The Best Dehydrated Dog Food Brands

Did you know that dry dog food loses nutrition as it goes through the baking process?

Other processing methods, such as dehydrating, retain all 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).

Dehydrated Dog Food

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

Raw dog food diets have been getting attention for their many benefits.

However, feeding your dog a raw diet has it's disadvantages regardless if it's fresh or like the best dehydrated dog foods on this list (3). 

Dehydrated dog food vs dry kibble vs canned

This 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 better than cooked dry kibble, freeze-dried dog food is superior to air-dry because it's less damaged.

Benefits of Dehydrated Dog Food vs. Dry Kibble

The main benefit is that dehydrated dog food (freeze-dried or air-dried) retains the most 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)

Free freeze-dried dog food brands may be the best choice for your pet unless you feed your dog sensitive stomach foods.

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 a longer shelf life than raw food
  • No refrigeration is required
  • They offer more diverse protein sources than most other commercial kibbles
  • There's little to no loss of vitamins and minerals during the cooking process.

Before you start feeding your dog either 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.

5 Best Dehydrated Dog Food Brands (Top Rated)

The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Organic Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:
PROTEIN 24.5% min
FAT 14.0% min
FIBER 4.0% max
max485 kcal/cup

Dogs are born omnivores but thrive on a diet mainly 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 its calories and proteins as nature intended.

The food has a soft consistency that is 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 picky dog starts itching and suffers from diarrhea from its current diet, it may be helpful to transition them to dehydrated dog foods.

Dog owners with the same issues have resorted to dehydrated foods and become 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.

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Super Meal Mixers

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Super Meal Mixers

Guaranteed Analysis:
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 will likely 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 chicken, turkey, beef, and seafood flavors.

All 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 with 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 healthier skin and coat, increased energy levels, and improved bowel movements after the switch.

Chewy's own kitchen produces the best dehydrated dog food in the USA.

Preparation is done in small quantities to ensure 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.

Wellness CORE Air Dried Dog Food (Natural)

Wellness CORE Air Dried Food (Natural)

Guaranteed Analysis:
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.

Wellness is guaranteed to be backed and is 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 unique formulation for puppies.

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

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 rehydration needed.

Sojos Complete Natural Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food Mix

Guaranteed Analysis:
CRUDE FAT 12.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 4.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
342 kcal/cup

Mix this frozen-dried dog 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, high-protein dog food your pet will enjoy and crave.

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

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

We also took special note of the ingredients list in this product.

It's all real ingredients instead of synthetic ingredients disguised as natural ingredients on other dog food labels.

When rehydrated, we could 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 using Sojos dehydrated dog foods attest to the product's effectiveness.

It helped dogs deal with two of the most common issues – 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 does not cost as much as other similar brands.

Primal Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:
CRUDE FAT 37.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 1.0% max
MOISTURE 2.0% max
172 kcal/oz

Primal Pet Food's freeze-dried dog food formula 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, and enzymes and fortified with natural vitamins and minerals.

They processed all these ingredients minimally to retain their wholesomeness.

This top-rated dehydrated dog food has 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, and quality and wholesome freeze-dried raw pet food.

This could be an appropriate formula for owners of dogs with dermatitis or other skin disorders.

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 dry and crunchy nuggets, while others prefer the tender, moist taste when rehydrated.

Either way, they will take in the same high-quality nutrients that help prevent allergies 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, explaining why frozen 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 at 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-dried 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 in dehydrated raw dog food.

This is not good.

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

This process results in the least (if any) damage to the nutrient content in pet food.

All raw dog food nutrition – vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins – remains intact and will be consumed and absorbed by the dog to eat 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.

For most dogs, freeze-dried dog food will also be more appealing.

5 Best Dehydrated Dog Foods: Bottom Line

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

Some adjustments must be made: nutrients will be lost or involve a particular 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.

The latter is better when comparing air-dried dog food to freeze-dried dog food.

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

Common Questions About the 5 Best Dehydrated Dog Food

Because dehydrated dog food is not 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 better for your pup.

The only caveat is that removing moisture can affect the food's nutrients.

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

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

Or at least that it is different from 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 options on our list above will be a delicious meal that is 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 natural 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.
  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.
  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)


Sarah is the pet food expert at Top Dog Tips with experience in working, writing and researching the pet food industry, dog foods and canine nutrition. She's dedicated to uncover the truths about how, why and what we use to feed our dogs.