessed raw meat, organs and bone. This helps prevent contamination and spoiling. There are ground blends, cubes and patties available as well as frozen segments such as feet, necks, and lungs, and a variety of frozen raw meaty bones for recreational chewing. Some of the top brands, available here at Sector Woof, include Raw Performance, Back2Raw, Iron Will Raw, Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw, and K9 Choice Foods.
You’ll need to have ample freezer space, depending on how many dogs you have and how much you want to keep on hand, and you’ll also need to remember to thaw it before feeding. This can be a downside if you’re usually busy and not prone to giving much forethought to meal prep.
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