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8 Best Air Dried Dog Foods

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on April 30, 2024

Reviewed by: Dr. Theresa Fossum

Reviewed by:

Dr. Theresa Fossum

Meet Dr. Theresa (Terry) W. Fossum, DVM, MS. Ph.D., Diplomate ACVS – a remarkable animal lover whose passion for animal care and innovative solutions has left an indelible mark on the veterinary world. As the CEO of both Phoenix Animal Wellness and Epic Veterinary Specialists, she's ensuring dogs and cats receive the highest level of care and compassion.Read more
iHeartDogs is reader supported. Some of the links below may be paid affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on a product at no additional cost to you. 

Dog nutrition is constantly evolving, and air dried dog foods are quickly gaining popularity. Air dried food is favored by many pet parents because it’s nutrient-rich like raw food while still being as safe and convenient as kibble. This innovative preparation method cooks the food slowly at low temperatures to ensure it retains as much nutritional value as possible.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best air dried dog food options, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your pup’s dietary needs.

Dog running with food bowl

Best Air Dried Dog Food

Spot & Tango Unkibble
  • Offers personalized plans
  • Made of 100% fresh, whole ingredients
  • Vet-developed
  • Convenient, but packed with nutrients
  • Three recipes to choose from
  • Get 50% off - use promo code: IHEARTDOGS50

Spot & Tango is a company known for its commitment to providing high-quality, fresh dog food. As part of its innovative approach to canine nutrition, the company introduced “UnKibble,” which is a beneficial alternative to the conventionally processed kibble many pet parents are familiar with. UnKibble by Spot & Tango offers dogs a whole-food-based nutrition, crafted with fresh ingredients that are gently dried to preserve their natural benefits. This method ensures that pets receive meals rich in essential nutrients without the additives, fillers, and artificial preservatives typically found in kibble.

Badlands Ranch Superfood Complete
  • 87% meat and organs
  • Packed with healthy fruits and vegetables
  • Benefits heart, muscle, immunity, vision, digestion, skin, and coat
  • Good for picky or sensitive dogs
  • Beef or chicken available

Badlands Ranch Superfood Complete is cooked “low and slow” to preserve the nutrients of raw food while being convenient and safe like kibble. It’s packed with proteins, fruits, and vegetables to give your pup a balanced diet. Those ingredients can benefit many areas of your dog’s health, including their heart, digestion, skin, coat, vision, immunity, and muscles. Plus, this company always gets its meat from humane sources in the United States.

Pawstruck Air Dried Dog Food
  • Up to 97% real meat
  • Available in chicken, beef, or fish
  • Vet-recommended
  • Benefits your dog's hips, joints, skin, and coat
  • Can be used as a full meal or a topper for picky eaters

Pawstruck, a brand known for its popular treats and chews, now has its own air-dried dog food line as well. They have three formulas: beef, chicken, and fish. Their air dried food has up to 97% real meat in it, with the remaining percentage made up of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This vet-approved dog food is the perfect alternative to other food types because it has the flavor and nutrition of fresh or raw food with the safety and convenience of kibble. It can make up a full meal or be used as a flavorful topper for picky pups.

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Sundays Food for Dogs
  • Over 90% fresh meat, organs, and bones
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Vet-formulated
  • Beneficial for picky pups and sensitive stomachs
  • Comes in beef, chicken, or turkey

Breaking away from conventional dog food products, Sundays presents a unique air-dried formula designed to combine the benefits of raw, home-cooked, and kibble diets without the common downsides of each. Their vet-formulated recipes emphasize whole, natural ingredients that prioritize canine health and well-being. By using a gentle air-drying process, Sundays ensures that essential nutrients are retained, delivering food that’s both tasty and nutritionally rich. It’s made using all human-grade ingredients, and it’s a great solution for picky eaters.

