Every dog-lover wants the best for their furry friend. Choosing a diet for your dog can be a challenge. Many people like the idea of a raw diet but simply don’t have the time or desire to process raw meat and other ingredients into food that is nutritionally sound for their dog. Freeze-dried dog food meets an important need here: It is minimally processed from its raw state and will reconstitute easily with water or other liquid.
We have looked at dozens of freeze-dried dog foods in order to tell our readers which ones we like the best. We considered the ingredients, the different flavors available, and how Amazon customers rated their experiences (or, rather, their dogs’ experiences) with the different brands.
Our top pick went to Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets. With a total of six delicious flavors to choose from, Northwest Naturals provides dog owners with a quick, easy, and satisfying way to give their dogs nutritious meals.
The 5 Top-Rated Freeze Dried Dog Foods
|Best Overall Freeze-Dried Dog Food||Northwest Natural’s Freeze Dried Raw||4.5|
|Best Freeze-Dried Mixer||Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers||4.5|
|Best Budget Buy||K9 Natural Grain-Free Freeze Dried Dog Food||4.4|
|Best Freeze-Dried Beef Dog Food||Stewart Raw Naturals Freeze Dried Dog Food||4.0|
|Best Freeze-Dried Turkey Dog Food||Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food||4.6|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Freeze Dried Dog Food Overall: Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets
It was an easy choice to name Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets as our very top recommendation out of all the freeze dried dog foods on the market. Dogs find them super tasty, and their humans find them healthy and nutritious. Even picky dogs tend to like them! Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for all life stages, these nuggets provide dog owners like you with an ultra-convenient way to offer your pooch complete and balanced meals.
There’s a lot to love about these freeze dried wonders. First of all, there’s a total of six yummy flavors to choose from, including turkey (pictured), beef, chicken, lamb, whitefish and salmon, and chicken and salmon. The recipes contain 80% of the main protein, organ meat, and raw ground bone, and 20% produce and supplements. Plus, they’re all grain-free, antibiotic-free, and hormone-free, and made in a USDA/FDA inspected facility. Each packet contains 12 oz of nuggets.
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets Key Features:
- Meets AAFCO dog food nutrient profile nutritional levels
- Six flavors to choose from
- Grain-free, antibiotic-free, and hormone-free
- Made in a USDA/FDA inspected facility
- Good for dogs in all stages of life
- Appealing to picky eaters
Best Freeze-Dried Mixer: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers
If you are looking for a freeze-dried mixer to add to your dog’s regular food, our top recommendation is Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers. Perfect for picky eaters, this product can help your reluctant eater find the joy in her breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It contains grass-fed beef, organs, bone, and a selection of organic fruits and vegetables. Note that this is not meant to provide all of the nutrients your dog needs; it’s only for mixing in with her regular food.
This food mixer is minimally processed; it is freeze-dried here in the USA. There are no fillers like peas, potatoes, or lentils, and there are also no hormones or antibiotics present. In addition, this product is grain-free, so you can confidently add it to your sensitive dog’s diet. You don’t need to rehydrate it; simply stir into your dog’s regular food and let her enjoy.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Stella’s Super Beef Meal Mixers Key Features:
- Made mostly from grass-fed beef
- Also contains organic fruits and veggies
- Made in the USA
- No fillers, antibiotics, or hormones
- No need to rehydrate
Best Budget Freeze-Dried Dog Food: K9 Natural Grain-Free Freeze Dried Dog Food
If you’re looking for budget-friendly freeze-dried dog food, consider K9 Natural Grain-Free Freeze Dried Dog Food, which made our top spot in this category. There are several flavor options available, including beef, chicken, lamb, and salmon. This can be fed as a full meal or used as a topper or as treats when training your dog.
This food is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. There are no grains, so you can use it even if your dog is allergic to grains or has sensitivities. The meats and fish used are responsibly sourced; they’re cage-free and/or free-range, so you can feel good about your choice.
To feed, you’ll need to rehydrate it if it is being used as a meal. If you’re using it as a topper, you can simply sprinkle it on top of the food your dog normally eats without adding water. Dogs who eat reluctantly or who are a bit underweight can benefit from this product, as it will help boost their appetite with the natural appeal of meat.
K9 Natural Grain-Free Freeze Dried Dog Food Key Features:
- Can be used as a topper, a treat, or a full meal
- Rehydrate it to use as a meal; just sprinkle on top of food for a topper
- High in protein, low in carbs
- No grains
- Meats are responsibly sourced
- Good for picky eaters
Best Freeze Dried Beef Dog Food: Stewart Raw Naturals Freeze Dried Dog Food
Stewart Raw Naturals Freeze Dried Dog Food made our top spot among freeze-dried beef dog foods. This is made from 80 percent beef, 18 percent fruits and vegetables, and 2 percent vitamins and minerals. This ratio is what your dog needs for a complete, healthy diet filled with nutrients. It is gluten-, soy-, and grain-free, too, so you can feed it without worries to dogs who are sensitive to those ingredients.
