US Vet: “This is the Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food in 2022”

A Freeze-Dried diet, when done right, can improve Fido’s general health. It can strengthen the autoimmune system and support a healthy skin & coat. However, freeze-dried dog food that doesn’t suit your dog can cause some problems such as diarrhea or constipation. 

I used my 12 years of Veterinary experience to review over 30 dog food products to find the best Freeze-dried dog food.

After evaluating over 30 Freeze-Dried dog food recipes, I found that “Nulo Freestyle Beef Recipe With Apples Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food” has the best overall combination of nutrients and quality sources. 

But I understand that no two pups are alike, and your doggie might have a different life stage or have different needs, such as a sensitive stomach, an active lifestyle, or she’s on a rotation diet. That’s why I prepared a shortlist of the best Freeze-Dried foods that address these common conditions.

Before you pick the best freeze-dried food for Fido, it’s always important to consider whether it’s the right thing to do. That’s why I explained what a freeze-dried diet is and whether your dog should get on it.

After you decide that a freeze-dried diet is right for your doggie, you can check out these best 9 freeze-dried foods that I shortlisted for you

If my shortlist doesn’t cover your doggie’s needs for some reason, I prepared a quick checklist that would assist you in finding the best freeze-dried food for her. I wrote the checklist in plain & simple English so that you can follow it easily.

Finally, if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding a freeze-dried diet, I answered the most common questions dog parents ask me on the topic.

Always remember that the recommendations in this review are not intended to replace a doctor-patient relationship. Always consult your veterinarian before making significant adjustments to your furbaby’s diet.

Let’s get started.

Is Freeze-Dried Diet Good for Your Dog?

owner is giving his two large breeds dogs freeze dried food to provide them with more energy

Freeze drying is one way that water can be removed from food to preserve it. In this process, the food is frozen first. Then, it’s placed in a vacuum chamber to remove the frozen water. The first two steps remove most of the moisture, but there’s a second drying phase to remove the remaining water molecules. The result is a product that’s shelf-stable, easy to store, and portable.

Benefits and Risks of a Freeze-Dried Dog Food Diet

As with other diet types, there are pros and cons that you need to understand to make an informed choice. Fortunately, when it comes to freeze-dried products, there are many benefits:

  • The process preserves the nutritional value in the ingredients
  • The process keeps the flavor of the ingredients
  • You get whole food ingredients without the work of making a homemade diet
  • It’s easy to store and has a long shelf
  • Quality brands have minimal processing and additives
  • It’s lightweight, compact, and easy to take on the road

But before you think freeze-dried food is the perfect wonder-food, let’s look at the downsides:

  • Unless the product undergoes high-pressure pasteurization, there’s a slight chance that it may contain harmful bacteria
  • The freeze-drying process can make the food harder to digest
  • The products are usually expensive

Ways a Freeze-Dried Diet Can Improve Your Dog’s Health

There is some evidence that freeze-dried or other forms of raw meat-based diets (RMBD) may improve a dog’s health. According to Dr. Lea Stogdale, there are many health benefits involved with RMBD:

  • Pet parents note their dogs have more energy, healthier coats, and better overall health when they feed an RMBD.
  • Nutrients including vitamins C and E, antioxidants, and flavonoids are more concentrated and remain unaltered in freeze-dried products. 
  • Feeding an RMBD may improve immune function.
  • Dogs on an RMBD tend to have a healthy body condition

Freeze-Dried vs. Raw Dog Food vs. Kibble

What are the differences between feeding your dog kibble, freeze-dried product, or raw food? Let’s start with a brief description of each type of diet:

  • Kibble is a highly processed, ground meal that goes through a high-temperature extrusion process. The extrusion removes the nutrients from the end-product, so the manufacturer sprays the food with synthetic nutrients.
  • Freeze-dried food uses low-temperature dehydration to remove most of the water from raw food materials. The result is a shelf-stable product with the nutrients intact.
  • Raw food is a diet of raw meats, bones, organs, and possibly fruits and vegetables in their natural states. It can be difficult to achieve complete and balanced nutrition with a raw diet.

When it comes to cost, nutrition, and risk of harmful bacteria:

  • Cost: Kibble tends to be the most affordable food. Raw and freeze-dried products are both more expensive.
  • Nutrition: Freeze-Dried food relies on natural whole-food ingredients to provide the essential nutrients for complete and balanced nutrition. Raw products often require supplemental vitamins and minerals to meet nutritional requirements. Kibble can include artificial ingredients, fillers, and preservatives.
  • Bacteria: Kibble goes through cooking and extrusion processes that make the risk of bacterial contamination very low. Freeze-dried food is also unlikely to have much risk of bacterial contamination because of the freezing and moisture extraction. However, it’s best to look for a statement on the package that the product is certified pathogen-free. Raw products have the highest risk of containing bacterial pathogens. 

