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The Best Dehydrated Dog Food Brands

Did you know that dry dog food loses nutrition as it goes through the baking process? Whereas other processing methods such as dehydrating retains all of pet food's nutrition (1).

Dehydrating dog food is simply the process of removing all of the water from the food. This allows manufacturers to sell raw dog food brands with a shelf life of about 12 months.

Pet owners are now acknowledging the benefits of feeding dogs a raw diet. It allows us to serve a semi-natural high-protein meal packed with vitamins and minerals (2).

The best-dehydrated dog food brands provide almost the same nutritional benefits as the raw dog diet without drawbacks.

It's also easier to prepare – you don't have to deal with raw meat and vegetables, and the preparation time of dehydrated dog foods is significantly faster.

Below are some of the best-dehydrated dog food brands we've liked over the years, and their analysis:

Dehydrated Dog Food (Air-dried) vs. Freeze-dried vs. Dry Kibble

Even though raw dog food diets have been getting attention for the many benefits they provide, there are also some disadvantages of feeding your dog food a raw diet, whether it's completely fresh and natural or coming from these best-dehydrated dog food brands (3).

Dehydrated dog food vs dry kibble vs cannedThis topic remains highly debatable among vets and scientists who argue whether raw dog food is better than commercial dry kibble.

However, they all agree that the cooking process of dry kibble loses more nutrients than dehydrating pet foods (4).

The bottom line is that while no dog food is 100% perfect, dried raw dog food is better than commercial dry dog food brands due to its higher nutrient content after processing.

There are two methods of dehydrating and drying dog food, and one is better than the other:

  • Freeze-dried dog food
  • Air-dried dog food

While we know that either drying method is still better than cooked dry kibble, freeze-dried dog food is superior to air-dry dog food for one reason: it's less damaged.

Benefits of Dehydrated Dog Food vs. Dry Kibble

The main benefit is that dehydrated dog food (whether freeze-dried or air-dried) retains most of its nutrients, while the cooking process of dry kibble that uses high temperatures destroys most of the nutrients in pet food (5).

Furthermore, many veterinarians agree that dehydrated dog food is also better for digestibility.

When discussing dehydrated raw dog food, Dr. Karen Becker (DVM) says the following:

“I also like this type of food for its digestibility and also for the different protein sources available… It’s a great choice for animals with gastrointestinal sensitivities or that are recovering from GI surgery.” (source)

Unless you choose to feed your dog specific sensitive stomach foods, freeze-dried dog food brands may be the best choice for your pet.

There are other benefits to using any top-rated dehydrated dog food brands, especially when compared to home raw meals.

  • Freeze-dried dog foods are easier for canines to digest;
  • They offer the water content of canned food with more health benefits;
  • It's easier to prepare than natural raw food meals;
  • Dehydrated dog food has longer shelf life than raw food;
  • No refrigeration required;
  • They offer more diverse protein sources than most another commercial kibble;
  • There's little to no loss of vitamins and minerals during the cooking process.

Before you start feeding your dog either one of these recommended dehydrated dog foods, speak with your veterinarian.

Switching your dog to a new diet is an important step that you should not take lightly.

It needs to be done gradually and while monitoring your pet.

Let's now review some of these best-dehydrated dog food brands and see how they differ from the popular dry dog food brands.

The Best Dehydrated Dog Food Brands (Top Rated)

1 The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Organic Dog Food

 by The Honest Kitchen

Guaranteed Analysis:

PROTEIN 24.5% min

FAT 14.0% min

FIBER 4.0% max

MOISTURE 8.0% max

485 kcal/cup

Dogs are born omnivores, but they thrive on a diet largely consisting of meat, supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables.

This human-grade dehydrated dog food diet from The Honest Kitchen supports its natural high-protein requirements with its ingredients: chicken, duck, turkey, or beef.

This is 100% human-grade natural dog food with minimally processed organic ingredients to retain their calories and proteins as nature intended.

The food has a soft consistency that makes it ideal for all breeds and sizes. This food is made in the USA with locally sourced ingredients and in an FDA-approved plant.

When your finicky dog starts itching and suffers from diarrhea from his current diet, it may be helpful to transition them to dehydrated dog foods.

That’s exactly what dog owners with similar issues have resorted to and came out the wiser.

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Organic Grain Dog Food stabilizes a dog's digestive tract and improves the dog’s coat. It tends to stop itchy spells or loose stools.

 

2 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Super Meal Mixers

by Stella & Chewy’s

Guaranteed Analysis:

CRUDE PROTEIN 48.0% min

CRUDE FAT 28.0% min

CRUDE FIBER 5.0% max

MOISTURE 5.0% max

50 kcal/1/4 cup

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Super Meal Mixers are likely to satisfy your dog’s natural craving and need for meat.

