The raw food diet trend has become increasingly popular in recent years among dog owners. It's not hard to see why! Dogs have consumed raw meat and vegetables for eons before domestication started. It wasn't until the advent of dry kibble that the standard diet we know today became the norm.
If you're thinking about transitioning your dog to a raw diet, you have a lot of options to consider.
While you could prepare meals yourself, many brands offer frozen foods.
They're easier to handle and come with the peace of mind many are looking for when it comes to dog food.
Because manufacturers put a lot of care into preparing these frozen foods, you usually don't have to worry about issues like contamination, which is a big risk with self-prepared raw meals.
Frozen dog foods are a great way to kickstart your dog's journey to a raw diet. Whether you choose to go all-in and provide these foods as a full meal or simply want to give them to your dog as a snack, your canine companion will appreciate the change of pace!
Frozen foods are delicious, packed with protein, and good for their digestive health. What's not to like?
Here are some of the best frozen dog food brands you can try out today.
5 of the Best Frozen Dog Foods in 2023
1. Instinct Frozen Raw Bites Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Dog Food
Instinct is an established raw food brand with a solid reputation. These frozen raw bites offer a nice alternative to dry food.
Or, they can be used to complement it. Whatever you choose to do, you can rest easy knowing that these small morsels are of high quality.
About 85 percent of the bites are made of pure meat and organs. The remaining 15 percent is comprised of non-GMO fruits and vegetables, ensuring that your dog has all the nutrients they need.
2. Visionary Pet Foods Raw Frozen Keto Beef Recipe Sliders Adult Dog Food
From Visionary Pet Foods, these frozen patties are easy to serve and very delicious for your pup. They're essentially beef sliders packed to the brim with all the good stuff!
The main ingredient is pure lean beef. However, there's also beef heart and liver. You won't find any filler. Only about one percent of the recipe is carbs.
You won't find any added hormones or antibiotics, either. Everything in the formula is human-grade, ensuring that your canine companion is only getting the very best.
3. Nature's Logic Chicken Feast Patties Raw Frozen Dog Food
The Nature's Logic frozen dog food is another good choice for those looking to transition to raw meals. The food comes in easy-to-feed patties.
The main ingredient in the patties is chicken. You'll also find some beneficial organs like chicken heart and liver. For good measure, Nature's Logic adds herring oil. It's an excellent source of omega fatty acids.
You'll also find a good mix of fruits and vegetables. Overall, the frozen food is highly digestible and doesn't have any of the unnecessary filler you'll find with dry kibble.
4. Vital Essentials Beef Entree Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food
If you're looking for something that's simple, check out this food from Vital Essentials. It's a freeze-dried dog food that's made from very limited ingredients.
In fact, there are only 11 ingredients in this recipe! Most of that comes from pure meat and organs. You'll find everything from beef muscle, lung, liver, stomach, and heart.
In total, the freeze-dried food has an impressively high protein content of 51 percent. There are no added hormones, antibiotics, or unnecessary fillers to worry about. Just pure protein!
5. Stella & Chewy's Stella's Super Beef Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
The Stella & Chewy's Meal Mixers are an excellent way to start your transition.
These freeze-dried morsels aren't meant to be fed as full meals. Rather, they are designed to be mixed in with traditional food to provide a powerful boost of protein.
95 percent of the formula comes from beef. In addition to beef muscle, there is a slew of organs used. Plus, the recipe takes advantage of organic fruits and vegetables like spinach, cranberries, squash, blueberries, and more.
Why Go Raw?
Raw food diets can be a bit controversial in the dog community. Some people will feed nothing but raw food to their canines and preach about the benefits from the mountain tops!
Others are more vocal about the potential risks. So, which side is right?
It's true that there are some risks involved with handling raw food. There's always a risk of cross-contamination and bacteria. Luckily, many frozen dog food brands go out of their way to ensure that those issues aren't present.
While the risks still exist, mass-produced frozen foods are made in facilities that are heavily scrutinized. They have to follow strict manufacturing guidelines. Some premium brands are even equipped to handle human food!
Truth is, dogs just aren't built to consume cooked foods. They can live long and healthy lives with dry kibble, but they're missing out on a lot of the good stuff when they eat! The cooking process removes a lot of those essential nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.
By switching to a frozen diet, your dog can enjoy wholesome meats as nature intended. It more closely resembles what your dog's ancient ancestors ate in the wild.
