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Now that we’ve got the whats and whys of the raw doggy diet answered, let’s dig our paws a little deeper…
Raw food can be made at home or bought commercially one of two ways: frozen or freeze-dried.
Homemade raw food:
Homemade raw is the most customizable (and labor intensive) option made by purchasing raw ingredients, such as meat, organs, and vegetables, and preparing them at home. The major downsides is it can be very time-consuming to shop for, prepare, cleanup and store. If you’re not sacrificing your freezer you are likely making multiple trips to the butcher and grocery store each week.
The second main draw back is getting the recipe right and balanced. If it’s not, it could cause nutritional deficiencies in your dog, leading to health issues. It is estimated that 90% of the raw recipes on the internet are deficient in some ways (Little Hunter recipes are balanced and reviewed by licensed nutritionists).
Frozen Raw Food:
Your first option for purchase is frozen raw. It's a popular option for pet owners who want to feed their dog a raw diet but don’t have the time to prepare it themselves. It can be bought in advance and stored for long periods of time in freezers and easy to get variety and switch up your dog’s diet with different animal proteins and flavor profiles.
This means planning ahead, defrosting, packing frozen meals for the road, messy cleanups, etc. Note, if it’s in the fresh section then it’s not raw – it’s cooked fresh (raw is only sold frozen for spoilage/ shelf-life considerations).
Frozen raw comes with a few drawbacks. The biggest of which have to do with convenience and prep required. Frozen can take up large amounts of freezer and fridge space and must be defrosted in advance (barring emergency hot water defrosts in front of impatient pups…). Additionally, planning travel around can be a hassle (requiring pup parents to plan advanced shipping to your destination or pack a cooler).
Additionally, frozen tends to cost about 30% more than freeze-dried.
Freeze-Dried Raw Food:
Freeze-dried raw solves for all of the above issues.
It’s made by simply taking freezing raw ingredients to extremely cold temperatures (-40 degrees) and vacuuming out the moisture, creating a lightweight, nutrient-dense, dried good that stays fresh without refrigeration or freezing. Because the water is removed – it is lightweight, takes up less space and stays fresh like any other dried good in your pantry.
Nutritional Value preserved:
Because freeze dried is simply freezing and vacuuming out moisture - the nutritional content of the food is preserved - leaving all the same raw nutrition as frozen raw and homemade (as well as the taste & flavors) but in a pantry-safe form that can be stored for months.
Our freeze-dried recipes are formulate with board certified nutritionists for fully balanced nutrition. Unfortunately, most home-made raw recipes are found to be nutritionally deficient.
Ready to serve /Convenience over Frozen:
Freeze-dried raw is ready to serve right out of the bag, which means no more having to remember to defrost expiring meals the night before, panicked (and unsafe) emergency defrosting in the sink, overstuffed freezers and best of all no more packing coolers for weekend road trips or trying to coordinate vacation. Pantry-ready when you are, just open and pour.
A final note on food safety. Freeze-dried raw is by far the safest raw option. Both homemade and (defrosted) frozen food can leave dangerous pathogens laying around your counters (because it was never cooked) and cleanup/ food-safety around your kitchen (especially with young children should be exercised). Because freeze-dried raw is frozen to extreme temps and moisture removed – almost all potential pathogens are killed (pregnant women should still consult their OB if considering a raw diet for their pups).
All in all, freeze-dried raw is a safe, convenient, and affordable alternative to traditional raw food and a more healthy alternative to kibble. It’s nutrient dense, easy to serve and store, and perfect for very busy pet parents and hungry pups alike!
So, while all three types of raw food have their benefits and drawbacks, we believe freeze-dried is the clear, superior option. It has all the nutritional benefits of a raw diet without the hassle of storage, preparation or concerns with food safety and potential nutritional imbalances. Additionally, it offers a longer shelf life and is easier to handle and serve than other raw food options (just open the bag and pour). If you're considering a raw food diet, Little Hunter freeze-dried raw is definitely worth exploring.