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As a dog parent, you do everything to ensure your pet lives a happy and healthy life. If you’re someone who has gone down the rabbit hole in search of the perfect dog food, you can opt for dehydrated foods.
What is dehydrated dog food? Why is the food good for dogs?
Dehydration is a process that removes moisture through slow heating while preserving the nutritional content. This is a lightweight, minimally processed food option compared to cooked and dry kibble.
One of the many benefits of dehydrated dog foods is that you only need to add warm water to the mix for a wholesome meal. Wondering which brands are trustworthy?
Let’s take a look!
The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free
The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free
I and Love and You Stir and Boom
I and Love and You Stir and Boom
The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient
The Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient
The Honest Kitchen, founded in 2002, is the world’s first human-grade pet food company that follows sustainable practices.
Their grain-free dehydrated dog food recipe contains free-range sources of protein, which has 50% more protein content than caged chicken. The formula also contains human-grade and dog-safe vegetables and fruits, including potatoes, apples, and bananas, making it a perfectly balanced meal for dogs.
I like that the recipe does not contain grains, by-products, fillers, corn, wheat, or soy, which will definitely benefit dogs with sensitive tummies. However, the formula does have eggs, which can cause allergies in some dogs.
Their flavors include Chicken, Beef, Fish, and Turkey, so there’s something for every pet. However, the formula may not be suitable for puppies, as they have different nutritional needs than adults. Besides that, the powdery texture can be off-putting to some dogs used to dry, chunky kibble.
The prep process involves roasting, cold pressing, and gentle dehydration. Although these methods ensure optimum nutrition, the ingredients may take longer to rehydrate. This is not particularly an issue unless you’re in a rush.
I and Love and You, a sustainable brand, has a limited ingredient list. The brand believes what’s not in your dog’s food is just as important as what’s in it.
Stir and Boom is a homemade recipe containing free-range proteins and produce like carrots, cabbage, and bananas. Needless to say, the formula is rich in minerals like Vitamin D3 and Folic Acid. And all you need to do is add water to the dehydrated mix, wait a couple of minutes, and let your dog enjoy it!
The formula includes flavors like Chicken, Beef, Lamb, and Turkey. And don’t worry; it contains no corn, wheat, soy, rice, added gluten, or fillers. So, dogs with sensitive stomachs can also enjoy this formula. However, it does contain eggs, a common allergen in dogs.
The best thing about this formula is that it is suitable for dogs of all ages. But remember to portion it based on your pet’s size and age. Like all foods, you need to introduce it to your pup’s diet slowly. I and Love and You recommends a 10-day introductory period.
Bonus: Return their packaging, and they’ll recycle it for you absolutely free!
Steven Brown, a renowned dog food formulator, and Dr. Karen Becker, DMV, are the faces behind the sustainable and ethical brand Dr. Mercola.
The Healthy Pet Essentials formula sources its protein from cattle and poultry humanely raised on family-owned farms in the Midwest. The recipe also contains organic ingredients like spinach, butternut squash, beets, kelp, and blueberries, promoting your pet’s coat and overall health.
Moreover, the formula does not include any grains, fillers, preservatives, artificial flavors, salt, or sugar. That said, the recipe does contain organ meat, which some dogs aren’t too fond of.
I have gotten to the best part yet. The recipe is appropriate for dogs of all ages and sizes! So, puppies and adult dogs can enjoy the meal in suitable proportions. But ensure you crush any big chunks as they could pose a choking hazing to pups and small-breed dogs.
Although it is more expensive than most dehydrated foods, every 3 lbs bag makes around 12 lbs of food. It’s reasonable when you account for it like that. You can use Dr. Mercola’s Healthy Pet Essentials as a whole meal or even as a topper — whatever your pet prefers.
Does your furry companion have a tummy that is sensitive to most ingredients? Think no further than Honest Kitchen’s Limited Ingredient Range.
This limited ingredient formula contains no fillers, grains, peas, or gluten and is as compact as they come. However, that doesn’t mean it has low nutritional benefits. The Honest Kitchen chooses human-grade, premium ingredients to meet your dog’s needs, ensuring a balanced diet.
Besides Chicken, you can choose from a variety of flavors, including Beef, Fish, Duck, and Turkey. All protein sources are free-fed and bred ethically. This means your pet gets better quality protein.
Speaking of human-grade ingredients, all the brand’s recipes are made in a human food facility, following high-quality standards. You can rest assured that you are giving your pet the best.
That said, because of its limited ingredient list, it does not have a longer shelf life and is pricier than most dehydrated dog foods. However, in my opinion, that’s a small price to pay, considering its many benefits.
I would also like to add that the mixture can be hard to clean if the bowl is left out for too long. Clean your pet’s bowl as soon as it’s done eating to discourage bacterial and fungal growth.
