While it is still dwarfed by traditional kibble or wet/canned dog food, Dehydrated dog food is growing in popularity, with a number of niche brands entering the space in recent years.
However, these dehydrated dog food recipes are often poorly understood, with many dog owners struggling to understand what makes a high-quality recipe stand out above poorer quality alternatives.
Combine this with a lack of availability and poor knowledge of dehydrated dog food among pet food stores and other retailers, and it can be exceptionally difficult to select the correct or best dehydrated dog food recipe.
Dehydrated Food vs. Freeze-Dried
Many people misunderstand the difference between Dehydrated Dog Food and Freeze-Dried/Air-Dried Dog Food which is why we want to clarify before we continue.
The obvious difference between freeze-dried and dehydrated dog food is in how these foods are produced and have their moisture removed. Producing freeze-dried involves lowering it to extremely cold temperatures, whereas dehydrated food usually involves some form of cooking.
While the production method is the biggest difference between the two, these two types of food tend to contain very different ingredients.
Dehydrated dog food tends to be a balanced mix of several ingredients, similar to dry dog food recipes. This could include meat ingredients, like Chicken and Beef, vegetable ingredients, like Peas and Potatoes, as well as grain ingredients, like Oats and Barley.
However, freeze-dried/air-dried dog food tends to be a super-premium product that consists of almost entirely meat ingredients.
A perfect example of a super-premium air-dried dog food would be Ziwi Peak’s recipes which are made up of 98% meat ingredients (usually Lamb, but Beef and Chicken are also available).
You can read more about the Ziwi Peak brand, including information on their ingredients, nutrition, and recall history, here.
While the above is the general rule of thumb, many dog food brands mix these terms and muddy the waters.
We’d always recommend checking out the ingredient list of a dog food recipe to understand if it’s just a meat-based product or if it has a range of ingredients present.
We are going to be discussing the best dehydrated dog food on offer in this article, but if you are interested in freeze-dried or air-dried dog food, we’d recommend checking out our article Best Freeze-Dried Dog Food, where we perform an in-depth discussion and analysis.
Best Dehydrated Dog Food
The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Beef Recipe Reviewㅤ
The Honest Kitchen is probably the best-known dehydrated dog food brand and has a range much larger than their competitors, who often produce just a few unique recipes.
This range from The Honest Kitchen includes grain-free dehydrated food, grain-inclusive dehydrated food, and even limited ingredient dehydrated food.
This gives a huge variety of choices for dog owners to choose a recipe that best suits their dog’s needs and tastes, as well as offering different levels of nutrition.
The above Whole Grain Beef Recipe is one of The Honest Kitchen’s grain-inclusive recipes (which means it contains grain ingredients) and is one of our clear favorites.
A large portion of Beef is the recipe’s primary ingredient and provides a moderate proportion of high-quality animal-based protein and fat.
Outside of this Beef content, the recipe uses a mix of grains and Potatoes to provide a portion of carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and fiber.
The grains included in this recipe are Oats and Barley, which are some of the most popular grains in premium dog food recipes.
Lastly, the recipe includes smaller portions of flaxseed, cranberries, and other minor ingredients, which provide some much-needed vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial micronutrients.
If you are interested in a grain-free dehydrated dog food recipe from The Honest Kitchen, we’d recommend giving the below Grain-Free Fish Recipe a look.
The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Fish Recipe Reviewㅤ
Dehydrated fish is far less common than alternatives like Chicken or Beef, which makes this recipe exceptionally unique.
However, this isn’t its only positive factor as it contains an impressive proportion of fish-based protein coming in at a minimum of 32% of the recipe, which is in line with other premium dry dog food recipes.
This very impressive protein proportion is joined by a surprisingly small proportion of fat at just 8.5%. While this may not be ideal for all dogs, this could make this recipe extremely advantageous to dogs who suffer from weight gain or looking to lose weight.
As this is a grain-free recipe, there are no grain ingredients present, and instead, The Honest Kitchen utilizes a mix of Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, and other minor ingredients.
The absence of legumes, like Peas and Lentils, is notable and could make this formula appealing to those concerned about the concerning link between high consumption of legumes and an increased rate of Canine Heart Disease.
If you’d like to learn more about the Honest Kitchen brand, you can find our in-depth review of the brand here.
Sojos Complete Lamb Recipe Reviewㅤ
Sojos may not be as large as brands like The Honest Kitchen, but they are still well-known in the dehydrated dog food industry.
What makes Sojos stand out in comparison to other brands is its use of raw meat ingredients. While many dog owners are afraid of the concept of raw dog food, it is growing in popularity, and there are strict procedures around production and storage to put some at ease.
