If you are looking for a diet based on high-quality ingredients that mimics what your pet’s ancestors would have eaten in the wild, then freeze-dried dog food may be just what you need!
Mimicking the same process used to preserve food for space travel, freeze-dried dog food is more than just a novelty, offering your pet a delicious, nutritious alternative to regular kibble.
But which freeze-dried food is the best?
Top 5 Picks for Best Freeze-Dried Dog Foods in 2021
|Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food Recipes||Our Rating|
|Best Overall Freeze-Dried Dog Food||Grandma Lucy’s Food for Dogs
|Best Budget Freeze-Dried Dog Food||Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals
|Best Freeze-Dried Puppy Food||Stella & Chewy’s Perfectly Puppy Beef & Salmon Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
|Best Freeze-Dried Adult Dog Food||Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals
|Best Freeze-Dried Senior Dog Food||Sojos Complete Turkey & Salmon Recipe Senior Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Dog Food
Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food by Life Stage
Freeze-dried dog foods are aimed towards the higher end of the market, which means that you can expect to spend more money on these diets.
That makes choosing the right option for your pet all the more important!
Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food for Puppies
If you want to start your new dog on freeze-dried food right from the get-go then, some brands make foods specifically with puppies in mind. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Stella & Chewy’s Perfectly Puppy Beef & Salmon Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Beef, Salmon With Ground Bone, Beef Liver
Patty-style freeze-dried food featuring real grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon.
High in protein, this dog food is made from 95% meat, organs, and bone that has been finely ground to provide everything your pet needs for building strong muscles.
Grain-free and minimally processed, this dog food is hormone or antibiotic-free.
- Packed full of probiotics to aid with digestion and antioxidants for immunity
- Includes DHA to support your pup’s brain development
- One pet owner complained this food had the texture of sawdust
2. Stella & Chewy’s Perfectly Puppy Chicken & Salmon Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Salmon With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver
Dinner patty made from 95% meat, including cage-free chicken and wild-caught salmon.
This grain-free, all-natural food contains no fillers, hormones, or antibiotics made in small batches in the USA.
High in protein to support lean muscle growth with added vitamins and minerals, this food caters to young pups’ growing needs.
- Includes nutrient-rich superfoods like chia seeds and New Zealand green mussels for joint and skin health
- Includes probiotics, antioxidants, and DHA for development, gut health, and a robust immune system
- Some dogs did not seem to like the smell of this food
Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food for Adult Dogs (All Sizes)
With high-quality ingredients and no artificial additives, freeze-dried meals can be a great natural option for your canine.
1. Primal Dog Food (Chicken)
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Necks, Chicken Hearts
Freeze-dried food that contains 78% natural chicken with a minimum 37% crude protein content.
The remaining ingredients in this recipe include organic kale, broccoli, and carrots to provide your pet with essential nutrients and antioxidants for immune health.
This food contains no corn, wheat, or soy.
- Salmon and coconut oil provide your pet with omega oils to nourish the skin and coat
- Easy to serve thanks to naturally preserved nuggets
- Large nuggets may need to be crumbled up for small breeds
2. Grandma Lucy’s Food for Dogs
Top Ingredients: USDA Chicken, Potatoes, Flax
Made in the USA using high-quality ingredients, this freeze-dried food is suitable for pets of all sizes and life stages.
It is entirely grain-free, with 26% protein content and 13% fat.
Hormone and antibiotic-free chicken features as the main ingredient, while wholesome veggies like potatoes, carrots, and celery provide potassium, niacin, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B.
- It contains cranberries and blueberries, which are packed full of antioxidants for immune health
- Prepared in small batches in a California-owned facility
- This food does contain bone fragments
3. Sojos Natural Pet Food Freeze Dried Mix (Turkey)
Top Ingredients: Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Whole Egg
A complete and balanced food that contains 27% protein and 15% fat.
This freeze-dried food features highly digestible carbohydrates and plenty of added vitamins and minerals for your pet’s overall health.
- No artificial or genetically engineered ingredients and completely grain and gluten-free
- Made in the USA by a Minnesota based, family-owned business
- Some dogs may find this diet a bit watery with large chunks of vegetables
Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food for Small and Medium-Sized Adult Dogs
An alternative to a raw food diet, being easy to assemble and prepare, dogs of all sizes tend to love freeze-dried food. Some options have been specifically crafted for your tiny pet.
1. Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals
Top Ingredients: Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart
Freeze-dried food with 85% cage-free chicken and 15% non-GMO fruits and vegetables.
Made in the USA, this formula is full of nutritious ingredients and is fortified with vitamins and minerals for your pup’s overall health.
- This is one of the more affordable freeze-dried products on the market
- Many pet owners noticed improvements in their dog’s health, coat, and skin condition on this diet
- Only available in a small bag size, so you would need to stock up if feeding this to your pet every day
2. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food (Turkey)
Top Ingredients: Turkey With Ground Bone, Turkey Liver, Turkey Gizzard
A simple recipe is featuring minimally processed ingredients with 40% protein and 36% fat content.