According to Matt Koss, the brand’s founder, Primal’s journey began when his pet Luna was diagnosed with renal failure. Unable to find a suitable diet for his pet from the numerous options available, Koss turned to a holistic veterinarian who encouraged him to put Luna on a high-quality diet of bones and raw food.
This led to him discovering Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF), a diet that mimics how canines’ diets in the wild. Needless to say, the diet did wonders for Luna’s health, and Matt introduced Primal to the world.
Dubbed the best freeze-dried dog food, the formula contains USDA hormone- and steroid-free beef and certified organic produce from which your pet can derive unrefined and highly beneficial minerals. That said, some of the minerals in the formula do not make it to AFFCO’s Dog Food Nutrient Profile list. So, always consult a vet before you change your pet’s diet.
The icing on the cake is that the nuggets are absolutely free of grains, soy, corn, legumes, and gluten.
In addition to Beef, their dog food is also available in Chicken, Duck, Lamb, Pork, Rabbit, Turkey, Sardine, and Venison, so there’s something for every dog, including the pickiest eater.
Lastly, the nuggets are appropriate for dogs of all ages, including puppies and pregnant dogs. However, the portions of the freeze-dried raw food must be adjusted accordingly. If you are confused, it’s best to follow the instructions on the packaging or consult your pet’s vet to understand it better.
Only Natural Pet, as the name suggests, is all about holistic living for dogs. The brand takes pride in sourcing only high-quality meat and produce to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. Plus, you get 5% back on every order. A bang for your buck if you ask me!
The MaxMeat Beef Recipe is an air dried beef dog food, giving it a jerky-like texture. It contains beef organs like the liver and lungs, in addition to vitamins, minerals and zero grains. This high-protein treat is suitable for active puppies and adult dogs only.
And given its high protein content, the transition period may take longer than usual. I’d suggest introducing and feeding your dog this recipe over 10 days — longer if it has a sensitive stomach.
Also, the tough and chewy texture can be challenging for most senior dogs, so avoid feeding it to them, even as treats or toppers. And since the formula doesn’t include a mix of vegetables and fruits, portion is key.
I would recommend adhering to the brand’s guide on the website for the appropriate amount for your dog based on its size and weight.
Marie Moody named her brand after her adopted dogs Stella and Chewy. The story goes that when Chewy fell sick, Marie put her pet on a raw food diet, and the rest is history.
Cut to today: We have Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Patties! The beef used in these patties is sourced from grass-fed cattle, making it healthy and sustainable. The formula also contains certified organic fruits and vegetables.
One of the best features is that this dehydrated, raw grain-free, no potato dog food is free of common allergens. It also includes enhanced probiotics and antioxidants, so it’s suitable even for dogs with weak digestive systems. Moreover, it’s reduced calorie content makes it an ideal dehydrated dog food option.
If your dog is allergic to Beef, no worries! Stella’s Dinner Patties come in a range of flavors, including Absolutely Rabbit, Chewy’s Chicken, Dandy Lamb, Duck Duck Goose, Purely Pork, Remarkable Red Meat, Simply Venison, Surf ‘N Turf, Tantalizing Turkey, and Venison Blend.
So let your pet take its pick. And while the cardboard texture may seem unappetizing, once rehydrated, the patties are soft and succulent, and your pet will love them.
Looking for the best fruit and veggie dehydrated dog food mix? Check out Sojos. This pre-mix is a perfect balance of vegetables and fruits that benefit your dog’s health.
Some of the ingredients from among a long list include sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and cranberries, to name a few. The formula also contains zinc sulfate, vitamin E and D3 supplements, copper sulfate, and folic acid-all essential minerals!
This meticulously blended food is perfect for dogs that need to reduce their protein intake. It’s also proven as the best dehydrated food for dogs with protein allergies. In many cases, kidney-related issues can cause the protein to do more harm than good, so adding a vegetarian topper like this is a good option.
Moreover, 1 lb of product rehydrates to 5 lbs! All you have to do is add water to the pre-mix and wait 15 minutes. Once the mixture turns mushy, add it to your dog’s kibble for a wholesome meal.
Spot Farms believes in clean and healthy living. That’s why, when it comes to getting high-quality ingredients, they go right to the source, cutting the middleman.
The Grain-free Chicken Recipe uses locally sourced chicken raised on family-owned farms nationwide. And since these farms follow ethical breeding practices, including not using steroids, you can be rest assured that your dog gets premium quality protein.
Moreover, the recipe meets AAFCO’s Dog Food Nutrient Profile and includes fresh produce like potatoes, carrots, spinach, and apples. Also, with the exclusion of fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives, what your pet gets is a well-rounded meal.
