As a devoted pet parent, you’re always on the lookout for new and convenient ways to get your dog the nutrition he needs. You’ve probably seen both air-dried and freeze-dried foods on pet store shelves, but what’s the difference between them, and which one is better for your beloved pet?
Both freeze-drying and air-drying are different ways of removing the moisture from raw food products to prevent bacteria growth and extend their shelf life. Each process works a little differently and results in a final product with a few unique attributes.
What is Freeze-Dried Food?
To create freeze-dried dog food, manufacturers freeze raw food items such as meats, organs, fruits, and vegetables at extremely low temperatures. These may be whole or combined into a mixture with other ingredients. They then use a combination of processes called sublimation and absorption to strip the water content from the product.
Because it contains very little moisture (3% or less!) after this process is complete, freeze-dried food is very light and easy to transport. All of the food’s original nutrients are still there in its new form, though you will often be directed to add water to freeze-dried food before serving it to your dog. Most brands of freeze-dried dog food stay fresh for at least a year, and some brands can last even longer with proper storage.
What Is Air-Dried Food?
Air-dried dog food is made using blasts of hot air that naturally evaporate the moisture from the product. All the food’s nutrients are preserved during this process. This method takes a little longer than freeze-drying, but it requires less specialized equipment.
Air-dried food has a little more moisture left in it than freeze-dried food, but not much – about 14% compared to freeze-dried food’s 3% or less. This means that while it usually won’t last quite as long, the difference is minimal and it is still very well-suited to long-term storage for pet parents who want to stock up. Another advantage is that it is approximately 40% higher in calories than freeze-dried food, which allows you to feed your dog less of it and potentially save money over freeze-dried food. Finally, it is also relatively lightweight (especially when compared to dog kibble or fresh raw food) and usually does not require added water.
Which Is Better?
Ultimately, freeze-dried and air-dried food are very similar in terms of weight, convenience, and nutritional composition. It’s up to you and your dog to decide which type of food you both prefer. For Your Kids stocks a variety of freeze-dried and air-dried dog foods available both in-store and online, so it’s easy to get whichever type you please. Try some out today!