I’m often asked why all My Zone Blue products are freeze dried.
In this detailed post I’ll answer this and other questions, including:
What is freeze drying?
How is freeze dried pet food made?
Is it safe?
1. What is freeze drying?
Freeze-drying is the process by which water is taken out of food or any other material.
The magic of the method lays on how water is removed: it goes from a solid phase (i.e., ice) to a gas phase (i.e., vapor) without ever becoming liquid.
The transformation from solid to gas is called sublimation and it’s important when dealing with food because it preserves its nutritional profile, color, flavor, and shape.
The fancy scientific name of freeze-drying is lyophilization. Although it sounds like modern science, the method has a long history.
According to this article, Incas were among the first to use the technique that is still used by people in the Andes mountains.
They would lay out potatoes on the ground at high altitude (which also means high atmospheric pressure) and freezing temperatures overnight.
Once the potatoes were frozen, they smashed them with their feet to remove the water. In that way they were light to carry and stored safely for years.
These days, freeze-drying is used to safely preserve and transport a wide range of products, including blood plasma, vaccines, pathogens, coffee, and camping, survival, and spacecraft food.
2. How is raw freeze dried pet food made?
1. Flash freezing of raw food to lock in freshness.
2. Food is then exposed to low temperature and high pressure inside a vacuum chamber called freeze-dryer.
3. Water is transformed from ice into vapor within a millisecond (sublimation), bypassing the liquid form.
4. Cold condenser plates transform the vapor back into ice to be discarded.
5. The cycle keeps going for 44 to 48 hours until 90 to 99% of the water is removed.
Overall, a sublime method!
3. Is freeze dried food the best raw food for dogs and cats?
From a nutritional perspective, freeze drying is the best alternative since it’s minimally processed, and the technology used is gentle enough to keep intact virtually all the nutrients in raw pet food.
Second only to frozen pet food but without the mess, risks, and inconvenience.
Keep in mind that any processing such as heating, cooking, and extruding destroys essential nutrients.
In a recent study raw food was shown to promote a healthy gut in dogs.
In addition, raw freeze dried formulations tend to be prepared with natural, wholesome ingredients.
Is freeze dried raw pet food safe?
Freeze drying is one of the safest, if not the safest, way to preserve raw food.
Its extremely low moisture content makes it an inhospitable milieu for molds, bacteria, and other microorganisms to develop and grow.
Consequently, raw freeze dried food does not require the addition of chemical preservatives, making it a healthier alternative.
Are there freeze dried meals for dogs and cats?
Freeze dried meals can be formulated to provide most, if not all essential nutrients from natural, wholesome ingredients.
This is as close as you can get to homemade, fresh food, or even to what animals would eat in the wild.
Freeze dried pet food conserve the characteristics of its fresh counterpart, including nutrients, shape, flavor, aroma, and texture.
What about freeze dried raw treats and toppers?
Without the need of additives, freeze dried raw treats are a healthy alternative and can be made of a single ingredient, like these chicken breast only, and pork liver only treats for dogs and cats from My Zone Blue.
One of the few downsides of raw freeze dried pet food is its price. It tends to be more expensive than other foods in the market.
However, If you’re looking to boost your dog’s health without completely committing to raw feeding, freeze dried toppers can enhance the nutritional value of any bowl for less money.
Our freeze dried topper for dogs is a blend of veggies, fruits, meat, organs, prebiotics, and superfoods with nourishing, cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant nutrients in a convenient freeze-dried preparation ready to serve.
How do you serve freeze dried pet food?
Depending on the preference of your pet, freeze-dry food can be served dried directly from the package, or simply prepared by adding water to rehydrate the mix.
Once rehydrated, freeze dried food must be handled like any other raw food, meaning it must be consumed quickly and can’t be kept for more than a few hours before discarding it.
It’s also recommended to wash your hands, utensils, and bowls after serving.
4. How to store freeze dried pet food?
No fridge or freezer needed!
It’s advised that you store your pet food in a cool, dark, and dry location at temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
And of course, out of reach of your dog and cat.
How long does freeze dried pet food last?
Packaged freeze dried food can last for years. Freeze-dried offers the longest shelf life of all the methods to preserve raw food.
And this without the need of artificial preservatives.
When packaging, oxygen absorbers are added, or inert gas is flushed to keep oxygen away.
How long does freeze dried food last after opening?
Oxygen, moisture, and light are the kryptonite of freeze dried food.
Once the original package is opened, it’s a good idea to reseal it after every use.
Ideally, transfer the food into an air-tight container that can chase out the air. We love these vacuum canisters that can be used for freeze dried treats and small amounts of food.
Remember to place the new container in a cool place protected from light.
5. Don’t forget the backpacker’s pantry.
You no longer need to carry a 30-pound bag of kibble on your next outdoor adventure.
Freeze-dry products are very convenient for backpackers and outdoorsy people.
With no refrigeration needed and an unmatched lightness, they’re ideal for traveling and camping with your four-legged companions.
I’ll leave you here with a summary of what every pet parent should know about freeze dried pet food.
But before leaving, I'd like to know what's your experience with raw freeze dried pet food. Have you ever try it? What do think of it? Do you have more questions about it?
Leave your comments/questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
Freeze drying removes almost all the water out of pet food and maintains its nutritional and structural integrity.
Freeze dried pet food is safe and made with wholesome, natural ingredients without additives.
No need to freeze or refrigerate freeze dried pet food. Extremely light and convenient to store at home, and for training, traveling, and camping.