Is flash frozen dog food better than fresh?

We’ve been told that “fresh is always better than frozen”. Is this true?

It may have been accurate centuries ago when people grow their own vegetables and rear their chickens in the backyard. During those times, the fresh food that you are getting is definitely of the highest quality, it’s literally from farm to table.

Fast forward to current times, how many of us have our own vegetable patch and chickens running about in the yard? Not many. So we head to the supermarket where fresh and flash frozen products are available. 

Which one is better? The answer might surprise you. 

Flash frozen dog food — what is it?

Flash frozen dog food is primarily meat that has undergone a process called flash freezing. Food is frozen instantaneously with icy-cold circulating air. This can only be done by commercial blast freezers as your home refrigerators cannot reach such low temperatures. 

When meat is frozen swiftly, ice crystals that form in the cells remain small, retaining moisture even when the food thaws. This is in contrast with slow freezing where bigger ice crystals will impair the integrity of the cells and affect nutrient quality.

flash frozen dog food for your pet
Image by Moshe Harosh from Pixabay

What is fresh dog food? 

The word “fresh” is subjective and may have various interpretations. Here is a list of the different meanings applied to the word: 

(1) Having its original qualities unimpaired; 

(2) Synonymous with “raw”; 

(3) Recently bought; 

(4) Food that has been recently bought and gently cooked;

(5) Food that is not preserved; and 

(6) Food that has yet to be cooked.

For the purpose of this article, fresh dog food is defined as raw meat that has never been frozen or that are gently cooked.

Is flash frozen dog food as good as fresh? 

If we are comparing flash frozen dog food and freshly slaughtered meat, the answer is yes

If we are talking about flash frozen dog food and those “fresh” food that has spent time in storage at the supermarkets, or in our refrigerators for days, then the answer is no. In this case, flash frozen dog food is actually better than fresh because the amount of nutrients may be higher by the time they reach the customer. 

Is flash freezing meat healthy? 

Yes, because all the essential vitamins and minerals are locked in. 

All forms of food start to deteriorate from the moment it is procured. Flash freezing puts a stop to the breakdown and retains the nutrients. If the meat has been flash frozen at its freshest, the nutritional value remains high. 

Why flash freezing? 

There are many distinct benefits of flash freezing dog food. 

Frozen in prime condition 

To ensure quality and maximum bioavailability of nutrients, flash frozen food is frozen within a few hours from when it is obtained. 

Nutrients do not decrease during transportation 

Once the food has been flash frozen, it can be transported without spoilage as long as it is kept frozen. Whereas fresh food loses its nutrients gradually all the way from the farm to the supermarkets. Likewise on the way to your home. 

No additives or preservatives 

Flash freezing takes away the need for preservatives or additives to maintain its freshness. 

Longer shelf life 

Purchasing flash frozen dog food gives you the freedom to decide when you want to feed it to your pets, knowing that the meat will stay in top-notch condition until you need it.   

Is it better to buy frozen or fresh dog food? 

Should you head for the frozen or the fresh sections? We are more inclined to buy frozen — specifically flash frozen dog food. Here’s why. 

1. Some “fresh” meat may have been frozen and thawed for sale 

There is no knowing whether the meat available at the grocer is really fresh or has been frozen before, and then thawed for sale. 

As mentioned earlier, freezing forms ice crystals that cut into the meat fibers and cause the meat’s natural flavors to escape once thawed.  Doing this repeatedly will definitely compromise the quality of the meat, particularly if the meat is not flash frozen and the ice crystals are large. 

2. Some “fresh” meat has additives and preservatives 

Some suppliers add chemicals to extend shelf life and to make the product appear “fresh”. 

For example, formalin (formaldehyde dissolved in water) is used so that chilled fish can last longer and look fresh artificially. In large amounts, formaldehyde can be toxic and may cause dizziness or suffocation. 

3. Minimize food waste and save costs 

Every day around the world, a lot of food is being wasted. Freezing food can be a viable solution to food waste as it is portioned, and can be kept longer. 

Most of us get supplies of fresh food to last for a few days each time we do our grocery run. Unfortunately, fresh food has a limited lifespan and we may not finish them in time. Not so if we go with flash frozen dog food. We don’t end up throwing away food, indirectly saving costs. 

4. Offers convenience 

Convenience is often a big factor in modern life. Flash frozen dog food offers time-saving solutions and ease for busy pet owners. It’s as easy as thaw and serve. 

So do take note that not all products in the frozen section are flash frozen. You need to check the packaging before buying.

Is it OK for dogs to eat frozen food? 

It is recommended that flash frozen dog food, particularly raw meat, be thawed before serving to your pets. However, some dogs prefer eating food in a frozen or semi-frozen state. It may require more chewing but it is absolutely fine for your canines to eat frozen food. Neither would it upset their stomachs. Unless the dog is less than 3kg, in which case chilled but not frozen is preferred.   

Conclusion 

Our lives have changed much but our requirements for quality and nutritious food remain, for ourselves and our pets. Flash frozen food gives us the best in terms of nutrients, plus the much-needed convenience. 

Do you know that PetCubes Singapore offers fresh pet food using best-in-class flash freezing technology to seal the freshness and nutrients? Only the very best for your furry ones at home.

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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