Pet Health Tip - Freeze-Dried Food Concern
Freeze-dried diets for dogs and cats have become more popular. However, we have a valid concern with this type of diet, and that is moisture content. Freeze-dried diets have a moisture content as low as just 2%. Compare this to dehydrated diets at 5%, kibble pet foods at 5-10%, canned foods at 75-85% and raw pet foods at 70-75%.
Since freeze-drying reduces the moisture content of foods so dramatically, they can become very difficult to rehydrate especially when not cooking or using boiling water. We believe this is where the potential problem with freeze-dried foods resides. If you feed your dog or cat this type of diet you will notice that the food and water stay separate for the most part. Your animal is basically ingesting a very dry food along with water instead of a moisture rich food. What happens now is the water will dilute digestive juices interfering with digestion in the stomach and then quickly pass through your animal in the form of urine, while the dry food will absorb water from the digestive tract as it is digested. This process can be very dehydrating to an animal, especially cats that require the bulk of their moisture to come from the food they ingest.
What should I do?
We suggest you select a raw food diet that has a naturally sufficient moisture content. As an alternative to raw, we would suggest a cooked home-prepared diet that is also higher in moisture. However, if you still wish to feed a freeze-dried diet we suggest that you place the food with warm water (just warm to the touch so enzymes are not destroyed) in a blender, mix and then let sit for 5 - 10 minutes. This will help to better rehydrate the food so it slowly releases its moisture content in the digestive tract and does not contribute to a dehydrated state in your animal that could possibly lead to constipation or kidney disease in the future. And don’t forget to use those freeze-dried treats in moderation (or not at all) especially for your feline companions or those with constipation or kidney issues!