Decisions, decisions, decisions….
What are we feeding our four legged companions? Their diet is just as complicated as ours. When it comes to our pets’ diet, it is natural for all of us pawrents to pay extra attention to what goes into their furry bellies. Afterall, they are like family to us and we want to feed our families only the best. For felines and doggos alike, it is always a struggle and a daunting task choosing the right brand and type of food especially with the wide range of options available in the market today.
To help you arrive at an informed decision the next time you shop, we hope this article topic will come in handy. Today we will discuss the differences and processes involved in dehydrated, air-dried and freeze-dried pet food. These three varieties sound very similar in that they are without moisture, but are these terms interchangeable?
Fresh food is of course one of the healthiest options for your pet, but is not always affordable or time-efficient. Many pet food brands are moving toward other methods of production to provide solutions that are both healthy and convenient.
Let us have an in-depth look at these types of food:
Dehydration is one of the earliest methods of preserving food by removing all water content, making the end product smaller and lighter. Dehydrated pet food is made by taking wholesome, raw ingredients and gently removing the moisture from them. This process is done at a low heat so as to not break down naturally occurring nutrients, enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. If you have ever made meat jerky, or kale chips at home, then you have essentially made dehydrated food. Dehydrated foods do need to be rehydrated before feeding, and the shelf life is significantly shorter. To feed dehydrated pet food, simply add moisture back in the form of warm water or bone broth, stir and serve!
Pet food that is air-dried has all moisture removed via evaporation. The process of air-drying is very similar to dehydration but without the addition of heat. This minimises any damage to proteins, vitamins, sensitive nutrients and enzymes contained in the natural ingredients. This type of food retains its conformation quite well, resisting any crumbling. It eliminates harmful pathogens while preserving vital nutrients, offering nutrition similar to a raw diet. Essentially, the air-drying process is between that of freeze-drying and traditional dehydration using heat. This is a fairly cost-effective process and has a relatively long shelf life of about 18 months, but falls short of the 24 to 26 months that freeze-dried foods have. To feed, it can be used as a meal, a supplement, or a topper, or even doled out as treats. Air-dried nutrition simplifies the wholesome, healthy feeding process.
When pet food is freeze-dried, this essentially means that all moisture is removed from the food, while still keeping it frozen. To achieve this, the raw food is first placed in a pressurised chamber and frozen solid. It then goes through a process of sublimation involving low temperatures and pressure where the liquid is phased from a solid to gaseous state. Freeze-drying is a slow sophisticated method that preserves nutrients, enzymes, and protein structures while making the food shelf exponentially stable. It retains nearly 100% of the natural nutrients in foods, almost as good as eating it raw! Although this type of food often has tendencies to crumble, it is still very nutrient rich for your pet. To feed, simply crumble the freeze dried patties or nuggets and rehydrate with water.
Which is better?
Dehydrated, air-dried and freeze-dried pet foods are all great and convenient alternatives to fresh or raw frozen food by saving time, hassle and provides an increased shelf life. It is also a healthier choice as compared to conventional dry kibble.
Nonetheless, the big question still boils down to “what should I feed my furkid? There is no right or wrong answer but it is important to feed them a well-balanced meal that contains all the nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy. One thing to keep in mind is that these foods do not contain any moisture as opposed to frozen raw. This means that your pet will need to drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated. Always have fresh water available especially when putting them on a dried food diet.
Ultimately, each variety has its strengths and weaknesses. Only you know your pet best. Whichever method you choose to feed your pet depends on finding the right balance to fit your pet’s individual needs as well as your lifestyle and what works best for both of you!
We hope this article has helped you better understand the differences between these processing methods.
Head over to papapetshop.com and shop from our extensive range of dry food for your furry pals! Psssst, if you sign up as a first-time member, we will give you a $15 voucher!
Don’t miss this chance! Head over to our website and make your purchase now! ?