The beef and produce are all human-grade and they are minimally processed in USDA kitchens. Beef bone is also added for calcium. Omega fatty acids help keep your dog’s skin and coat in good shape. This food is appropriate for dogs of all sizes and will help keep your dog at a healthy weight. This product is a 24-oz bag; there are other package sizes available, and it also comes in lamb, poultry, and fish flavors.
Stewart Raw Naturals Freeze Dried Dog Food Key Features:
- Contains 80 percent beef
- Human grade ingredients
- Contains no gluten, soy, grains, or potatoes
- Processed in USDA kitchens
- Includes calcium, fatty acids, and other nutrients for good health
Best Freeze-Dried Turkey Dog Food: Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food
If your dog loves turkey, our top pick in this category is Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Grain Free Dog Food. The meat is both hormone and antibiotic-free, so you can feel confident feeding it to your favorite furry friend. The turkey is humanely raised, and the brand’s other varieties are also ethically sourced. It contains no grains, soy, corn, or wheat, making it ideal for dogs with allergies.
In addition to responsibly sourced meats and organic veggies, this food also contains coconut oil, turmeric, and other superfoods. To serve, you will need to add water to rehydrate, then it is ready to feed to your dog. This package is 13.5 oz and comes in other flavors as well, including beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and seafood.
Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Grain Free Dog Food Key Features:
- Minimally processed raw turkey and other ingredients
- Ethically sourced and responsibly raised
- Contains no grains, soy, corn, or wheat
- Contains superfoods like coconut oil and turmeric
- Rehydrate with water to serve
Who Should Buy Freeze-Dried Dog Food
If you prefer to feed your dog a raw diet but it isn’t feasible for a variety of reasons (cost, time involved, etc.), then feeding freeze-dried food can be an excellent alternative. Freeze-dried dog food is minimally processed, so it is closer to its original state than food that has been processed into kibble or even canned dog food. It also doesn’t require refrigeration, so that makes it convenient and easy to store or travel with. To use, you will usually need to rehydrate it with water.
Even if you don’t want to feed your dog a completely raw or freeze-dried diet, you might consider adding mixers to her regular food. This will add a healthy and tasty component to kibble, making it more palatable and nutritious. You can do this by purchasing food that is designed to be a mixer or by simply using a small amount of freeze-dried food that is meant to be a full meal. Only add a little or reduce the amount of kibble that you are feeding, as the freeze-dried food will add calories to your dog’s diet.
Important Features to Consider
There are some important things to keep in mind when you choose a freeze-dried dog food for your pooch. Here are some of those features to consider.
- Processing location. Some dog food products are processed in other countries and might have safety issues. This is particularly true when a food is made or processed in China. For best results, look for a dog food that is made and processed in the USA or Canada.
- Ingredients. Many freeze-dried foods are grain-free, but others are not. If your dog has a sensitivity or allergy, you will need to be sure that that ingredient is not present in the food that you choose.
- Size of the package. Freeze-dried food can be expensive, so it makes sense to double-check the size of the package you are buying. Do keep in mind that when you reconstitute the food with water, it will become a much greater quantity.
- Added vitamins and minerals. If you are feeding freeze-dried food as a complete diet, you will need to be sure that it contains all of the nutrients that your dog needs. Your veterinarian is a great source of information and can help you make the right choice for your dog’s diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is freeze-dried dog food?
Freeze-dried dog food is either raw or cooked ingredients that have the water and other liquids removed. This results in a light, dry food that needs to be mixed with water before feeding to your dog. Because of the unique way it is processed, it tends to hold onto nutrients better than foods that are made in other ways (such as typical dry kibble).
Is freeze-dried dog food good for your dog?
In general, yes. The vitamins and nutrients in the foods that are turned into freeze-dried dog food remain in the food through the drying process. Also, many of these foods are made from organic ingredients and don’t contain grains or other ingredients that your dog might be sensitive to. Some are even formulated to be appropriate for pregnant and lactating dogs, puppies, and older dogs. Talk to your vet to see if freeze-dried foods are the right choice for your particular dog. If not, you might want to consider something off of our list of the top holistic dog foods.
Is freeze-dried dog food considered raw?
It depends. Some freeze-dried foods are made from raw ingredients, while others are made from cooked ingredients. Most dog owners consider freeze-dried foods to be a good alternative to raw foods if it isn’t feasible or possible to make a raw diet at home. If you are looking for more raw foods, you’ll want to take a look at our list of the best raw dog foods.
Do you have to add water to freeze-dried dog food?
Yes. The specific amount of water that needs to be added will vary by brand and type, so it is important to read the directions carefully when preparing your dog’s food. You will want to ensure that your dog is getting enough water in her diet and that it is always freely available in addition to adding water to her food.