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Redbarn Air Dried Dog Food
  • Made with 85% meat or more
  • Makes a great meal, topper, or treat
  • Includes wholesome ingredients like flaxseed and salmon oil
  • Easy to chew
  • Comes in several flavors

Redbarn is a recognized brand in the pet food industry, dedicated to offering quality products for our four-legged companions. Their Air Dried Dog Food line aims to provide pets with a nutrient-rich diet that’s close to its natural state. By utilizing an air-drying process, the company can maintain the integrity of the ingredients, preserving their innate nutrients without the need for artificial preservatives. This ensures that dogs receive the benefits of a raw diet but with the convenience and safety of dry food. This food also works well as high-value training treats.

Get 10% off Redbarn with a subscription!

ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food
  • Made of 96% meat, organs, and bone
  • Good for dogs with allergies
  • Benefits digestion, skin, coat, joints, heart, and brain
  • Works as a topper or full meal
  • Comes in a variety of flavors

ZIWI Peak dog food is an all-natural, grain-free, and high-protein product that’s suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes. The ingredients, including free-range beef and New Zealand green mussels, are air-dried to provide peak nutrition and taste. However, they offer other flavors, such as chicken, lamb, and venison so you can find a formula that interests your dog. Additionally, the product is ethically and sustainably sourced from New Zealand farms and oceans with no added hormones, antibiotics, or growth promotants.

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Holistic Air Dried Dry Dog Food
  • 90% real meat and organs
  • Grain-free, high-protein diet
  • Works as a topper, treat, or full meal
  • Benefits your dog's heart and digestion
  • Available in chicken or beef

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Holistic Air Dried Dog Food is high in protein, grain-free, and made with real chicken or beef. The meat sources always avoid the use of added antibiotics or growth hormones. The unique air-drying process provides superior nutrition compared to kibble, but it’s still just as convenient as other dry dog food. Plus, the recipe is perfect as a complete meal, treat, or high-protein topper. Dogs love the great taste, making it a healthy and delicious option for pets, even picky eaters.

Front of the Pack Free Range Chicken Air-Dried Dog Food
  • High protein with 85% meat (chicken)
  • Includes organic fruits and vegetables
  • Good for dogs with allergies
  • Beneficial for weight control

This product is a 2.5-lb bag of free-range chicken air-dried dog food made with healthy, natural ingredients and lots of protein. It includes organic fruits and vegetables and is free of additives and preservatives. It’s a limited-ingredient diet with only 18 whole food ingredients, making it suitable for dogs with allergies or sensitive stomachs. The recipe is backed by science and suitable for adult and senior dogs. It can also help dogs maintain a healthy weight.

Addiction Raw Alternative Dog Food
  • Quality meat is the first ingredient
  • Includes nutrient-rich superfoods like flaxseed, apples, and spinach
  • Good for digestion, skin, coat, and energy
  • Works as a meal or topper
  • Comes in a variety of flavors

The Addiction Perfect Summer Brushtail Raw Alternative Dog Food is a high-quality, nutrient-rich option for pet parents looking for a convenient and safe alternative to raw food. Made with meat as the number one ingredient, this air-dried dog food also includes nutrient-packed superfoods like flaxseed, apples, rosemary, and spinach. It promotes healthy digestion and helps keep a dog’s skin and coat healthy using coconut oil. It can be served on its own, as a kibble topper, or as a tasty treat.

What Are The Benefits of Air-Dried Dog Food?

Air-dried dog food brings several benefits to the table, making it an increasingly popular choice among dog parents.

High Nutritional Value

Air drying preserves the nutritional content of the food, including proteins, vitamins, and minerals, much better than traditional cooking methods used for most kibbles. This process provides your dog with more of the original nutrients of the raw ingredients.

Better Flavor

Since the ingredients are air-dried and not cooked, they tend to retain more of their original flavor, which can be more appealing to many dogs compared to regular dry food.


The air-drying process significantly reduces the moisture content in the food, which in turn minimizes bacterial growth, making it safer than raw food.


