Freeze-dried Dog Treats - What are They? Are They Good for dogs?

Freeze-dried dog treats are a popular choice for owners who desire to provide their pets with tasty dog treats without the excessive sugar content.

But are they good for your dog? Let's take a look at whether these snacks are the best option for your canine.

What are freeze-dried dog treats?

Freeze-dried dog treats are similar to kibble in appearance, but they are less processed. Low temperatures are used to freeze the ingredients, transforming them into ice and maintaining their nutrition. About 99 percent of moisture is removed during this process.

The result is a bone-dry, shelf-stable product that can be rehydrated by simply adding water. It can also be stored for years.

Thanks to the simple procedure of manufacturing raw, freeze-dried dog food and treats, any ingredient can be freeze-dried. For example, you may freeze-dry anything from traditional meat to fruits and vegetables to keep the inherent nutrients in these ingredients intact.

 To avoid deterioration, just place the freeze-dried snacks in an airtight container.

Are freeze-dried treats good for dogs?

Yes, they are not only safe but has various benefits, including:

An alternative to raw treats

Freeze-dried food are a quick and easy alternative for pet parents who want to feed their dogs a raw diet but are concerned about handling and preparing fresh raw meat. 

Moreover, unlike raw meat, all of the commercially available freeze-dried snacks are complete and balanced for all life stages. 

This essentially means you can provide your dog with a snack that can boost its well-being. 

Minimum processing

Heat changes the chemical makeup of dog treats and the nutrients they contain. Take, for example, kibble and other dry dog treats. 

They're well-known for being heavily processed, and the high heat eliminates most of the natural nutrients and vitamins. 

As a result, manufacturers must add additives that are potentially harmful to the health of our dogs.

What's terrific about freeze-dried foods and treats is that they're processed at very low temperatures, and the moisture is removed from the components by the atmosphere. 

Therefore, the chemical composition of the substances, such as the vitamins and minerals, is not changed during the process, obviating the need for additional additives.

Furthermore, freeze-dried dog treats have few ingredients, most of which are created from single sources, like chicken or beef. 

There are no dangerous preservatives in single-ingredient snacks, like propyl gallate or propylene glycol, which can cause health problems when consumed on a frequent basis.

Packs more nutrients

On the market, the vast majority of dog treats are dehydrated. Dehydration isn't always bad, but it does require a lot of high heat, which eliminates a lot of the nutrients in raw meat. 

Freeze-dried snacks are made in a way that preserves the ingredients' nutrients in the most natural and effective form possible. 

Therefore, it makes freeze-dried treats the healthier choice for your canine’s wellbeing.

Why do dogs like freeze-dried treats?

High-quality proteins like chicken, duck, or beef are the most common ingredients in freeze-dried dog food. 

Protein is required for growth and maintenance of a dog's tissues. It provides the amino acids needed by the body to form hair, skin, muscles, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments at the molecular level. 

Additionally, because high-quality meat ingredients give a delightful aroma and taste, a protein-rich treat will always be a dog's first choice.

Dog eating treats

Photo by James Lacy on Unsplash

How to make freeze-dried raw dog treats?

While there are many techniques you can follow to make homemade freeze-dried snacks, the easiest method is using your freezer. 

Here are steps you can take to make this treat for your dog at home:

  1. Prepare the raw ingredient of your choice, for example, chicken or beef.
  2. Cut your raw material into bite-sized pieces.
  3. On a perforated tray, arrange your bite-size chicken.
  4. Place the tray in the freezer below 40oC.
  5. This process will take around one week to complete. 
  6. Remove one treat from the freezer and set it aside to thaw at room temperature to check if there is any water left in the snack.
  7. Continue freezing treats for three days if there is any moisture present.
  8. Place snacks in a bag or jar to store for up to one week if there is no moisture present or bag and freeze for longer storage.

How long do freeze-dried dog treats last?

These snacks can last long after all of the water has gone. Freeze-dried treats can remain 15 to 18 months unopened in rooms with little to no humidity. 

How much freeze-dried dog food to feed?

Dog treats should not make up more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric consumption as a general guideline. 

Overfeeding might cause stomach problems in the short-term and weight gain in the long-run. Obesity in dogs can cause significant health issues, and it is arguably the number one hazard to your dog's health. So, it's wise to keep track of your canine's daily limit.

Final remarks

Freeze drying has long been used to preserve human foods, such as military rations and camping meals. 

Freeze-dried dog food has recently surged in popularity as a convenient and effective snack to give your pet. 

So, give this snack a try and check out how it boosts your canine's well-being. Just make sure to consult your local vet before starting anything new.

Reviewed by:

Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.