As a pet owner, you want to provide your dog with a nutritionally complete diet that also tastes fantastic. Learn about dehydrated dog food and whether it’s the right choice for your pooch.
When shopping for dog food, the first thing you have probably noticed is that the market is inundated with hundreds of choices. Should you feed kibble, freeze-dried, wet, or something else?
With so many options, it's hard not to get overwhelmed. One of the most popular food choices to emerge in recent years is dehydrated dog food. At Homes alive pets, we carry many top dehydrated dog food brands, so stick around to learn more about them.
What is Dehydrated Dog Food?
Dehydrated dog food is a diet type made from fresh ingredients that has had all its moisture removed, leaving a dry or crunchy product that is easier to store and shelf stable.
It is a wonderful dietary option for dogs of all ages because it has undergone only minimal processing and does not contain chemical preservatives and other additives that cooked food formats require.
Instead, dehydrated food offers the same nutritional benefits of raw dog food without any fears of spoilage, mess or germs - plus, it contains all the food’s natural robust flavours, which dogs love. The dehydration process also makes the food lightweight and ideal for long-term storage.
During the dehydration process, moisture is removed from the fresh food ingredients using warm air. Unlike kibble, which undergoes rapid processing at elevated temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit (sometimes higher), the low heat process used during dehydration helps the food hold onto more nutrients and results in a more flavourful diet.
Some dehydrated dog foods are sold in a crumbled or powdered form, like The Honest Kitchen. To serve this style, you simply add a small amount of water to rehydrate the food. You can even rehydrate using bone broth or goat's milk for extra flavour.
For those that are used to kibble feeding, scoop-and-serve style dehydrated foods and air-dried foods are made of larger chunks or nuggets that can be fed just like a kibble diet.
Dehydrated dog foods are often fed alone as your dog’s primary diet but can also be fed as a tasty food topper to entice a picky eater to consume his regular kibble or cooked diet.
15 Benefits of Dehydrated Dog Food
Below are a few of the main benefits of dehydrated dog foods.
- Dehydrated dog foods are packed with the nutrients of a raw diet but far less messy.
- Easy to store
- Easier to digest than kibble, which contains by-products, fillers, and artificial preservatives that negatively impact a dog’s digestive system.
- Provides greater levels of protein than kibble.
- Promotes healthy weight.
- Picky dogs usually adore the taste of dehydrated dog food.
- Long shelf life
- Easy to store
- Minimally processed
- Provides similar dietary benefits as a raw or fresh diet.
- Requires no refrigeration.
- Travel-friendly option for raw feeders
- Gentle dehydration process ensures the food retains the flavours that dogs love.
Best Dehydrated Dog Food Brands
Below we will outline a few of the best dehydrated dog food Canada options sold here at Homes Alive Pets. These brands not only offer the nutrient-dense and natural nutrition of a raw diet but each of these brands is dedicated to providing superior quality dog food.
Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Foods
Honest Kitchen proudly offers human-grade foods in all their dehydrated dog foods. They have specialized in human-grade dog foods for over 20 years. While not a true raw diet, The Honest Kitchen Dog Foods are only gently cooked before undergoing the dehydration process.
This works as a natural and safe sterilization method to eliminate harmful bacteria and pathogens from the food. The unique cooking process results in minimal nutrient loss, leaving the food both nutritious and highly digestible.
Here are some of the key features and benefits of The Honest Kitchen Dog Food:
- Available in 5 formula types: Limited Ingredient, Grain Free, Whole Grain, Gourmet Grains, and Base Mixes.
- All formulas use human-grade ingredients, humanely sourced animal protein, and nutrient-dense ingredients to maximize your dog’s diet for optimal nutrition.
- Free of rendered meals, artificial flavours and preservatives, GMO ingredients, feed-grade ingredients, and by-products, corn, wheat or soy.
- The formulas are finely ground, making them easy to rehydrate.
- All formulas are nutrient-dense, meaning you feed less and save more.
- Find both complete and balanced diets and customizable base mixes that allow you to feed a diet that fits your dog’s unique dietary needs.
- The Honest Kitchen Formulas are highly palatable, making them ideal for picky eaters.
- Available is a variety of animal proteins to suit your dog’s taste: Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Fish, and Duck.
Hurraw Dog Food
One of the leading dehydrated dog food Canada brands is Hurraw which is based in Quebec. The company uses only 100% human-grade ingredients, which have been sourced fresh from Quebec.
They use low-temperature dehydration to ensure that the nutrients remain in the food after processing. The dehydrated food by Hurraw has many of the same benefits as feeding a raw diet to your dog but with none of the mess.
The food is exceptionally dense and packed with ample nutrients and a flavour that dogs love. Here are some more benefits to Hurraw Dog Food:
- Scoop and serve formula - Raw nutrition that feeds like kibble
- 100% Human-grade ingredients
- Made from Canadiana and locally sourced ingredients
- All life stage formulas suitable for feeding multi-dog households
- Low-temperature dehydration locks in nutrition and flavour
- Contains nutrient-packed superfoods like pumpkin, spinach, and flaxseeds
- Dense nutrition in each morsel means smaller feedings and more money in your pocket
- Choose from three flavours that dogs love: Fish, Turkey, Pork
Smack Dehydrated Dog Food
Another of our favourite Canadian partners, Smack Pet Food, is a specialty dehydrated pet food company out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Each ingredient in Smack formulas is selected with your dog’s digestion and overall health in mind.