Freeze-Dried Food vs. Dehydrated Food, Wait, They’re Different?!

With both dehydrated and freeze-dried food, the raw materials go through a drying process. In the case of freeze-dried food, the water extrusion is done at low temperatures. Dehydrated or air-dried products, on the other hand, have the moisture removed slowly by evaporation. This procedure involves using low heat and tends to preserve the nutrients in the food. As with freeze-dried food, there is a potential that some bacteria will survive the drying process. So, the primary difference is in the drying process.

Provide all the Nutrients with Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food

dog is licking her mouth after finishing her tasty freeze-dried food meal

Not very long ago, there were only a few Freeze-Dried dog food options available. But now, you can choose from various recipes, formulations for different life stages, and many brands. So how do you know which food is the right choice for your dog? 

For your convenience, we’ve created a rule of thumb checklist to make it easier for you to choose the right Freeze-Dried dog food formulation that fits best for your doggie:  

  • Protein Tops the Ingredient List – Remember that dogs descended from wolves and need lots of quality animal protein in their diets. So, protein should be the first ingredient on the label.
  • Complete and Balanced – You want to ensure that your furbaby is getting all the nutrients he needs to thrive. Look for a statement on the label that the product meets AAFCO requirements for complete and balanced nutrition.
  • Life Stage Appropriate – The nutrients required for a complete and balanced diet can vary depending on your dog’s age. For example, puppies need extra energy to fuel both growth and activity while seniors generally have lower energy and fat needs to prevent weight gain. Select food that’s formulated for your furbaby’s life stage.
  • Omega Fatty Acids – When you’re looking at a freeze-dried product, you want food that’s rich in fats. The best products will contain natural sources of omega fatty acids to promote the skin and coat. Ingredients like salmon, fish oil, and flaxseed contain omega fatty acids.
  • Rich in Fiber – A well-balanced diet will contain fiber-rich ingredients. Vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of dietary fiber and can also provide antioxidants and essential minerals and vitamins.
  • Formulated to Meet Your Dog’s Individual Dietary Needs – If your pooch has special needs, make sure the formula includes the appropriate nutrients and supplements. For example: 
    • glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs with joint disease
    • Taurine and L-carnitine to support heart health
    • Probiotics and prebiotic fiber for digestive health
  • Manufactured in Countries With Rigorous Safety Standards – You’ve probably heard horror stories about imported foods that were tainted with dangerous ingredients. Choose products manufactured in countries like Canada, Australia, the USA, and western European countries. These nations have stricter safety protocols that help to ensure a wholesome product for your pooch.
  • Contains No Unidentified Meat Meals or Animal Byproducts – There should be no “meat meal” or animal byproducts on the ingredient list. These materials may contain animal parts like hooves or feathers. In the case of generic meat meals, you have no idea which animal proteins are involved. If your pooch has a food allergy, you could unwittingly be feeding a trigger substance.
  • Contains No Artificial Ingredients – Avoid products that include artificial colors or flavors or that use chemical preservatives. These substances can contribute to food sensitivities, and some are believed to be carcinogens

Our 2022 Review For 9 Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food

A funny Golden is laying upside down  waiting for his mom to pick him the best food

We reviewed over 100 products by following the mentioned above process and classified the best for your doggie’s everyday essential nutrient needs. 

We considered each pick’s life stage and common health issues and ensured it has the best nutrient sources.

Nulo Freestyle Beef Recipe With Apples Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Beef Kidneys, Ground Beef Bone
  • Key feature: grain-free
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 42% crude protein; 28% crude fat; 6% crude fiber; 5% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 195 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Freeze-dried raw food
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Best Overall
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages including the growth of large-size dogs

Starting with beef and beef organs in the first four ingredients, this product is packed with the protein your pooch needs for healthy muscles. Healthy fats from natural sources include omega fatty acids that support the skin and coat.

Ground bone provides a balanced blend of calcium and phosphorus to support your pal’s infrastructure. The formula includes digestible whole foods like apples, spinach, and sweet potatoes that provide rich sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Supplementation completes the profile for complete and balanced nutrition.

Probiotics promote healthy digestion. The product contains no corn, soy, wheat, or artificial ingredients. It’s also available in duck with pears and lamb with raspberries varieties. 