It offers over 90% real raw meat, organs, and bones crammed in a freeze-dried raw dog food formula. It’s available in flavors of chicken, turkey, beef, and seafood.

All of the ingredients are guaranteed 100% all-natural and organic, including naturally sourced fruits and vegetables.

Their recipe is carefully formulated with minimal processing to preserve the natural nutritional value of real raw meat.

It provides dogs the highest levels of animal protein and superior grain-free nutrition. Most dogs enjoy the flavor, whether served as a whole meal, topper, or snacks and treats.

This is especially effective for dogs with no appetite who are likely to consume this with gusto.

Our experience was a healthier skin and coat, increased energy levels, and improved bowel movements after the switch.

This best-dehydrated dog food is produced in the USA in Chewy’s own kitchen.

Preparation is done in small quantities to ensure that they remain as close to their original form and of the highest quality as possible.

This way, pets receive top-quality nutrients vital to their growth and development.

 

3 Wellness CORE Air Dried Dog Food (Natural)

by Wellness Core

Guaranteed Analysis:

CRUDE PROTEIN 31.0% min

CRUDE FAT 21.0% min

CRUDE FIBER 3.0% max

MOISTURE 20.0% max

411 kcal/cup

Wellness Core has come up with a unique formula like no other raw dog food brand – chicken and turkey goodness packed in one recipe.

Let your dog relish the wholesomeness of minimally processed and air-dried dog food that retains superior-quality raw proteins, nutrients, and flavors.

With a Wellness Guarantee backing and 100% produced in the USA, it boasts an all-natural grain-free recipe composed of over 70% choice proteins and fortified with essential vitamins and minerals for a complete and balanced meal.

This best-dehydrated dog food brand is also available in a Whitefish & Salmon variant and a special formulation for puppies.

We especially like this dehydrated food for older dogs with teeth and digestion issues because of its texture: tender, succulent, and highly digestible.

When feeding according to instructions, expect the dog to get their weight under control, have higher energy levels, and normalize their digestive problems.

Considering that it’s on the pricey end, some dog owners use it only to top regular meals or for snacks to make it last longer.

Whether they’re using it as a complete dog meal or only as a topper, they all find it very easy to serve, and there’s no re-hydration needed.

 

4 Sojos Complete Natural Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food Mix

by Sojos

Guaranteed Analysis:

CRUDE PROTEIN 28.0% min

CRUDE FAT 12.0% min

CRUDE FIBER 4.0% max

MOISTURE 10.0% max

342 kcal/cup

Mix this freeze-dried dog food meat chow from Sojos with lukewarm water, stir thoroughly, allow 15 minutes to thicken, and then serve.

An 8-pound bag produces 40 pounds of all-natural, raw and high-protein dog food your pet will enjoy and crave.

You can choose from any of the four different delicious variants of turkey, beef, goat, and lamb.

These were carefully prepared one batch at a time inside Sojos’ kitchen in the USA to ensure that it’s safe from harmful contaminants.

We also took special note of the ingredients list in this product: it’s all real foods instead of chemically sounding names usually found on other dog food packages.

When re-hydrated, we were able actually to identify the meat, vegetables, and fruits.

Sojos dehydrated dog food is highly digestible, and our dogs’ bowel movements have normalized after transitioning to this diet.

Other dog owners who have been using Sojos dehydrated dog foods attest to the product’s effectiveness in dealing with two of the most common issues affecting dogs – digestion and allergy.

They've also noted that pets developed a leaner frame after they included this recipe in their dogs’ diet, more toned muscles, and shinier coats.

The food is pricey, but it does not cost as much as other brands similar to it.

 

5 Primal Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Dog Food

by Primal Pet Foods

Guaranteed Analysis:

CRUDE PROTEIN 37.0% min

CRUDE FAT 37.0% min

CRUDE FIBER 1.0% max

MOISTURE 2.0% max

172 kcal/oz

Here’s Primal Pet Foods freeze-dried dog food formula that contains 100% human-quality ingredients made in the USA and sourced from New Zealand and across the country.

It’s an all-natural raw food recipe packed with high protein levels, essential oils, enzymes and fortified with natural vitamins and minerals.

They processed all these ingredients minimally to retain their wholesomeness.

This top-rated dehydrated dog food is available in seven flavors: Chicken, Duck, Turkey, Pork, Lamb, Venison, and Beef.

All the recipes are grain-free with no soy, wheat, corn, gluten, additives or preservatives, quality, and wholesome freeze-dried raw pet food.

This could be an appropriate formula for owners of dogs with dermatitis or other skin maladies. That said, we think it's still a little too expensive.

