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We Tested 11 Top Freeze Dried Dog Foods for 30 Days – Here’s What We Found

Written by: Justin Palmer
Justin Palmer is a Certified Pet Food Nutrition Specialist and co-founder of iHeartDogs.com. Inspired by his rescued husky, Splash, he dedicated himself to learning about extending both the length and quality of her life. Splash lived and thrived until 18 years old, and now Justin is on a mission to share what he learned with other dog owners.Read more
| Published on March 11, 2024

Freeze-dried dog food offers a convenient and nutrient-rich option for pet owners seeking a diet close to a dog’s natural ancestral intake. Typically made by removing moisture from raw ingredients under low temperature and pressure, this process preserves the natural nutrients without requiring preservatives. The resulting lightweight and shelf-stable product retains most of the original taste, texture, and nutritional content of the raw materials, making it an excellent alternative to both traditional kibble and raw diets.

When considering freeze-dried dog foods, it is critical to evaluate ingredients’ quality, the balance of nutrients, and the inclusion of beneficial additions like probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. High-quality proteins should be at the forefront of the ingredient list, followed by wholesome vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. The absence of fillers, artificial additives, and preservatives is equally important for maintaining a dog’s health.

Choosing the right freeze-dried dog food also depends on factors like your dog’s age, breed, and activity level. A suitable product should cater to their specific nutritional requirements. Allergies and sensitivities must be considered as well, opting for formulas that exclude common triggers like grains or certain proteins if necessary.

Our Testing Methodology

After switching my then 11-year-old husky to a diet that included freeze-dried raw dog food, I became completely captivated by the potential health benefits of these foods. My husky lived to the impressive age of 18, and I’m deeply convinced that her longevity was significantly influenced by the partial switch to freeze-dried food. This experience sparked a passion in me to delve deeper into the world of freeze-dried dog foods, especially as I sought the best options for my 2-year-old Goldendoodle, who is quite picky with her meals. Based on my research and testing over the last 6 months, here’s my findings:

Top 11 Freeze Dried Dog Foods (Based On Our Testing)

Our pets deserve the highest-quality nutrition for their health and well-being. We’ve searched for the best freeze-dried dog foods that deliver on both nutritional value and taste. Our selection focuses on products that are made with premium ingredients, offering a balance of proteins, fats, and essential vitamins to support your dog’s diet. In the following list, you’ll find our top picks that will help keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

#1 – Stella’s Super Beef Patties ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

We highly recommend these for anyone looking for a high-protein, grain-free option that closely mimics a dog’s natural diet.

Pros

  • Mimics a dog’s natural diet with 95% beef, organs, and bone
  • Organic fruits and veggies that support immune health
  • Made in the USA with high-quality ingredients and responsible sourcing

Cons

  • May be pricey compared to other dog foods
  • Could be too rich for some dogs with sensitivities
  • Limited protein variety may not suit all dietary preferences

Our Video Review

Having introduced these freeze-dried patties into our dogs’ diets, the change in their vitality is undeniable. Rather than the usual kibble, providing them with Stella & Chewy’s Dinner Patties has brought mealtime excitement back. Seeing their eagerness and enjoyment makes it clear these patties are a hit.

The simplicity of serving these patties is another point in their favor. We find it convenient to store and handle, plus it rehydrates quickly, saving us time during our busy schedules. It’s mess-free, and there’s no complicated preparation needed, which is exactly what we need for our fast-paced lives.

Observing our dogs’ coat glossiness and overall health improving has just affirmed our choice. The patties have ingredients that naturally enhance skin and coat health. However, while the cost may be higher than traditional dog food, we consider this as an investment in our pets’ health, which ultimately is a top priority for us.

#2 – BIXBI Rawbble Beef ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

We believe BIXBI Rawbble Beef is a solid choice for pet owners seeking a blend of raw nutrition and kibble convenience for their dogs.

Pros

  • Mimics a natural canine diet with 98% meat, bones, and organs
  • No need for refrigeration, making it as convenient as traditional kibble
  • Free from artificial ingredients, grains, gluten, and by-products

Cons

  • May crumble easily, which could be less ideal for use as training treats
  • Price point might be higher compared to some conventional dog foods
  • Pellet hardness varies, potentially affecting palatability

Our Video Review

For us dog owners looking for a closer-to-raw diet that suits our modern, busy lives, BIXBI Rawbble Beef brings something worth considering to our furry friends’ bowls. Its high meat content, reflecting a dog’s ancestral dietary patterns, is commendable. We’ve noticed it even seems to promote dental health, with firmer stools as a clear indicator of its digestibility and quality composition.