Using fresh ingredients, locally sourced animal proteins, antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, Smack Pet Food is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to feed your dog raw.
Not convinced yet? Here are even more reasons we love Smack:
- Canadian with Canadian sourced ingredients. (We love that!)
- Easy to feed, scoop-and-serve formulas
- Includes certified organic ingredients
- Wholesome, natural, and fresh ingredients
- Exceptional taste and aroma that even the pickiest dogs will love
- Suitable for all breeds and life stages
- No synthetic ingredients
- High protein, low carb formulas, suitable for weight management and muscle
What is Air-Dried Dog Food?
When shopping for dehydrated dog food, you’ll notice many brands label their food as air-dried. You might wonder if dehydrated dog food and air-dried dog food are the same.
Air drying is a form of dehydration which effectively removes moisture from the food. When undergoing dehydration, the food is removed using slow, low heat, but with air drying, the moisture is removed from the food using only air, no heat. Air drying depends on natural evaporation versus heat-induced evaporation.
Typically, dehydrated dog foods have virtually all the moisture removed, but drying is a gentler process and usually removes around 96% of the food’s moisture.
Unlike freeze-dried dog food, air dried foods never crumble. Each nugget holds its form nicely.
Top Air-Dried Dog Foods
Air-dried dog food is still pretty new but quickly growing in popularity. Below you will find a few of the leading air-dried food brands sold at Homes Alive Pets. Each brand sells a wide assortment of air-dried recipes to meet every stage of your dog’s life.
ZiwiPeak Air Dried Dog Food
ZiwiPeak is a New Zealand dog and cat food brand that focuses on crafting foods from ethical and sustainable meats. Each recipe has been handcrafted to meet your pet’s nutritional needs. They carry a full line of air-dried dog foods to meet all your canine companions' needs.
- Ready to serve, raw-inspired nutrition
- Free of artificial preservatives
- Multi-protein formulas to maximize nutrient diversity
- Free range and grass-fed meats
- Sourced and made in New Zealand
- High animal protein diets, complimented by superfood ingredients for optimal nutrition
- Include green tripe, organic kelp, and New Zealand green mussels
Zeal Air Dried Dog Food
Zeal is a dehydrated dog food Canada brand. They offer a wide assortment of air-dried dog food in a variety of flavours to meet even the pickiest eater’s needs. Each formula also features added vitamins and minerals with amino acids to help promote a healthy coat and skin.
All their foods are 96% air dried for optimum flavour. Ziwi Peak can be fed as is, or simply add water to serve your pup a delicious moist meal.
- Locally source ingredients
- No fillers, preservatives, colours, or flavours
- 96% pure meat and organs
- Calorie-dense and low-carb formulas support weight maintenance and muscle development
- Easy to scoop-and-serve formula
- Can be fed as a full meal, a meal topper, or as delicious treats
- Transparent ingredient sourcing
Check out our full selection of Air-Dried Dog Food to find the right formula for your pooch!
Frequently Asked Questions About Dehydrated Dog Foods
When shopping for top dehydrated dog food, you probably have questions. Below we will cover a few of the most frequently asked questions about dehydrated dog foods.
What Does Dehydrated Dog Food Look Like?
Dehydrated dog food is exceptionally lightweight because most of the moisture in the food has been removed through heat. You’ll need to add water to the food chunks to rehydrate them prior to feeding the food to your pup.
Most dehydrated dog foods have small chunks or strips of real foods such as meats, vegetables and fruits, which have been dried but will re-plump when you add water.
What is in Dehydrated Dog Food?
Dehydrated dog food is raw foods such as meats, vegetables and fruits that have undergone a slow heated dehydration process which removes the moisture from the food. After dehydration, the food still contains all the nutrients of the raw foods but is preserved naturally with no need for preservatives or chemicals. You can easily store dehydrated dog food and use it when needed as a meal for your pet or as a topper on your dog’s food to entice a picky eater.
What Dehydrated Foods are Good for Dogs?
You’ll notice that the leading brands of dehydrated dog food contain real meat, fruits, and vegetables to provide your pet with a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Dehydrated pet foods are like feeding your dog a natural raw diet, but you don’t have to worry about food spoilage or mess.
Are Dehydrated Foods Healthy?
Yes, dehydrated dog foods are extremely healthy. They contain nutrients similar to that of raw dog food. The nutrients are left in a more natural state, so the foods are easier to digest and the nutrients easier for your dog's body to absorb and use.
They also have fewer ingredients, and especially fewer starches and fillers that are required in other dry dog foods, like kibble.
How Do You Mix Dehydrated Dog Food to Feed to Your Pet?