Several studies have shown that raw diets are better for supporting your dog's health. This includes maintaining their muscles, managing their digestive system, and more.
The Benefits of Frozen Dog Foods
There's a lot to love about frozen foods. One of the biggest reasons you might consider going with frozen meals is that they're simply easier to handle. Preparing your dog's dishes from scratch every day is a time-consuming process.
Not only does it become a hassle, but you're increasing the chances of bacteria and other issues from affecting your dog. Handling raw meat yourself opens up the doors to potential cross-contamination.
While preparing those meals yourself does provide you with greater control over what your dog eats, are you sure that you're giving your dog everything that they need? Dogs need more than just raw meat.
They need vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to stay healthy. Frozen foods have all of that. The recipes are created to meet your dog's biological needs, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of raw preparation.
Ultimately, frozen foods make going raw much more accessible to dog owners. These foods are easy to handle, safe for your dog, and provide all the benefits of raw food!
6 Things to Look for In Frozen Dog Foods
Like dry processed kibble, not all frozen foods you see on the market are going to be the same. Every manufacturer has their own formula and way of doing things. T
o ensure that your pup is getting everything they need, keep the following considerations in mind.
High-Quality Protein Sources
As always, protein should be the most prevalent ingredient in a frozen dog food product. Look out for high-quality sources that you can easily identify. Things like chicken, beef, and turkey are all good options.
* Try to avoid any mystery meats or byproducts of questionable origin.
In addition to pure meat, go with a frozen product that utilizes organs! A good frozen dog food product will be comprised of about 5 to 10 percent organ meat. Anything more would be overkill.
Organ meat is very beneficial to dogs. In the wild, it's where they get all those essential nutrients they need to thrive. Livers, kidneys, and hearts provide a nice boost of vitamins. Plus, they taste great to canines!
One of the biggest issues that dog owners face when they make raw meals from scratch is a lack of carbohydrates. Complex carbs provide your dog with energy throughout the day.
While they certainly shouldn't be the main star of the show, carbohydrates are still important.
The best frozen dog foods will contain complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or peas. These foods are absorbed slowly into the body, providing a steady supply of energy throughout the day rather than an extreme spike after eating.
Avoid any food that has unnecessary grain or corn filler. That's something that you'll often see in dry kibble. It's not necessary for frozen foods.
Moderate Fat Content
With frozen foods, a fat content of around 15 percent is ideal. Here's another area where self-preparers run into some issues. When you create your dog's raw meals from scratch, there's a good chance that you're introducing a lot of fat into the mix.
Fat is important for dogs. But, too much of it can lead to excessive weight gain, heart complications, and more. Most frozen food manufacturers will utilize lean meats, helping you manage things a lot easier.
The beauty of frozen foods is that they contain a lot of raw extras you won't find in dry kibble. One of the most beneficial extras is bones! Crushed up bones make the food more palatable. Plus, they provide those trace elements like calcium.
You can also look for additional supplements your pup may need. For example, many frozen foods contain salmon oil. It's a great source of omega fatty acids that could keep your dog's coat looking pristine.
They could also include supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, kelp, apple cider vinegar, and more.
Here's where things can get a little tricky. Most frozen foods will need to be kept in your freezer. There are some exceptions, which we'll get into soon. However, most will need those sub-zero temperatures to stay fresh and bacteria-free.
This could pose a problem when it comes to feeding time. To avoid having to thaw things out, look for preportioned meals or bite-sized morsels.
Many brands offer raw patties that are easy to consume in one sitting. With raw morsels, you could easily add a boost of raw power to your dog's meals without having to worry about thawing.
Related: How to Store Canned Wet Dog Food
Frozen vs. Freeze-Dried
When you're shopping for frozen foods, you're going to come across two options. The first is pure frozen meals. These are exactly what you would expect. They're raw food that's frozen for preservation. You'll need to keep these in your freezer.
Your other choice is freeze-dried food. These foods are slightly processed. Basically, the ingredients are combined then dehydrated using cold temperatures and low pressure.
The cool thing about freeze-dried foods is that they can be kept in your pantry. They offer the same raw benefits, but you can keep them in any dry place instead of having to take up freezer space.
There's a lot to love about frozen dog foods. While commercial kibble has been the go-to for decades, you're not limited to those products anymore. Frozen foods make it easy for you to provide a raw and minimally processed meal for your canine companion.
Try one of these foods out and see what your dog thinks. Chances are, they'll have no problem gobbling the stuff up!