Storage and handling simplicity is where BIXBI Rawbble truly stands out. Unlike traditional raw food, there’s no fuss over refrigeration or defrosting. We just scoop it out and top the regular meal or offer it solo—our pups haven’t seemed happier. Their eagerness at mealtime is a testament to Rawbble’s flavorful appeal.

On the downside, while some of us appreciate the ease of a kibble-like product, we’ve observed the pellets can be a bit brittle. If you’re in the habit of carrying treats in your pocket for on-the-go training, you might find a surprising amount of crumbs. Additionally, while quality often commands a higher price, it’s something to factor into our budgets, especially for multi-dog households.

Despite these minor qualms, our overall experience with BIXBI Rawbble Beef has been largely positive. It’s a premium, pantry-friendly option that lets us treat our dogs to the benefits of a raw diet without the usual hassle. Plus, the peace of mind that comes with feeding our dogs quality, US-sourced ingredients? Priceless.

#3 – Nutra Complete Beef ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

We recommend Nutra Complete Beef for pet owners looking for a nutritious and convenient meal option for their furry friends.

Pros

  • Packed with high-quality beef and 40 essential nutrients
  • Versatile as a complete meal or a tasty topper
  • Encourages healthy digestion, coat, and overall wellness

Cons

  • Pricier compared to other dog foods
  • Packaging may be cumbersome for some to handle
  • May not be suitable for all dogs, especially those with beef sensitivities

Our Video Review

After introducing Nutra Complete Beef to our dog’s diet, we noticed his coat becoming remarkably more lustrous. The freeze-dried chunks rehydrate quickly, which is handy during our rushed mornings. At mealtimes, our picky eater now finishes his bowl without any fuss, which speaks volumes about the taste.

We’ve used it both as a complete meal and as a topper on kibble. It’s versatile and definitely simplifies feeding routines. The antioxidants and prebiotics included seem to aid his digestion well. It’s fulfilling to see our dog thriving and energized throughout the day.

The cost is a bit steep, yet considering the premium ingredients and the balanced formulation, we found the value justifiable. Those managing strict budgets might have to use Nutra Complete sparingly. The packaging took some getting used to, but once we got the hang of it, it was a breeze to store and serve.

#4 – 360 Pet Freeze Dried Meal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

We believe this freeze-dried meal is a top choice for those seeking a high-quality, nutrient-dense diet for their adult dogs, offering both convenience and health benefits.

Pros

  • All-natural ingredients support overall wellness
  • High in omega-3 fats for joint health and a shiny coat
  • High-protein content promoting strong bones and muscles
  • Multi-meat exposes your dog to multiple proteins, which can help reduce allergies later life

Cons

  • May take time for some dogs to adjust to the texture
  • The quantity may seem insufficient for larger breeds
  • Premium price point could be a constraint for daily feeding

Our Video Review

We’ve found that 360 Pet Freeze Dried Meal captures the essence of what health-conscious pet owners are seeking: a nutrient-packed meal made with high-quality, natural ingredients. The protein-rich formula has visibly kept our dog’s muscles toned and bones strong. They’ve also relished the added bounce in their step, thanks to the omega-3 fats that are crucial for joint health.

Preparation is hardly a fuss; a splash of warm water turns the freeze-dried bits into a sumptuous meal. We’ve noticed that our dog’s coat has been shining more than usual, hinting at the diet’s positive impact on skin and fur health. It’s apparent that 360 Pet Nutrition has taken great care to avoid unnecessary fillers, sticking to what’s genuinely best for our furry friend.

While the benefits are clear, some considerations merit attention. Our smaller dog adapted quickly, but our larger companion took longer to accept the new texture. The bag’s size initially had us wondering if it would suffice, especially for owners of larger breeds who may require more substantial portions. Finally, the cost can add up if this becomes the primary source of nutrition, making it more realistic as an addition to a balanced diet or for a special dietary treat.

#5 – Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried Meals ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

We think Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals are well worth considering for their high-quality ingredients and ease of use, offering balanced nutrition with a taste dogs love.

Pros

  • Infuses mealtime with wholesome raw nutrition
  • Promotes digestive health and vitality
  • Convenient alternative to frozen raw diets

Cons

  • Higher cost compared to traditional kibble
  • Some dogs might need time to adjust to the texture
  • Limited flavor variety

Our Video Review

Witnessing our dogs’ upbeat energy and the way they lick their bowls clean after every mealtime is a testament to the appeal of Instinct’s Freeze-Dried Raw Meals. The beef flavor seems to resonate with their taste buds, making feeding time an eagerly anticipated event.

Handling this dog food is a breeze. It’s lightweight and doesn’t require freezer space, a huge plus for our busy household. Transitioning our dogs to a raw diet couldn’t have been simpler, and it’s reassuring to know they’re munching on nutrient-packed meals.

The benefits of feeding our furry companions this grain-free recipe are evident in their shiny coats and bright eyes. We appreciate that it’s minimally processed and doesn’t contain any questionable additives. Yet, we’re mindful of the price point, which is notably higher than other dog food options out there. However, the quality justifies the investment for our dogs’ health and happiness.

#6 – Primal Beef Nuggets ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

We highly recommend Primal Beef Nuggets for those seeking a high-quality, convenient raw food option for their dogs.

Pros

  • Vitamins and minerals from whole fruit and veggies, not synthetically added premix
  • Made with high-quality, grass-fed beef and organic produce
  • Can be served as a complete meal or as a tasty topper
  • Convenient and shelf-stable, making raw feeding easier

Cons

  • Premium price point may not suit every budget – On a per meal basis, this was the costliest food we tested
  • May need to rehydrate, which requires extra time
  • Didn’t love the brick shaped pellets which needed to be broken up for most dogs (although Primal does have a smaller kibble size option now too)

Our Video Review

When we first introduced Primal Beef Nuggets into our dogs’ diet, we noticed they couldn’t get enough of the rich beef flavor. It’s evident that the grass-fed beef and organic ingredients make a difference, not just in taste but also in our dogs’ overall vitality. Their coats became shinier and their energy levels surged – a testament to nutrient-dense, minimally-processed food.

What we appreciate about Primal Beef Nuggets is their versatility. On days when we’re rushed, these nuggets serve as a quick yet complete meal. Other times, we crumble them over regular food, transforming a bland meal into a delicacy that has our dogs wagging their tails in anticipation.

However, we do acknowledge the higher price point. While the quality justifies the cost, it can strain a tight pet food budget. Also, for those new to raw food, there’s a bit of a learning curve with the rehydration process. But once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s fairly straightforward. Despite these points, the benefits we’ve seen make Primal Beef Nuggets a staple in our feeding routine.

#7 – Dr. Marty’s Nature’s Blend ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

We recommend Dr. Marty’s Nature’s Blend if you’re seeking high-quality, well-rounded nutrition that our dogs have greatly enjoyed.

Pros

  • Whole ingredients that promote easier digestion and a healthy immune system
  • Helps to maintain balanced energy levels in adult dogs
  • Formulation by an expert with over four decades of experience in pet nutrition

Cons

  • Price may be considered high for a 16-ounce package
  • The quantity provided may not last a month for all dogs
  • Some customers have noted that it’s more expensive when not on sale or subscription

Our dogs have never seemed happier at mealtime than with Dr. Marty’s Nature’s Blend. From the first taste, we noticed a more eager approach to their bowls, a sign that they’re getting a flavorful meal. Observing their glossy coats and high spirits, it’s clear that the whole ingredients are doing wonders for their well-being.

One notable observation is how this food supports their digestion. Our pups had smooth transitions from their old food to Dr. Marty’s without any of the usual gastrointestinal upsets that can sometimes occur with dietary changes. It’s impressive how this formula agrees with them.

The only hiccup we’ve experienced with Dr. Marty’s is trying to balance the cost with our budget. It’s a premium product, and the price reflects that. We find that the 16-ounce bag runs out quicker than expected, making us wish there were larger, more economical options available.

However, despite the higher price point, it’s been reassuring to see our dogs thriving on a diet made with care and expertise. After all, investing in our pets’ health is a top priority for us, and it’s a comfort to have a product that aligns with that commitment.

#8 – Vital Essentials Turkey Mini Nibs ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

We believe these freeze-dried nibs are ideal for those seeking high-quality, raw nutrition for their canine companions.

Pros

  • High in quality protein from whole animal sources
  • Easy to serve with no mess, perfect for on-the-go feeding
  • Made in the USA with responsibly sourced ingredients

Cons

  • May not be suitable for dogs with specific protein allergies
  • A bit pricier than some other dog food options
  • The rich smell might be overwhelming for sensitive pet owners

These little nuggets have made meal times so much easier for us. Rather than having to deal with the mess and fuss of traditional raw meats, we simply pour the mini nibs into our pup’s bowl and watch them dig in with gusto. It’s heartening to see them relishing their food while knowing they’re getting nutrients as nature intended.

