What Is Dehydrated Dog Food and Why Is It Better?
There is a lot to consider when deciding what food to feed your dog. And just like what to feed yourself or your family, there’s no 1 right answer. Some human bodies do better on particular diets and it's the same with dogs. Dogs came from a fairly strict carnivore heritage. As best we can tell, their ancestors would occasionally eat grass, but avoided plants whenever possible. But dogs have evolved alongside humans in what’s called a symbiotic relationship, for up to 30,000 years in some areas. Dogs have adjusted to the human omnivore diet and seem well-suited for a variety of different foods.
But what’s BEST for them? Unfortunately, the short answer is we don’t really know. We can’t find any credible research identifying the perfect diet for dogs. This is because dogs are so different! So, it’ll take a little trial and error to find the best food for your dog. How can you tell errors? Well, dogs give lots of signals about their diet like ignoring their food or trying to forage for other food. Then there are body signals - low energy, scratching, ear-flapping, licking paws, etc. that can all signal their body doesn’t agree with their food.
There are 4 main categories of dog food right now:
As we dug into the research, it’s clear that most kibble is NOT good for dogs and can lead to shorter lives, more discomfort, and less energy - overall, a less happy life! And we believe that every dog deserves a happy life. Kibble is the word used to describe those extremely hard little pellets that last forever and are completely unrecognizable as food. Kibble is scorched with high heat up to 5 times before it gets to your dog’s bowl, usually containing nutritionally dead fillers and basically anything the company can find to put in there without turning the dog away. They have even discovered scents that help the dog eat food that it would otherwise refuse. We could go on and on about kibble, but for the sake of your time, we'll sum it up as a very low-nutrition diet with low-moisture. Though kibble is the cheapest and most economical way to feed your pup, it's generally not the healthiest.
Raw food usually has great nutrition for dogs. If you choose to source a raw diet from a manufacturer, there are still companies who put in fillers and poor-quality ingredients, but usually much less so than kibble. Dogs enjoy raw and it’s a great choice for some families. There is research that some nutrition is locked in the food when fed raw, but there are some foods that are slightly less bio-available than cooked food. If you are feeding raw, it's important that your dog's diet is supplemented with essential vitamins and nutrients to ensure they are getting all the nutrition they need and have a complete and balanced diet.
Also, raw food can be dangerous to handle in households. Now, the issue is not getting the dogs sick from the raw food. Dogs can handle e coli and salmonella, which are the most common ‘bad’ bacteria found in foods, better than humans because of their large stomachs the contain a lot of stomach acid. BUT the humans feeding the dogs have to be extremely careful when feeding. You MUST wash your hands and every surface the raw food touched every time you feed the dog and the leftover bowl, too! Every time. The FDA even did a test and discovered significant cases of human illness from handling raw dog food. Raw is usually moderately-high in moisture.
Fresh-cooked is another option that can have great nutrition and due to its fresh nature, it has high moisture which is a win in our book. Unfortunately, from the companies we’ve seen online offering fresh-cooked options, there seem to be a LOT more filler ingredients used, like starchy potatoes or rice, making it high-carb and low-protein, which isn't ideal for our furry friends who thrive on a high protein diet.
Since it has been cooked, it’s safe to serve so you don’t need to worry about washing everything like with raw diets. But, it needs to be kept refrigerated or frozen. If you have the extra freezer or refrigerator space to hold fresh-cooked food, that’s great, but in many households, extra space is hard to come by! Also, it can add extra chores to the human's to-do list since you need to thaw before feeding and the dishes need to be washed thoroughly.
Lastly, shipping and handling fees for refrigerated or frozen food are very costly, making the cost of fresh-cooked food well above many dog parents' pocketbooks.
Gently Cooked / Dehydrated
We chose a dehydration process because we believe it has the best attributes for all things considered. Pathogens have been killed by the gently-cooked process, so it’s very safe to serve. It’s never heated above 175F, so the fats stay stable and bio-available and the cooking process actually makes chicken and other proteins MORE bio-available than raw. So, what we're able to create is food for dogs that is as nutritious (sometimes more) as raw food, but as safe and easy to serve as kibble?!? AMAZING.
But we didn’t stop there. We dehydrate only Human-grade foods and only ingredients that have the best research for dog nutrition. More on that coming soon in a new blog post. For now, take a look through all of our products, here!