Sadly, there are no other flavors available at the moment. So, if your dog doesn’t react well to chicken, you may want to check out another brand. Also, I would suggest buying a small pack at first to check if your dog likes the consistency. Many dogs like the soft, mashed potato-like texture.
Although this texture may seem ideal for senior dogs, avoid feeding it to them. It may not meet the nutritional values, causing more harm than good.
Addiction strongly believes in nourishment, innovation, and sustainability. That’s why their formulas are unique. Moreover, they are strict about meeting AAFCO standards, so your pet gets what’s best!
Outback Kangaroo Feast Raw Dehydrated Dog Food uses wild kangaroo meat sourced from Australia to help your pet get the nourishment it needs. If your pet is allergic to most protein sources, give this novel meat variant a try.
The formula also includes apples, basil, blueberries, carrots, and cranberries. Also, wholesome grains and prebiotics from flax seeds can boost your dog’s digestive system and overall health. All of these nutrient-dense ingredients make for a perfectly balanced meal.
And if Kangaroo meat is not to your dog’s taste, the brand offers other unique flavors like Country Chicken & Apricot, Herb Lamb & Potatoes, Homestyle Venison & Cranberry, Perfect Summer Brushtail, and Steakhouse Beef and Zucchini.
I must point out that novelty meats are more expensive than regular meats, so expect to pay more for this formula. Many pet parents have also pointed out that the formula is powdery and contains pieces of bones.
I’d advise slowly transitioning your pet to this formula, so it gets used to the texture. And if your pet is a small breed, look out for the pieces of bones.
Made in the USA with ingredients sourced from all over the world, Only Natural Pet nails every formula they create. And this one is no exception. The Wholesome Homemade Poultry Feast Dehydrated Dog Food is made with all real ingredients.
With chicken, turkey, chicken meal, and lots of fruits and vegetables, this holistic, balanced meal is formulated by expert vets. These ingredients work in tandem to support your dog’s muscle development and digestive health. However, if your dog is allergic to chicken, you may have to look at other options. There are no options in this variant.
The added minerals and vitamins, including Vitamin B12 and D3, Folic Acid, and Calcium Iodate enhance its overall wellbeing.
Each 6 lb bag of this grain-free formula makes up to 18 lbs of fresh dog food—more than double the amount. This is the smallest package available at the moment. Safe to say, you’re getting your money’s worth.
In case, if your dog doesn’t like the food, you get a full refund. No questions will be asked. On the other hand, if your dog happens to love it, you get 5% back on every purchase. A deal too good to pass, if you ask me.
When it comes to nutrition, there’s no one-shoe-fits-all. What works for one dog may not necessarily work for another since all dogs have varied nutritional needs. You will have to make a decision based on your pet’s breed, age, activity level, genetics, and sensitivities.
It’s best to check multiple online reviews and forums and consult a vet to know what best suits your pet’s needs.
There’s no way to know which brand is the best – it all depends on your dog’s age, breed, activity level, genetics, and conditions (if any).
It’s also important to know that raw dehydrated and free-dried meals have some differences compared to regular pet food, including shelf-life, texture, and nutritional value. So when looking for options, do your research and make an informed decision.
Today, several brands make human-grade, grain-free dehydrated dog food for puppies, adults, and seniors. The safest and best would depend on what your dog likes, its age, breed, and genetics.
Some top brands include The Honest Kitchen, I and Love and You, Primal, and Stella and Chewy.
If you’re on the look for dehydrated dog food, you need to make an informed decision. In my opinion, there’s no one brand that is suitable for all dogs and breeds. After all, just like humans, even dogs have different nutritional needs. But here are some recommendations based on my research and experience.
If your dog is sensitive to grains, choose grain-free options from brands like The Honest Kitchen, I and Love and You, or Dr. Mercola Healthy Pet Essentials.
If your dog needs more proteins, I’d recommend Primal’s Freeze Dried Dog Food Nuggets Beef Formula. On the other hand, if your dog needs to cut down on proteins, you can choose Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Patties or Sojos Mix-A-Meal Fruit & Veggie Pre-Mix Grain-Free Dog Food.
Most brands have Turkey and novelty meat options, so if your dog is allergic to regular meats, you can try these out. As I mentioned before, the concept of “one shoe fits all” does not hold when it comes to nutrition. It’s best to consult a vet or animal nutritionist to know what’s best for your pet.
Meet Sheryl, a dedicated pet mom with over 20 years of hands-on experience as a pet mom to various dog breeds, from German Shepherds to Shih Tzus. Join her on her pet-centric journey as she aims to empower pet owners with practical tips and guidance. With her experience and passion for pets, she strives to make a positive impact in the lives of pets and their devoted owners.