Stella & Chewy’s Perfectly Puppy Beef & Salmon Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, Salmon With Ground Bone, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe
  • Key feature: 95% meat, organs, and bones
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 46% crude protein; 34.5% crude fat; 5% crude fiber; 5% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 36 kcal/patty
  • Type of Product: Freeze-dried raw food
  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Best for: Puppies
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for growth including the growth of large-size dogs

The first five ingredients in this product are from meat and animal organs which provide rich sources of essential amino acids for strong muscles. The organ meat also provides taurine for heart health. This food is packed with healthy fats and digestible fiber to fuel your dog’s growth and development.

With salmon and other ingredients, this food has omega fatty acids and other essential nutrients to promote brain development, and a healthy coat and skin. Ground bone provides calcium and phosphorus for strong bones. The formula is supplemented with vitamins and minerals to provide complete and balanced nutrition.

A blend of whole foods such as beets, blueberries, chia seed, and squash provides antioxidants and valuable nutrients. The whole foods are readily digestible, and the formula also includes probiotics to aid digestion. This food is suitable for all breeds and sizes. It’s also available in a chicken and salmon formula.

Instinct Raw Boost Senior Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Chicken, Tapioca, Chickpeas, Peas
  • Key feature: grain-free
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 36% crude protein; 16% crude fat; 4% crude fiber; 9% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 478 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: kibble with freeze-dried pieces 
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Best for: Seniors
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for maintenance

Featuring chicken meal and chicken as the top two ingredients, this food contains essential protein to maintain healthy lean muscle mass in your aging pooch. Healthy sources of fat provide essential fatty acids and omegas to support your pal’s immune system, coat, and skin. With a low to moderate fat content, your furbaby should have adequate energy for senior activities.

Digestible whole food ingredients include garden vegetables and fruits that provide healthy fiber, antioxidants, and essential nutrients. The formula is supplemented with vitamins and minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin support your pup’s joint health. L-carnitine and probiotics foster healthy digestion. This product has no artificial ingredients or grains, so it should be gentle on the gut.

Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries
  • Key feature: single-source protein
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 48% crude protein; 28% crude fat; 5% crude fiber; 5% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 50 kcal/patty
  • Type of Product: freeze-dried patties 
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Adults
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages including growth of large size dogs

Chicken tops the ingredient list in this formula to provide the protein to power your pal’s muscles. With ground bone, there’s a natural source of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones. Organ meat offers natural sources of essential fatty acids. 

This formula includes fruits and garden veggies like broccoli, carrots, and spinach that provide antioxidants and essential nutrients. Supplementation with vitamins and minerals rounds out a complete and balanced diet.

Probiotics and digestible ingredients help to promote healthy digestion. The product has no grains, gluten, fillers, or artificial ingredients. It’s made in the USA. It’s also available in beef and duck with goose flavors. 

Primal Beef Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef Hearts, Beef Livers, Ground Beef Bones, Organic Carrots, Organic Squash
  • Key feature: 78% beef, organ, and bones
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 34% crude protein; 36% crude fat; 8% crude fiber; 3% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 144 kcal/oz
  • Type of Product: freeze-dried nuggets 
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Active Dogs
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages including growth of large size dogs

Packed with protein, primal beef nuggets start with beef hearts and livers as the first two ingredients. This formula offers the essential building blocks for your pal’s muscles. Healthy fats from beef organs, fish oil, and coconut oil support a healthy coat and skin while providing ample energy for an active lifestyle.

Naturally derived vitamins and minerals come from garden vegetables and fruits. These whole foods also offer rich sources of antioxidants for cellular health. Supplements help to ensure complete and balanced nutrition for this product.

With no grains or artificial ingredients, this product is made to be gentle on digestion. Organic ingredients in this USA-made food help to ensure there are no hormones, antibiotics, or harmful chemicals in the formula.

Only Natural Pet RawNibs Beef & Tripe Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog & Cat Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, Beef Tripe, Beef Lung, Ground Beef Bone, Beef Liver
  • Key feature: holistic nutrition
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 55% crude protein; 14% crude fat; 2.5% crude fiber; 7% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 120 kcal/oz
  • Type of Product: freeze-dried nibblets
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Sensitive Stomach
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for maintenance

Featuring beef and beef organs, this protein-rich food provides the essential amino acids your pup needs for strong muscles. Natural sources of animal fat help to fuel your pooch’s activity and enhance the flavor of the product. 

Digestible fruits and vegetables contribute antioxidants and essential nutrients to the nutritionally balanced formula. Organic goat’s milk adds electrolytes and natural enzymes to promote healthy digestion. Raw apple cider vinegar adds probiotic microorganisms to soothe the gut. 

This holistic product contains no grains, soy, fillers, or artificial ingredients. It’s made in the USA under rigorous safety standards. The resealable package helps to ensure the product remains fresh.

