Flash Frozen Dog Food vs Freeze Dried - Which is the Healthier Choice?

Flash freezing and freeze drying are two popular methods of preserving food employed by dog food suppliers. Do you know which option is healthier? Let’s find out here.


Photo by Nathalie De Boever from Pexels

What does it mean when dog food is flash frozen?

Flash frozen dog food is primarily raw meat that has undergone flash freezing and then vacuum packed to prolong its freshness and shelf life.

Essentially, it is uncooked meat preserved in its prime condition, with all its nutrients and moisture sealed in. As such, it has the following characteristics:

(1) Juicy and palatable;

(2) Not distorted in shape; and

(3) Preservatives-free.

How is meat flash frozen?

Flash freezing requires a commercial blast freezer, where some models can cool air down to as low as -40° Celsius in a matter of minutes. This chilled air is then circulated around the meat or any food item that needs to be preserved.

What are the advantages of flash frozen dog food?

The following are the benefits of flash frozen dog food.  

(1) Moisture and nutrients are retained

When you flash freeze food, it retains its cellular integrity and the cells don't get deformed. In layman’s terms, this means that the nutrients are retained better because there is no damage to the food.

Apart from nutrients, moisture is also contained within the meat during flash freezing and remains even after defrosting. As such, the product remains juicy and palatable to your four-legged pals.

(2) Closest to fresh

The flash freezing process produces the look and nutrition equivalent to fresh food. Once thawed, the meat looks the same as it was before being preserved. The flavor and nutrients are also very similar to pre-frozen levels.

For more details regarding its benefits and drawbacks, head over to What is Flash Frozen Dog Food?

What is freeze dried dog food?

Freeze dried raw meat is literally fresh meat that has almost no moisture left in it. These are packed in vacuum bags and do not require refrigeration.

How is meat freeze dried?

Freeze drying is another way of preserving meat using cold air. Called lyophilization, the process involves removing water from frozen foods.

The drying process in freeze drying, called sublimation, is unique where molecules go directly from ice to vapor, bypassing the liquid phase.

Freeze dried dog food can be fed as is or plumped up by adding water before serving.  It has the following attributes:

(1) Lightweight;

(2) Has a dry and chewy texture;

(3) Has slight shape distortion; and

(4) Preservatives-free.

You need to make a conscious effort to ensure that your furry pals are getting enough water if their main diets come from freeze dried food.

What are the advantages of freeze dried dog food?

The advantages are as follows.

(1) Nutrients are retained

A major benefit to freeze drying raw meat is high nutrient retention because the process does not use high temperatures.

(2) Convenient for outdoor enthusiasts

One of the best features of freeze dried dog food is that it does not require a freezer, making it the perfect choice for outdoor enthusiasts. It is also lightweight and easy to take while on the go.

Read more about how it is a Nutritious and Mess Free Food for Your Dog.

What is the difference between flash frozen and freeze dried dog food?

The key difference between flash frozen and freeze dried food is that the former process doesn’t remove moisture from the meat.

Most freeze dried dog foods show around 5% to 7% moisture in the Guaranteed Analysis, compared to 70% or more in flash frozen raw food.

The freeze drying process removes most of the terpenes and other aromatic compounds which is what gives your pets the olfactory signal that this is good food. For this reason, frozen fresh food will usually be more palatable to pets than freeze dried. 

Comparison between flash frozen and freeze dried dog food

No

 

Flash Frozen

Freeze Dried

(1)

Digestibility

Easy to digest due to moisture retention and nutrients in their natural state.

Less digestibility due to loss of up to 97% moisture. May cause constipation if the body is not hydrated enough.

(2)

Nutrient level

Nutritionally similar to fresh products. In general, frozen food retains its vitamins and minerals without any changes to the carbohydrate, protein or fat content.

Technically raw and full of nutrients. Freeze dried food retains the majority of the vitamins and minerals found in its original state.

(3)

Preparation

Thaw and serve. You can dip into cold water to defrost but the recommended way is to thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

 

Can be served as is, or can be rehydrated by dipping it in water following instructions on the package.

(4)

Safety

Flash freezing arrests bacterial activity but does not kill them.

 

Freeze dried food sometimes undergoes high-pressure processing – a cold pasteurization technique to kill microorganisms.

Which is the healthier choice?

The nutrient retainment for both processes is high as no heat is involved. However, when it comes to moisture level, there is a considerable difference. With the removal of water content from freeze dried food, flash frozen dog food gains the upper hand for the following reasons:

(1) The meat remains juicy and palatable;

(2) Aids digestion and provides water to the body; and

(3) Does not contribute to constipation.

Water is a huge factor when we talk about diets and health. Severe dehydration in pets can lead to loss of consciousness, organ failure and even death.  

If we are talking about which is the healthier choice, as in the one that provides the best nutrients and moisture for your pets, then naturally flash frozen dog food is the winner.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, there is no rule that you need to be exclusive when it comes to feeding either flash frozen or freeze dried dog food. It is entirely possible to mix feed.

You can opt to feed your beloved pet flash frozen dog food for the bulk of its diet. Check out Petcubes Singapore’s industrial-grade flash frozen raw pet food. Formulated by the in-house wildlife nutritionist, our collection is nutrient-compact and balanced for your pet’s vital health. 

When you are planning to travel or go outdoors with your pal, pack freeze dried dog food. Just make sure that your dog drinks enough water.

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.

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