Initially skeptical about feeding freeze-dried food, our concerns quickly dissipated. We’ve noticed a significant improvement in our dogs’ energy levels and coat shininess. Given the choice again, we’d make the same decision to switch.

We appreciate how these nibs fit perfectly into our busy lifestyle. Whether we’re at home or on an adventure, feeding our dogs is a breeze. Plus, it’s a relief to know that we’re avoiding many common additives found in conventional dog food, making this a trustworthy choice for our pets’ well-being.

 

#9 – Grandma Lucy’s Freeze-Dried Artisan Pork ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

We think this product is a worthwhile purchase for pet owners seeking a healthy, easy-to-prepare meal with whole-food ingredients.

Pros

  • Made with high-quality, whole-food ingredients ensuring a nutritious meal
  • Smells like real homemade human food!
  • Limited ingredient list, perfect for dogs with sensitivities or allergies
  • Simple preparation process – just add warm water

Cons

  • Pasty type consistency wasn’t a huge hit with our test dogs. Had trouble eating it.
  • Higher cost compared to regular kibble, reflecting its premium quality
  • Limited flavor variety may not suit all dogs
  • Some pets may require an adjustment period due to the texture change

Our experience with Grandma Lucy’s Artisan Pork has truly impressed us. Witnessing the excitement in our dogs at mealtime comforts us, knowing that we’re providing them with food that’s not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients. Feeding them something that smells close to a home-cooked meal has been supremely satisfying.

Switching our pups to Grandma Lucy’s was smooth. This freeze-dried food rehydrates quickly, cutting down on prep time. Our dogs seem to have more energy, and their coats have taken on a healthier shine, which we attribute to the quality ingredients in this food.

Digestive sensitivities had us on a long search for the right food. We’ve noted a significant improvement in our dogs’ digestion since swapping to this grain-free formula. It’s often a challenge to find dog food that is nutritious without a laundry list of unknown ingredients, but Grandma Lucy’s has filled that gap for us.

#10 – Pawstruck Air Dried Beef ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

We think this Pawstruck Air Dried Beef food is an excellent choice for pet parents seeking a high-quality, nutrient-rich option for their furry friends.

Pros

  • Highly digestible and packed with flavor
  • Contains 96% real beef, promoting a strong, protein-focused diet
  • Made in the USA with all-natural ingredients

Cons

  • May be more expensive than regular kibble
  • Some dogs might be picky and not favor the taste
  • The small trial size pack might not be sufficient for larger dogs or for long-term use

Recently, we introduced Pawstruck’s Air Dried Beef food into our dog’s diet and were impressed by its crunchy texture and the fact that it’s bursting with flavor, enticing our pup at each meal. The notion that we’re offering a single-protein source that’s not only grain-free but also includes essential vitamins is reassuring.

Transitioning from typical kibble to this grain-free option had us observe noticeable enthusiasm during feeding times. It’s fulfilling to see our dog relish each bite, and knowing that the food is vet recommended and meets AAFCO standards gives us peace of mind about the choice we’ve made for their nourishment.

Moreover, the simplicity of being able to bring along the air-dried food on our trips due to its travel-friendly packaging has made meal prep on the go quite effortless. The added flaxseed and salmon oil seem to contribute positively to our dog’s joint health, reflecting the product’s thoughtful composition.

#11 – Nulo Freestyle Beef & Apple ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

We recommend Nulo Freestyle Beef & Apple for those seeking a high-protein, grain-free option that supports digestion and overall health.

Pros

  • Packed with high-quality animal protein
  • Includes probiotics for digestive health
  • Made in the USA without artificial preservatives

Cons

  • Pricier compared to other brands
  • Could be costly for multi-dog households
  • Limited bag size may not be practical for large breeds

Nulo Freestyle Beef & Apple has been a game-changer for us. The beef and apple recipe is not only a hit with our dog, but the high meat content makes us feel confident we’re providing a meal that contributes positively to her health. With protein that’s easy to digest and actually tastes like real meat, it’s been a helpful solution for allergies and weight management.

