It’s hard to know what to feed your dog when you’re faced with so many choices today. The supermarket shelves are overrun with options, each declaring that they’re the finest nutritional choice for your best friend.
So where do you start? You’ll find that the main difference between dog foods is how they are made, or in other words, processed. The processing of food was originally designed for the preservation of food so that communities could maintain their food supply throughout the year, and especially through periods of no food supply. These days we process our foods to any even greater extent, often adding salt, sugar and fat to boost the flavor lost in processing. Not only can an excess of these additives be harmful to both you and your pet’s health but unfortunately any processing of food greatly affects its nutritional density.
Dog food is usually processed in one of four main ways: dry, wet (canned), dehydrated, and freeze-dried. Chef’s Best Dog Food is an example of freeze-dried dog food.
Let’s take a brief look at each of them:
- Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food, or kibble, is essentially dried out food pellets. The process of making kibble involves the use of high heat and high pressure (called extrusion) which turns out food with little to no nutritional value as many of the essential vitamins and minerals are destroyed in the extrusion process. Extrusion can also produce something called a “Maillard reaction” which results in the potentially cancer-causing chemical acrylamide.
- Wet Dog Food (Canned)
The processing of canned dog food involves several stages: firstly, large batches of meat are ground into small pieces. Then the meat is mixed with vitamins and minerals (and sometimes grains) to thicken and add nutritional value. Next, these raw ingredients are blended with heat so that the proteins gelatinize, further improving flavor and texture. Finally, the mixture is transferred into cans which are vacuum-sealed and heated to 121°C to kill any potentially dangerous bacteria. One again, such high heat processes will always break down vitamins and minerals.
- Dehydrated Dog Food
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) dehydrated dog food has “been freed of moisture by thermal means.”  This means that high heat is needed to wick away moisture and transform the food into a dry product. Dehydration is by no means as bad as the extrusion process, however the nutritional value of the food is still affected by the heat of the dehydration process.
- Freeze-dried Dog Food
Freeze-dried dog food often gets confused with dehydrated food, but there is one very important difference. Freeze-drying does not require intense heat to dry the food. It removes moisture by first flash-freezing the food, and then removing the now “solid moisture” by turning it into a gas using a very mildly-heated vacuum chamber. The key is that the moisture is removed by evaporation, it is not heated out.
To put that into perspective, freeze drying requires a mild heat of around 95F in order to evaporate moisture. Official raw food guidelines state that a food is still considered raw if it is not heated above 118F.  So freeze-dried dog food like Chef’s Best Dog Food is therefore still considered a “raw food” by human standards.
The freeze-drying process takes longer than dehydration but it’s worth the wait when it doesn’t change the structural composition of the ingredients. Freeze-dried food retains all of its flavors and textures, and most importantly the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are not destroyed.
Chef’s Best Dog Food
When you look at the types of fresh ingredients that Chef Best add to their dog food, you’ll understand why they don’t want to destroy the nutritional profile: turkey, beef liver, chicken hearts, duck ground with bone, flax, carrots, pea flour, eggs, sweet potato, blueberries, chicory root and more.
Chef’s Best makes some of the most nutritional dog food available, short of physically making your pup a meal from scratch. Chef’s Best is ideal for those who really want to feed their dogs a raw diet but just don’t have the time or money.
The most convenient factor with freeze-dried foods like Chef’s Best is that it can be very quickly rehydrated back into it’s original raw state by simply adding water. It retains all of the nutritional value that it had before it was freeze-dried, with the same texture, flavor, and color.
Chef’s Best also comes in small, lightweight bags, without the water weight of other dog foods so you can easily carry them with you wherever you go, whether that be travelling with your pup or just trying to juggle groceries home from the supermarket.
It’s easy to feel guilty about your own eating habits when you’re leading a busy lifestyle but with Chef’s Best you can feel comforted that you’re at least not sacrificing your dog’s health.