Air-dried dog food is just as easy to store and serve as regular dry food, making it a convenient option that doesn’t require refrigeration like raw or wet foods.


Because air-dried food is minimally processed, it’s often easier for dogs to digest than traditional kibble. The higher meat content and absence of fillers also contribute to better digestibility.

Low Carbohydrate Content

Air-dried foods often contain fewer carbohydrates than traditional kibble, making them a good option for dogs requiring a low-carb diet.

Remember, while air-dried dog food has many benefits, it’s always best to consult with your vet to ensure it’s the right fit for your dog’s specific needs and health status.

Puppy licking lips

Related: Nom Nom vs Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food Comparison

How Does Air-Dried Dog Food Compare to Kibble, Freeze-Dried, and Wet Foods?

Air-dried dog food sits in a unique position in the pet food spectrum, drawing benefits from each of the other types of food, but also offering its unique advantages.

Compared to Kibble

Traditional kibble is often cooked at high temperatures, which can degrade some of the food’s nutritional value, particularly proteins and certain sensitive vitamins. In contrast, air drying uses a lower temperature, preserving more of the original nutrients. However, kibble is often less expensive and has a longer shelf life compared to air-dried food.

Compared to Freeze-Dried Food

Both air-dried and freeze-dried foods aim to preserve the nutrients in the raw ingredients, but the processes are different. Freeze-drying involves freezing the food and then removing the moisture under a vacuum while air-drying slowly evaporates the moisture at low heat. Both processes result in a nutrient-rich, convenient product, but freeze-dried food may require rehydration before serving, whereas air-dried food does not.

Compared to Wet Foods

Wet foods are highly palatable and hydrating, but they typically need to be refrigerated after opening and used within a couple of days. Air-dried foods, on the other hand, are more shelf-stable and convenient while still being flavorful and nutritionally dense. However, they might not provide the same level of hydration as wet foods, so additional water intake should be encouraged.

Each type of dog food has its place, depending on your pet’s specific needs, preferences, and lifestyle. It’s always recommended to discuss your dog’s diet with a vet or a pet nutrition expert to ensure they’re getting a balanced and complete diet.

Related: Top 13 Dog Food Brands With No Recalls

Frequently Asked Questions About Air-Dried Dog Foods

What is air-dried dog food?

Air-dried dog food is a type of pet food where the moisture is slowly evaporated from the raw ingredients at low heat, preserving the nutrients while eliminating pathogens. The result is a dry, lightweight, and nutrient-dense food that’s convenient and easy to store.

Is air-dried food safe for my dog?

Yes, air-dried food is generally safe for dogs. The air-drying process reduces the moisture content in the food, which minimizes the growth of bacteria, making it safer than raw food. However, like with any new food, introduce it gradually and monitor your dog’s reaction.

Does air-dried food need to be rehydrated?

Unlike freeze-dried food, air-dried dog food does not need to be rehydrated before feeding. It can be served straight from the bag, making it a convenient option for meal times.

How long does air-dried dog food last?

Air-dried dog food, if unopened, can last for several months on the shelf. Once opened, it’s best to use the food within the manufacturer’s suggested time frame, typically within four to six weeks.

Can I feed my dog only air-dried food?

Air-dried food is designed to provide a complete and balanced diet, so it can be served alone. However, it’s always good to offer variety and make sure your dog’s diet meets their specific nutritional needs. Air dried dog food works great as a food topper mixed with other types of food.

Is air-dried dog food suitable for puppies?

Air-dried food can be suitable for puppies. However, if it’s not formulated for growth or all life stages, it may not have the necessary nutrients for your puppy’s development.

Does air-dried dog food help with dental health?

While air-dried food isn’t specifically designed for dental health, the chewing required can help clean your dog’s teeth. However, it’s not a substitute for regular dental care practices such as tooth brushing or professional cleanings.