Vital Essentials Duck Entree Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Ground Duck with Bone, Duck Liver, Duck Gizzard, Duck Skin, Herring Oil
  • Key feature: freeze-dried raw food
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 48% crude protein; 23% crude fat; 2.2% crude fiber; 7% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 120 kcal/oz
  • Type of Product: freeze-dried nibbles
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Allergies
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages including growth of large size dogs

This single-protein, limited ingredient food starts with ground duck as the first ingredient. The novel protein helps to prevent food allergies. With natural fat sources from the giblets, skin, and herring oil, the product includes omega and essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. 

Locally sourced from trusted suppliers, the ingredients in this food are free from hormones, antibiotics, and fillers. There are no artificial ingredients, grains, or chemical preservatives in the product. 

The mini nibs are an ideal size for small breed dogs. This food offers complete and balanced nutrition that can be used as a meal or a tasty topper. 

Sojos Complete Turkey Recipe Adult Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Whole Egg, Broccoli, Apples
  • Key feature: grain-free
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 28% crude protein; 12% crude fat; 4% crude fiber; 10% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 120 kcal/oz
  • Type of Product: freeze-dried raw food
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Grain-Free
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages including growth of large size dogs

The first ingredient in this freeze-dried food is turkey to provide a rich source of protein for your pooch. With flaxseed, the formula includes natural sources of omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and hair.

Garden vegetables and fruits provide antioxidants, phytonutrients, and essential nutrients for your pooch’s health. With pumpkin and ginger root, the formula is made to soothe digestion and keep stools firm.

Supplements with vitamins and minerals ensure complete and balanced nutrition. There are no preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients in this product. Shelf-stable and convenient, this food is easy to take along when you travel. 

Bravo! Homestyle Complete Turkey Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Liver, Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas, Turkey Hearts
  • Key feature: grain-free
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% crude protein; 9% crude fat; 5% crude fiber; 20% moisture
  • Caloric Content: 187 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: freeze-dried raw food
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best for: Weight Loss
  • AAFCO Statement: formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages

Three of the first five ingredients are from turkey meat and organs to provide rich sources of amino acids for healthy lean muscle mass. With organ meat to provide healthy fats, the product includes essential nutrients for healthy skin, coat, and more.

Fruits and vegetables offer rich sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for balanced nutrition. There are no added hormones, artificial ingredients, or chemical preservatives in the formula.

This product features a low fat and low-calorie profile that may help your pooch reach and maintain a healthy weight. To feed your pooch, soak the appropriate portion in warm water for 15-20 minutes to reconstitute the ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions

happy pitbull smiling at this dad and waiting for his food patiently

Is freeze-dried dog food healthier than kibble?

For products of equivalent quality, there may be a minimal nutritional difference between kibble and freeze-dried food. 

Is freeze-dried raw pet food safe?

Freeze-dried products that are made by a reputable manufacturer are generally safe. You can look for a statement on the packaging that indicates the food is free of pathogens.

How long does freeze-dried dog food last?

Freeze-dried food has a long shelf life, and can last for at least a year in the package. However, once you open the bag, you should use it in about a month.

Can freeze-dried food go bad?

Once you open the package and let air in, the product can go bad over time. Be careful to practice good food hygiene and use the product within about a month.

Is freeze-dried food raw?

Freeze-dried food contains raw products with moisture removed.

How do you store freeze-dried dog food?

Store freeze-dried dog food in an airtight container. Otherwise, the food will absorb moisture from the air and spoil more quickly.

Is freeze-dried raw chicken good for dogs?

Freeze-drying may not eliminate pathogenic bacteria. However, if you follow the packaging instructions for safe food handling and storage, you can minimize any risk. Nutritionally speaking, chicken is an excellent source of protein and other essentials.

The Final Woof

golden hi giving his owner after finishing his healthy breakfast

After evaluating over 30 products on the market and comparing them to our criteria and key considerations for Best Freeze-Dried dog food, we recommend Nulo Freestyle Beef Recipe With Apples Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food as the Best overall pick.

A quality freeze-dried product will start with real protein, have healthy fiber from whole-food ingredients, and include sources of omega fatty acids. The food you choose should also meet your pup’s nutritional needs. 

Nulo Freestyle Beef Recipe With Apples Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food is rich in protein and healthy fats that include omegas. Whole garden vegetables and fruits add antioxidants and contribute to complete and balanced nutrition. 

With digestible ingredients and probiotics, this food is made to be easy on digestion. There are no grains or artificial ingredients in the formula. With these qualities, Nulo is the best all-around freeze-dried food that we reviewed. 

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