By now, I’m sure we have all seen the heavy discussion on social media over the last few weeks around dog treats, how they’re processed and if they’re actually safe for your furry friend to consume.
There are three common processing mechanisms for pet treats; freeze dried, dehydrated and air dried. They’re all dried so what makes them different?
What are freeze dried dog treats?
A treat is first frozen from fresh to solidify any liquid or moisture.
Once completely frozen, Sublimation occurs which is the solid-to-gas transition. The vacuum pressure is lowered to speed up sublimation, At this drying stage around 98% of moisture is removed as it turns from ice to vapour
The treat then goes through a drying process/cycle using pressure to thoroughly remove/evaporate as much moisture from the product possible.
Freeze dried treats hold almost the same amount of nutritional value as the fresh version of them e.g. freeze dried chicken hearts contain almost an equal amount of nutrients as fresh chicken hearts (1).
Dehydrated treats are cooked on a low temperature (typically ranging from 40-70 degrees) for long periods of time. By doing this, dehydrated treats are able to retain as much nutrients as possible during the dehydrating process. A lot of people refer to dehydration as a method of cooking, in a sense it is as it is a process that uses heat but the end product is left with minimal moisture to extend shelf life of a product.
Air dried treats are laid out in a sterile environment where the air is circulated to initiate a drying process. This means that there is absolutely no heat involved, it can also take even longer for treats to dry using this process.
Many companies will make claims of their treat or food being air dried but continue on to discuss their dehydrated range, it is important to note that these are two different methods though have a very similar end result.
So now you have a bit more of an understanding of what the processes are, how do you know which one is best for your pet?
There is no denying that every dog is different and not all dogs will enjoy the same treats as the next. Here at Laila and Me, we are more than happy to assist you with your treat choice, whether it be finding treats appropriate for your dog’s medical condition or just to find out what treats work best for training.
As always, we recommend dog supervision when eating treats and chews to ensure there are no accidents while your dog is enjoying snack time.