Primal dehydrated dog food is made in the USA, contains no grains, and is made free from antibiotics and hormones.

Some dogs love these nuggets dry and crunchy, while others prefer the tender, moist tastiness when rehydrated.

Either way, they will take in the same high-quality nutrients that help prevent allergy and abdominal problems, among other benefits.

How Air-dried and Freeze-dried Dog Foods are Made

How Air-dried and Freeze-dried Dog Foods are Made?

Let me briefly walk you through how these best-dehydrated dog foods are made, which will also explain why freeze-dried dog food or air-dried dog food is better for dogs.

Air-dried dog food uses low temperatures, which help to extract all moisture from raw dog food.

Most air-dried dog foods are prepared in about 140º F to 180º F temperatures.

This is because the process takes longer, which exposes meat to potential spoilage due to oxidation.

This doesn't necessarily mean that you may spoil all air-dried dehydrated dog foods, but theoretically, this is what happens.

Air-drying dog food also slightly cooks it (not as much as the dry kibble cooking process does), which may impact the nutritional content of these foods, particularly altering meats, fats, fruits, and vegetables contained in dehydrated raw dog food.

This is not good.

On the other hand, freeze-dried dog food uses a significantly quicker process, and it also uses lower temperatures for drying dog food.

This process results in the least (if any) damage to the nutrient content in pet food, meaning that all raw dog food nutrition – vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins – remain intact and will be consumed and absorbed by the dog to eats it.

On top of that, freeze-dried dog food will also retain most of its natural raw dog food flavor and aroma due to this fast-drying and freezing process.

This means that for most dogs, freeze-dried dog food will also be more appealing.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, there is no 100% ideal dog food currently on the market.

Some adjustments need to be made to make it: nutrients will be lost, or it will involve a certain risk.

However, if we were to rank all types of dog food, raw dehydrated dog food would come out on top due to its higher preserved nutrient content over dry kibble.

When comparing air-dried dog food vs. freeze-dried dog food, the latter is also better.

So make sure you always seek out ingredients in dog food that have been freeze-dried.

Common Questions about Dehydrated Dog Food

Because dehydrated dog food is not viewed as the default, it is common to have questions about it. Pet parents will find the answers to their most common questions about dehydrated food below.

Is Dehydrated Dog Food Good for Dogs?

Yes! Dehydrated food is great for pets. This is because it goes through a gentler cooker process compared to kibble. That, in turn, means that it is less processed but is still fully cooked, unlike a raw diet.

Is Dehydrated Dog Food Better than Kibble?

Because it is less processed than kibble, dehydrated dog food is indeed better for your pooch. The only caveat is that removing moisture can affect the nutrients of the food.

As such, you need to make sure to choose a nutrient-rich dehydrated food for your canine.

Your dog may also feel that dehydrated food provides a slightly less delicious meal than kibble.

Or, at least that it is different than what he is used to. That is because dehydration can affect the texture and taste of ingredients.

What's the Best Dehydrated Dog Food?

Any of the options on our list above will be a delicious meal and nutritious for your pup.

When choosing the best option, choose something that is nutrient-rich. Going with grain-free food is also a smart move.

Examine the ingredient list for real ingredients, such as sweet potato. Check the nutrition information to confirm it is a complete meal.

Or choose any of the dehydrated dog foods we mentioned above.

References and Further Reading

References and Citations

Footnotes, study citations, and further reading:

  1. Koppel, K., Gibson, M., Alavi, S., & Aldrich, G. (2014). The Effects of Cooking Process and Meat Inclusion on Pet Food Flavor and Texture Characteristics. Animals : An Open Access Journal from MDPI, 4(2), 254–271. http://doi.org/10.3390/ani4020254
  2. Kiley M Algya, et al. Apparent total-tract macronutrient digestibility, serum chemistry, urinalysis, fecal characteristics, metabolites, and microbiota of adult dogs fed extruded, mildly cooked, and raw diets. Journal of Animal Science, Volume 96, Issue 9, September 2018.
  3. Schlesinger, D. P., & Joffe, D. J. (2011). Raw food diets in companion animals: A critical review. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 52(1), 50–54.
  4. Swanson, K. S., Carter, R. A., Yount, T. P., Aretz, J., & Buff, P. R. (2013). Nutritional Sustainability of Pet Foods. Advances in Nutrition, 4(2), 141–150. http://doi.org/10.3945/an.112.003335
  5. Q.D. Tran, et al. Effects of drying temperature and time of a canine diet extruded with a 4 or 8 mm die on physical and nutritional quality indicators. Animal Feed Science and Technology 165(s 3–4):258–264 · May 2011.

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Top Rated Best Dehydrated Dog Food Brands (2020)