This dog food also contains probiotics and fiber for digestion, while organic superfoods like squash and blueberries provide plenty of nutrients and antioxidants for overall health.
- Free from grains or gluten with no hormones or antibiotics included
- It contains cage-free turkey as the primary source of protein
- This food is likely to contain bone fragments
3. Halo White Meat Chicken Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Water, Salt
Whole chicken protein treats, designed to be used as a reward for your pet or added to other ingredients as a tasty topper.
The only ingredients are chicken, water, and salt, leaving no room for any fillers or artificial additives. Each treat contains eight calories.
- Solely made from natural hormone and antibiotic-free chicken
- Nutrient-rich with the texture of real meat
- The fat content of this food is relatively high and cannot be used as a meal on its own
Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food for Large Sized Adult Dogs
Freeze-dried food is an appealing choice for pet parents with large, active dogs who need to support their energy levels with plenty of protein and fat.
1. Instinct’s Raw Boost Mixers Freeze-Dried Dog Food Topper (Chicken)
Top Ingredients: Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds
A dog food topper, this freeze-dried option is made to boost your regular dog’s diet.
This food is made from cage-free chicken and chicken liver with non-GMO fruits and veggies like broccoli, blueberries, apples, carrots, and butternut squash, adding to the wholesome nutrition of this diet.
- It is made in the USA with no grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, or artificial colors or preservatives.
- Designed to add texture, taste, and variety to your dog’s daily kibble
- Some pups simply didn’t like this food
2. Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Beef Recipe Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food Topper
Top Ingredients: Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney
Another meal mixer to add to your dog’s regular kibble, this product is designed to add flavor to your pet’s food while providing your dog with pure, natural nutrition.
The formula is made with real whole food ingredients with plenty of fruits and veggies such as apples, carrots, butternut, flaxseed, and broccoli.
- Made with protein-packed natural freeze-dried beef as the main ingredient
- Grain and corn free and made in the USA
- Some pet owners complained that as a topper, this was more expensive than just using human food
Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food for Senior Dogs
Getting your senior dog to show a genuine interest in their food can sometimes be challenging.
However, freeze-dried alternatives can provide them with delicious, tasty, and tempting options that still cater to their overall health with added supplements.
Calcium, DHA, and glucosamine support their aging bodies.
1. Sojos Complete Turkey & Salmon Recipe Senior Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Dog Food
Top Ingredients: Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries
A freeze-dried food packed full of nutrients, this food has an irresistible meaty texture and flavor.
It contains no artificial ingredients, fillers, preservatives, or soy and is specifically designed with senior pups in mind.
- Includes fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin for nourishing your older pet’s joints and muscles
- The stinky, delicious taste and texture of this food appeals to even the pickiest of eaters
- Some dog owners complained that this food had a soup-like consistency
2. Instinct Raw Meals Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Senior Dog Food, 9.5-oz bag
Top Ingredients: Chicken, Beef Liver, Beef Spleen
Natural, tasty food formulated for senior dogs with cage-free chicken as the main ingredient for a protein boost.
Packed with natural fruits and vegetables and added vitamins and minerals, this raw food appeals to even the pickiest of eaters.
This food contains no grain, corn, wheat, soy, legumes, and artificial colors and preservatives.
- Designed to aid digestion and bolster muscles, bones, joints, and energy levels of senior dogs
- Supports brain and eye health with natural DHA, as well as hip and joint health with glucosamine and chondroitin
- Some pet owners said their dog would not touch this food
What is a Freeze-Dried Dog Food?
In the wild, dogs would have eaten a diet that consisted primarily of meat and fish. It is on this premise that most freeze-dried foods are based.
Many owners believe that replicating this wild diet is the best choice for a pet’s metabolism.
However, providing your dog with a fresh raw diet is not very easy to maintain, and hence natural, freeze-dried alternatives offer the next best thing.
Freeze-dried dog food is essentially raw dog food that has had the moisture removed to preserve the food.
The freeze-drying process makes the food shelf-stable, meaning it is preserved for storing and transportation.
It involves placing the raw ingredients in a pressurized chamber in which they are frozen solid. This is a process known as sublimation.
During the process, nutrients and protein structures are preserved so that quality is not compromised.
When you are ready to feed your pet the food, you simply rehydrate it with water.
What is better, freeze-dried or dehydrated dog food?
Dehydrated and freeze-dried dog food is not the same thing.
Dehydrated dog food involves cooking raw ingredients at low temperatures to remove the moisture, much as you would do when making your kale chips or beef jerky.
While some of the nutrients are destroyed during this process, dehydrated food can still provide good nutrition levels.
Some dehydrated foods need to have water added to them before eating, but not all.
Freeze-dried foods are considered raw as no temperature has been used for cooking the ingredients.
On the other hand, dehydrated foods would not be regarded as raw as these foods have been exposed to cooking.
Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food vs. Frozen Raw Dog Food
On heating ingredients, many foods get damaged, losing some of their nutrient content. This is why the freeze-drying process is so good, as it helps to retain the nutrient value of raw ingredients.
Freeze-dried diets are different from completely raw diets as the food has been processed so that it is easier to store on the shelf for long periods.
You can’t store fresh raw food without refrigeration.
Even when refrigerating or freezing fresh raw food, there is a finite period that this food can be stored for, unlike freeze-dried alternatives.
For this reason, you will struggle to find many commercially produced raw foods available at your local pet store.
Benefits of Freeze-Dried Dog Food
The primary benefit of freeze-dried dog food is that it is lightly processed and usually contains limited ingredients.
This means that your pup’s diet will be as close to the natural ingredients as possible. Most dogs love the taste of freeze-dried food, as the process helps to lock in as much flavor as possible.
This means that freeze-dried food is an excellent choice for picky eaters or dogs without much of an appetite.
Freeze-drying these ingredients provide owners with the benefits of raw dog food while still providing the convenience of long shelf life.
What Are the Downsides to Freeze-Dried Foods?
Raw diets are not suitable for all dogs. Freeze-dried foods contain high protein and fat levels and are low in fiber.
While this might not be a problem for your dog, you can expect your pup to produce less excrement on this type of diet – which can be a positive!
One of the primary downsides to freeze-dried food is the expense. The high-quality products included in their formulas make freeze-dried dog foods on the pricey side.
Do remember, though, that the bag will swell to about three times its size when water is added.
If it’s not in your budget to feed your pup a solely freeze-dried diet, then you may consider using this type of food as a tasty topper on your pet’s ordinary kibble.
Another downside of freeze-dried food is that you run the bacteria contamination risk due to the raw food aspect.
Dogs aren’t as susceptible to bacteria as humans are, but they can still get sick from eating raw meat.
The freeze-drying process eliminates breeding ground for bacteria by removing moisture, but as soon as you rehydrate the food, this bacteria can flourish.
Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food Buying Guide
You need to consider several things when buying dog food, be that freeze-dried options or otherwise.
What to Look for in a Good Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Freeze-dried dog foods typically contain free-range and wild-caught sources of proteins as well as organic, natural vegetables.
As with any dog food, it is important to check out the ingredients and nutritional information before purchasing.
The primary protein source should be of high quality, preferably from a cage-free animal, human-grade, and free of any antibiotics or hormones.
You can expect most freeze-dried foods to contain some organ meat as well as bones.
Alongside this protein, dog food should contain plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, which will supply your pet with fiber as well as nutrients.
The best fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and fiber, such as cranberries, spinach, blackberries, carrots, and blueberries.
The best freeze-dried foods contain plenty of amino fatty acids from ingredients like herring oil, fish meal, salmon, or flaxseed.
Where possible, try to select freeze-dried foods made in the USA, Europe, Canada, or New Zealand
Strict control regulations are in place thanks to organizations like AAFCO regarding dog foods’ nutrient content.
Although foods manufactured elsewhere can seem cheap, they can be dangerous if not packaged correctly or may not contain the best nutrition for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Still have some questions about feeding your dog a freeze-dried diet? Let’s address some of those concerns:
Is freeze-dried dog food better than regular dog food?
As these foods have a high meat content, the protein content is also high.
This is good for building muscle in most dogs, but if your pet suffers from health issues such as kidney or liver disease, the high protein content can prove problematic.
Freeze-dried food also tends to have a higher than average fat content. This fat content helps supply active dogs with energy but can cause health problems in more sedentary pups.
How long do freeze-dried dog foods last?
You can store freeze-dried food for even longer than you can keep most kibble!
The low moisture content allows the food to be stored at room temperature without the risk of the food going rancid. However, once opened, the contents will quickly start to deteriorate.
Can you give homemade freeze-dried food for your dog?
While making raw dog food at home is relatively easy if you get the ratios right, freeze-drying your food is a bit more complicated.
While it is possible to freeze dry your food, most pet owners won’t invest the considerable time, effort, and money that this requires. To do so, you will have to invest in expensive equipment.
What’s the safest way to switch my dog to a new freeze-dried food?
Any change to your pet’s diet must be done gradually. A sudden change to a new diet can cause your dog to react negatively, developing nausea and diarrhea.
Talk to your vet before choosing any new food for your dog
Before you switch your pet over to freeze-dried food, it is advisable to chat with your veterinarian.
For instance, there are some cases if your pet has a chronic illness in which freeze-dried food is not suitable, and your vet will be able to advise accordingly.
Your vet is best placed to advise on the appropriate diet for your specific dog’s breed, size, age, and health.
The best freeze-dried food for your dog will depend on your preferences and budget, as well as your dog’s tastes.
The good news is that with this type of diet growing ever more popular, there is a wide range of dog food products to choose from.
Some additional brands not mentioned in the list above include Vital Essentials, TruDog, Primal Freeze, and K9 Natural.
Have you tried a freeze-dried diet with your pup? Let us know in the comments below.