Is air-dried dog food grain-free?

While many air-dried dog foods are grain-free, it’s not always the case. It depends on the specific product and brand. So, always check the ingredient list if your dog has specific dietary needs.

Does air-dried dog food cause allergies?

Air-dried dog food itself doesn’t cause allergies. However, if your dog has allergies to a specific ingredient in the food, it could trigger a reaction. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, consult with a vet. Luckily, many air dried formulas have limited ingredients to cater to dogs with allergies.

Is air-dried dog food expensive?

Compared to some other types of food like kibble, air-dried dog food can be more expensive due to its high-quality ingredients and processing method. However, prices can vary widely depending on the brand and product.

What are the benefits of air-dried dog food?

Air-dried dog food retains more nutrients compared to other processing methods like heat extrusion used in kibble. This results in nutrient-dense, high-quality food. Plus, the texture can be more appealing to some dogs compared to traditional dry foods.

How does air-dried food affect a dog’s digestion?

Because air-dried dog food is typically made from high-quality, whole-food ingredients and retains more nutrients, it can be easier to digest and more bioavailable for dogs. This means your dog may absorb and utilize the nutrients more efficiently, which can result in better overall health.

Can I mix air-dried dog food with other types of food?

Yes, you can mix air-dried dog food with other types of food. Some pet parents choose to mix it with kibble, canned food, or fresh foods to add variety and enhance the nutritional value of their dog’s diet.

Can dogs with specific health conditions eat air-dried food?

It depends on the specific health condition. If your dog has a health issue, you should talk to your vet before making any changes to their diet. Certain conditions may require specific dietary modifications that air-dried food may or may not meet.

What’s the difference between air-dried and freeze-dried dog food?

While both processes aim to preserve the nutrients in the food, the methods are different. Air-drying slowly evaporates moisture at low heat, whereas freeze-drying involves freezing the food and then removing the moisture under a vacuum. The main difference is that freeze-dried food may need rehydration before feeding, while air-dried does not.

What’s the environmental impact of air-dried dog food?

Generally, the production of air-dried dog food requires less energy compared to methods like canning or making dry kibble, which can make it a more environmentally friendly choice. However, the environmental impact also depends on factors like the sourcing of ingredients, packaging materials, and transportation.

What does a dog’s stool look like when fed air-dried food?

Changes in stool can vary based on the individual dog and diet. Generally, if the air-dried food is well-tolerated, the stools should be well-formed and consistent. A drastic change in stool appearance or consistency could indicate that the food isn’t agreeing with your dog.

Is it okay to switch from kibble to air-dried food immediately?

A sudden diet change can sometimes upset a dog’s stomach. So, you should gradually transition over a week or so, mixing increasing amounts of the new food with the old to allow your dog’s digestive system to adjust.

How do I store air-dried dog food?

Air-dried dog food should be stored in a cool, dry place. It’s often best to keep it in its original packaging, which can protect the food from light, air, and moisture. Once opened, it should be used within the recommended time frame to ensure freshness.

Can air-dried dog food be used for training treats?

Yes, air dried dog food can be used as a healthy training treat. Because it’s nutrient-dense and highly palatable, many dogs find it very motivating during training sessions. Just remember to account for these extra calories in your dog’s overall daily intake.

Golden Retriever eating

Conclusion: Best Air Dried Dog Food

In conclusion, air-dried dog food offers a fantastic balance of nutrition, flavor, and convenience, making it a worthy consideration for your dog’s diet. With the variety of products available, you’re bound to find one that suits your furry friend’s specific needs.

However, remember that every dog is unique, and it’s always a good idea to consult with your vet when introducing a significant change to your pet’s diet. By considering your dog’s breed, age, activity level, and health status, you’ll be able to choose an air-dried dog food that nourishes them best.

iHeartDogs is reader supported. Some of the links below may be paid affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on a product at no additional cost to you. 

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