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Gone are the days when dog food is simply classified as kibble or canned pet food. There are now raw, grain-free, air-dried, dehydrated, freeze-dried, and more! With all these pet food products flooding the market, pet owners may find it a challenge to determine what’s best for their canine buddies.
The main difference between the two is the temperature that each process uses in removing moisture from the ingredients.
The process of air-drying pet food ingredients causes minimal damage to proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients and enzymes that can easily be damaged by heat. It’s a process that is in between freeze-drying and dehydration using heat. All the moisture is removed by evaporation, a process that is similar to dehydration. But unlike dehydration, no additional heat has been applied.
The raw ingredients undergo air-drying in chambers. It’s a gentle and slow process. The chambers are continuously pumped with air that circulates slowly around the meat. The process stops when the moisture has reached a maximum level of 14%. Air drying is a natural way to preserve meat with zero preservatives!
When raw pet food is air-dried, there is minimal damage to all nutrients and enzymes that are present in the ingredients. In a way, pets get nearly all the raw food diet benefits. Unlike freeze-dried dog food, air-dried pet foods tend to retain their form because the process makes them more resistant to crumbling.
Since it isn’t cooked, air-dried pet food may be considered as raw food with its moisture content removed by evaporation. Without cooking, the nutrients are left intact. There is also a minimal amount of damage to the nutrients in meat. It is safe to say that air-dried pet food offers almost all the advantages of a raw diet.
Air-dried dog food is often underrated but did you know that this type of pet food is an excellent option for your pooch? Here are important reasons why you should consider switching your pet’s diet to air-dried dog food:
On the other hand, dehydrated pet food involves removing moisture from the formula with the use of high temperatures to cause evaporation. Dehydration is one of the earliest techniques that are used to preserve foods. Because all the moisture has been removed, the product is smaller and lighter. Dehydrated pet foods should be added with water (rehydrated) before being offered to pets.
Dehydrated dog food is processed at low heat for a considerable length of time until all of the moisture in the food has been drawn out through evaporation. Considering that the heat applied is low, dehydrated pet food is often classified as between raw and cooked pet food. However, many classify it under the raw food category because the nutrients and enzymes that are present are close to that of raw frozen food.
Have you ever wondered why air-dried pet food looks different from normal kibble? The difference is mainly due to the manufacturing methods that each product is subjected to.
Kibble undergoes the extrusion process. Many of the ingredients in kibble have already undergone some form of processing long before they reach the factory. A common example is meat meals. The manufacturing process involves using steam to bring the heat up to several hundred degrees while being subjected to high pressure until the ingredients form a paste. The paste is cut into uniform shapes before placing in an oven where they dry under high temperature.
While the extrusion process is the method of choice in creating a lot of pet food within a very short length of time, it comes with a cost. Being subjected to high temperature means a significant amount of the nutrients are damaged and lost, and this can certainly lower the overall nutritional value of kibble. Also, many kibble products contain artificial preservatives and coloring.
Many pet food manufacturers use meat meals instead of fresh meat because commercial pet food extruders are unable to efficiently process the high moisture content of the raw ingredients.
On the other hand, air-drying permits the inclusion of more fresh ingredients that ensures end products that are chock-full of vital nutrients.
The top air-dried and dehydrated dog food products in Singapore include the following: