Let’s Be Fur Real: Air-dried vs Freeze-dried Food, Which One Is Better?

In today’s pet-loving world, our furry pals have smoothly transitioned from mere companions to beloved family members. With this change, pet owners are now placing utmost importance on providing the absolute best for their beloved besties, especially when it comes to their diet. However, tons of available pet food options have left many pet owners wondering how to pick the one that suits their pal’s specific needs the most. 

More than the ingredients, the manufacturing process plays a significant role in this choice. Knowing how pet food is made not only gives pet parents a peek into the nutritional value and quality of the food, it also guides them into making informed decisions about the stuff they nourish their furballs with.

Different brands employ different processes in their pet food production. These include extrusion, oven baking, dehydration, air-drying, and freeze-drying. Among all of these, air-drying and freeze-drying are currently the most popular and preferred. But which one is better? Let’s take a deep dive!

Paws and Cons: Air-drying vs Freeze-drying

FeatureAir-Dried Pet FoodFreeze-Dried Pet Food
Processing MethodUses low heated air that allows moisture to evaporate, “cooking” the food in the process.Moisture is removed using low pressure by sublimation. Does not use heated air high enough to cook, keeping the food raw.
Nutrient RetentionRetains more nutrients versus traditional kibble but can sometimes lose important temperature-sensitive enzymes, nutrients, proteins, and amino acidsRetains a high percentage of nutrients as the freeze-drying process minimizes nutrient loss
TextureDenser, usually softer and chewierLightweight, crunchy, and easily crumbled
Moisture Has varying moisture levels;

Averages at around 5-10%

Contains about 2-6% water content
Shelf LifeAbove average shelf lifeLonger shelf life
Preservatives May include natural preservatives such as vitamin E or rosemary extractTypically no additional preservatives due to the dehydration process
RehydrationSome products may be rehydrated with water to enhance palatability;

May take longer time to rehydrate, closer to 30 minutes

Can be fed dry or reconstituted with water to regain its original texture and flavor;

Rehydrates in a couple of minutes

IngredientsMay contain a mix of meat, vegetables, and fruits, with some brands focusing on single protein sources;

Made up of 100% of the original raw product

Contains a variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables, often with a focus on single protein sources;

Made up of 100% of the original raw product

Palatability Pets may find the softer texture and natural flavors appealing;

Individual preferences vary

Generally well-liked by more pets due to the concentrated flavors;

Individual preferences vary

The Cool Choice: Freeze-dried Pet Food

Without a doubt, freeze-dried raw food stays on top when it comes to quality, palatability, and nutritional value. It offers the best of both worlds: the convenience of regular kibbles and the functional benefits of a raw diet. This is especially good news to pawrents with pets who can’t tolerate raw diets. Freeze-dried food is complete and balanced without the hassle of time-consuming sourcing, thawing, and preparation, and the ever-changing cost of ingredients.

Other advantages of freeze-dried raw food include high digestibility which aids in better nutrient absorption and leads to firmer and drier poop; delicious taste which appeals to even the pickiest eaters; high amounts of healthy fats for better skin and coat; and longer shelf life for easier storage, handling, and feeding.

cat and dog lying together under blanket on sofa

A Loveabowl news!

Elevate your pet’s dining experience with Loveabowl’s latest addition to the line-up: Freeze-A-Bowl!

This game-changing freeze-dried diet is made with 100% natural ingredients, including pure and wholesome proteins like green-lipped mussel and superfoods like kelp from New Zealand. Each bag contains zero additives, grains, carbs, and meat meal. No bones added to avoid choking hazards, too. The unique and specially-crafted recipe is high in palatability and nutritional content, only the best for every Loveabowl pet. Freeze-A-Bowl by Loveabowl is now available online and at retail stores islandwide

Order a sample today!