The Lamb recipe from Sojos is one that stands out to us compared to others that use typical meat ingredients.
Lamb is extremely nutritious and has a distinct rich flavor that many dogs will be certain to enjoy. This Lamb provides the bulk of the recipe’s protein and fat content, most of which is animal-based.
Outside of this Lamb, the recipe utilizes many of the popular plant-based ingredients that are used in grain-free dog food.
Examples of these ingredients include Sweet Potatoes and Peas, but there are also other less common inclusions like Broccoli and Celery.
Regardless, this unusual combination provides the recipe with a moderate proportion of carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and dietary fiber.
To learn more about the Sojos brand, take a read of our Sojos Brand Review Page for information on their background, ingredients, recalls, and more.
Only Natural Pet EasyRaw Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Reviewㅤ
Only Natural Pet is a far less well-known brand of pet food, but their lack of popularity doesn’t change the fact that their recipes are impressive and worth consideration.
The brand has three dehydrated dog food recipes which utilize Turkey, Beef, or Chicken. We’ve chosen to highlight the Chicken recipe thanks to its impressive protein proportion.
The recipe contains a whopping 32% protein which is far above most dog food brands, especially dehydrated recipes. This proportion of protein would be suitable for the majority of dogs, including those that are active.
However, similar to The Honest Kitchen’s fish recipe, the fat proportion is quite low at 8%, which means that this recipe may be a good fit for dogs who are susceptible to weight gain.
If the protein proportion of this recipe was not impressive enough, the recipe includes a large portion of Chicken Liver as a secondary ingredient.
Organ meat ingredients like Chicken Liver are excellent additions to dog food recipes and can provide additional protein and fat, enhance flavor, and boost the levels of beneficial vitamins and minerals that are lacking in traditional meat cuts.
Outside of the Chicken content, Only Natural Pet utilizes plant-based ingredients like Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and Pumpkin.
These plant-based ingredients are reputable additions and can provide a modest proportion of carbohydrates and fiber that is in line with other brands.
I and Love And You Stir & Boom Raw Raw Turk Boom Ba Dinner Reviewㅤ
I And Love And You is a well-known pet food brand for both dog and cat food; however, they are best-known for their wet/canned recipes, which often feature unique and amusing names.
Many fans of the brand are unaware that they have a small selection of dehydrated dog food to offer, including the above Turkey-based recipe.
These dehydrated recipes are similar to Sojos and utilize raw meat ingredients overcooked ones which some dogs find more appealing.
While the recipe may be named as if it contains a large portion of Turkey, the primary ingredient is actually Chicken. Regardless, Chicken is an excellent addition to any pet food recipe and can provide high-quality animal-based protein and fat.
This Chicken is joined by then joined by a smaller portion of Turkey which, when combined, provides a reasonable overall proportion of protein and fat.
This recipe from I And Love And You is the first discussed to heavily utilize Peas as many grain-free dry dog food recipes do.
Pea Flour and Pea Starch are the two Pea-based ingredients found in the recipe, both of which are discussed heavily in our article Peas, Pea Protein, Pea Flour, and Pea Fiber in Dog Food.
Lastly, the recipe includes a smaller portion of Tapioca and Sweet Potatoes, which are both starch ingredients.
Both of these starch ingredients act as a dense source of carbohydrates as well as providing some additional minor nutrition.
Be sure to read our I And Love And You Brand Review for an in-depth look at the brand, including information on its nutritional profile, animal testing, and more.
Addiction Homestyle Venison & Cranberry Dinner Recipe Reviewㅤ
Addiction is a smaller dog food brand that is based in Australia and sees most of its sales in that region.
The brand is best-known among dog owners for its use of exotic or uncommon meat ingredients like Kangaroo and the above-included Venison.
These meat ingredients are often suggested for dogs with severe allergies or sensitivities as they are less likely to have been previously exposed to them. You can read more about this concept in our Best Hypoallergenic Dog Foods Guide.
A large portion of Venison is the recipe’s primary ingredient and provides it with a moderate proportion of animal-based protein and fat.
Venison has a distinct game-like taste that many dogs enjoy and would prefer over more standard meats like Chicken.
Outside of this Venison, the recipe utilizes a mix of Oats and Potatoes as its primary plant-based ingredients. Both of these are dense sources of carbohydrates and can also provide some plant-based protein and fiber.
Lastly, Addiction recipes include smaller portions of some uncommon fruit and vegetable ingredients like Papayas, Spinach, and more. These ingredients provide additional carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, as well as a unique flavor.
If you want to learn more about Addiction, including their Kangaroo-based dog food, be sure to visit our Addiction Brand Review.