We appreciate that Nulo has infused its recipe with a BC30 probiotic. Our dog’s gut health seems to have improved, and her immune response looks stronger than ever. It’s reassuring to find a raw, freeze-dried food that doesn’t skimp on nutrition and actually aids metabolism in such a visible way.

Despite the benefits, it’s important to be mindful of your budget. The 13-ounce bag goes quickly, especially when feeding larger breeds. Though we’ve seen the benefits of the high-quality, nutritious ingredients, we do have to plan our purchases carefully. However, seeing our dog’s enthusiastic reaction at mealtime assures us that Nulo Freestyle Beef & Apple is worth it.

 

Top Findings from a 30-Day Freeze-Dried Dog Food Test

Over a span of 30 days, we embarked on an experiment to test the effects of freeze-dried dog foods on our furry friends, comparing it against their regular diets. Our selection included 11 different freeze-dried dog food brands, chosen for their quality and nutritional content. Here’s what we discovered from our hands-on experience:

1. Significant Reduction in Waste

One of the most striking outcomes was a dramatic decrease in the quantity of our dogs’ waste—approximately a 70% reduction. Not only did the volume of poop decrease, but we also observed a noticeable improvement in its consistency. This change can likely be attributed to the minimal filler and carbohydrate content in freeze-dried raw foods. The high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients in these foods mean that dogs are able to digest and utilize more of what they’re eating, leading to less waste output.

2. Difficulty in Switching Back to Dry Food

After treating our dogs to freeze-dried food for a month, reverting to their previous diet of dry dog food proved to be a challenge. The palatability and apparent preference for freeze-dried food over dry kibble were clear, with our dogs showing less enthusiasm for their old food. This shift underscores the taste and texture difference that freeze-dried food offers, which seems to be more appealing to canine palates.

3. Higher Costs with Potential Long-Term Benefits

Financially, transitioning to freeze-dried dog food represented a considerable increase in cost—about 60% higher than high-quality, high-protein kibble. This price hike is a notable consideration for pet owners. However, it’s accompanied by the hopeful perspective that investing in higher-quality food could lead to reduced veterinary expenses over time. The rationale is that better nutrition might help prevent health issues that are costly to treat.

4. Maintained Healthy Weight

Throughout the testing period, our dogs maintained a healthy weight. This outcome suggests that even with the switch to freeze-dried foods, it’s possible to manage portion control effectively to ensure pets receive the necessary calories and nutrients without overfeeding. The nutritional balance and quality ingredients in freeze-dried foods likely played a significant role in this positive health marker.

 

Freeze Dried Dog Food Buying Guide

When we look for freeze-dried dog foods, there are several essential factors we should consider to ensure we’re choosing the best product for our furry friends. Our dogs’ health and satisfaction depend on our ability to select a high-quality, nutritious option. Here’s what we need to consider:

Nutritional Value

It’s crucial to check the guaranteed analysis on the packaging, which provides us with the nutritional breakdown, ensuring the food meets our dog’s dietary requirements.

  • Protein: A high protein content is vital for muscle maintenance.
  • Fat: Provides energy; look for healthy sources.
  • Fiber: Aids in digestion; should be present in adequate amounts.

Ingredient Quality

The quality of the ingredients directly impacts the food’s nutritional value and digestibility.

  • Whole Proteins: Identified as meats or meals, such as chicken or beef.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Necessary for overall health; should be well-balanced.
  • Fillers and Additives: Avoid unnecessary fillers; preservatives should be safe and minimal.

Age and Activity Level

Our dogs have different nutritional needs based on their life stage and activity level. Puppies, adults, and seniors will require various nutrient balances, as will highly active dogs compared to more sedentary ones.

  • Puppies: Higher calories and specific nutrients for growth.
  • Adults: Balanced nutrition for maintaining health.
  • Seniors: Often lower calorie, supportive of joint health and digestion.

Price Point

While price shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, it is something we need to consider.

Budget Level Expectations
Economy Basic nutrition
Premium Higher ingredient quality, possibly more specialized options
Luxury Often features novel ingredients or tailored formulations

Taste and Palatability

Our dogs need to enjoy their food. If there’s an option to try a sample, it could help gauge our dog’s interest before committing to a larger purchase.

Taste Factor Consideration
Flavor Must appeal to our dog’s preferences
Texture Some dogs may prefer softer or crunchier textures

By taking these features into account, we can make an informed decision that ensures the health and happiness of our dogs. Remember, if our dog has specific health issues, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian before making dietary changes.

 

Related: View my list of the top freeze dried dog foods above available on Amazon

 

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