When you purchase dehydrated dog food, always take the time to read the manufacturer's instructions on the label to determine how to successfully feed the formula. Every manufacturer is different and might have various instructions on how to make their recipe optimum.
Some dehydrated dog foods must be mixed with warm water to rehydrate it. Let the water and food sit for two to three minutes as the water successfully rehydrates the food. The water helps to rejuvenate the food’s flavours, aromas, and nutrients, so your pup will fall in love with the food with the first bite.
For scoop-and-serve formulas, no rehydration is required, so the food can be fed just like kibble. You can rehydrate them if you want, but they won't absorb the water as easily as a ground or powdered food will.
Is Dehydrated Dog Food Safe?
Dehydrated dog food is very safe. The entire dehydration process removes the food's moisture to help preserve the food longer. Dehydrated foods have a good shelf life but contain no preservatives.
Safe handling practices, the same as are recommended when handling any raw dog food, are needed to keep yourself safe from any bacteria present in the raw food. Wash your hands, surfaces, bowls, and utensils that have touched the food.
In fact, these safe handling practices are recommended for all types of dog food and treats, not just raw. Any type of dog food can contain bacteria, that while not harmful for your dog, could put you at risk.
How Long Does Dehydrated Dog Food Last?
Most pet owners feed their dog's kibble because a bag is easy to store and lasts a long time. Dehydrated dog food is comparable to kibble for storage life. Most foods will stay fresh for 12 months to two years. Always check the label on the dog food’s package to determine an expiration date.
Once you mix the dehydrated food with water, then you should promptly refrigerate any food your dog does not consume. Dehydrated dog food will last for two to three days after refrigeration.
After you refrigerate the leftovers, you’ll probably want to add a little warm water to the formula again before you feed the mixture to your pup. The water will help reinvigorate the food and bring back the food’s taste and aroma to make it more appealing to your dog.
Is Dehydrated Dog Food the Same as a Raw Diet?
A raw diet for dogs is made from fresh raw ingredients, but dehydrated dog food is made from raw foods that have undergone a dehydration process to remove the food’s moisture. While they are similar, dehydrated dog foods are not the same as a fresh raw diet. Even those that are dehydrated from raw ingredients are subjected to heat, which can denature nutrients.
The process of dehydrating dog food require heat, so although the nutrition in a dehydrated dog food is similar to raw, it can no longer be considered truly raw after dehydration. Fortunately, the nutrient loss in dehydrated food is minimal, meaning these diets will still offer superior nutrition to cooked food like kibble.
Another feature that separates fresh raw dog food and dehydrated is the moisture content. Many dehydrated options are meant to be fed dry, similar to a kibble. The convenience of this type of diet makes it popular, but a moisture-rich diet, like raw, will be the healthiest options.
Is Dehydrated Dog Food Good for Senior Canines?
As your dog ages, it will experience changes in the animal’s body, health, and well-being. You want to ensure that your elderly dog obtains the correct nutrients. Dehydrated dog food is an excellent choice for most senior dogs because the nuggets are nutrient-rich.
Once the food has been rehydrated with water, a senior dog can easily chew the morsels (many aging dogs suffer from gum disease and missing teeth). The food is also easy to digest if your elderly pup has a sensitive stomach.
Do Dogs Like the Taste of Dehydrated Dog Food?
Yes, most dogs love the taste of dehydrated dog food, especially if you are switching the pup from kibble, which tends to be very tasty.
When you rehydrate dehydrated dog food with water, it re-energizes all the food's smells and flavours. Most dogs adore the taste because each bite is full of natural flavours found in real meat.
Which Is Better: Freeze-Dried, Dehydrated, Canned, or Wet Dog Food?
When picking between freeze-dried, dehydrated, air-dried, canned, or wet food, there is no easy answer on which one is number one. Every dog is different, so the food that you choose should work for your individual dog's needs.
Each food type has their own fans. Some dogs will love one type versus another, so finding the right dog food does require a bit of trial and error. Fortunately, there are lots of options.
When picking a brand of food, always consider:
- Whether the diet is complete & balanced
- Storage requirements
How Do you Store Dehydrated Dog Food?
Store dehydrated dog food in a cool, dry place. Keep the food out of direct sunlight. Avoid refrigerating the food if you have not hydrated it because the moisture from the refrigerator will start to reintroduce moisture to the food, which could cause it to go bad.
If you live in a humid environment, then store the dehydrated dog food in an airtight container to keep out unwanted moisture which can cause the food to go bad.
What Makes Dehydrated Dog Food Healthy?
If you are wondering, “are dehydrated dog foods healthy?” The answer is “yes.” The entire dehydration process locks in nutrients, minerals, and vitamins without the need for possibly dangerous food preservatives.
Dehydrated raw dog food contains all the nutrients of actual raw dog food without any of the mess and hassle when it comes to storage and preparation.
Are you wondering what dehydrated food is good for dogs? At Homes Alive Pets, we suggest that you consider any of the top dehydrated dog food brands listed above. Each food is highly palatable and brimming with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Feeding dehydrated dog food to your four-legged companion is one of the best ways to provide your canine with the needed nutrients to flourish.