How is freeze-dried pet food made? and What is freeze-dried pet food

With the changes of modern lifestyles, the concept of pet ownership is constantly evolving. The application of freeze dryer technology has brought revolutionary changes to the pet food industry. Freeze-dried pet food, as the product of this technological innovation, will be pure natural livestock liver meat, fish and shrimp, fruits and vegetables and other raw materials through vacuum freeze-drying process, without any preservatives and colors, to provide pets with a safe, nutritious and comprehensive feeding choice. This highly nutritious pet food meets the needs of pet health while retaining the original quality of the ingredients, highlighting the important role of freeze dryers in modern pet food processing.

What is freeze-dried pet food

Freeze-dried pet food generally uses pure natural livestock and poultry liver meat, fish and shrimp, fruits and vegetables as raw materials, without adding any preservatives and colors, and adopts vacuum freeze-drying process to completely kill microorganisms and bacteria that may exist in raw materials, which is very safe for children. At present, in addition to homemade pet food, freeze-dried pet food is the freshest, least processed and healthy pet food that can ensure full nutritional balance.

Advantages of freeze-dried pet food


Vacuum freeze-drying process is a drying process carried out under extremely low temperature and high vacuum degree. During processing, the ingredients are basically in an oxygen-free and completely dark environment. The thermal denaturation is small, which effectively maintains the color, aroma, taste and shape of fresh ingredients. And maximize the preservation of various vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and other nutrients in the ingredients and chlorophyll, biological enzymes, amino acids and other nutrients and flavor substances,

Strong palatability

Because in the freeze-drying process, the water in the food is precipitated in the original position, which avoids the general drying method, due to the internal water flow and migration of the food to its surface and the nutrients are carried to the surface of the food, resulting in nutrient loss and surface hardening of the food. The dehydrated meat tastes more delicious than the original, improving palatability.

High rehydration

In the freeze-drying process, the solid ice crystals sublimate into water vapor, leaving pores in the ingredients, so the vacuum freeze-dried pet food has a dry spongiform porous structure, and therefore has ideal instant solubility and rapid and nearly complete rehydration. As long as the right amount of water is added when eating, it can be restored to almost fresh delicious in a few seconds to a few minutes. This perfectly solves the problem of low water content of pet dry food and increases the water intake of pets.

Ultra-long preservation

Freeze-dried pet food is thoroughly dehydrated and lightweight, so it is very convenient to use or carry, and most freeze-dried pet food is packed in vacuum or nitrogen-filled packaging and stored away from light. The shelf life of this sealed package at room temperature can be up to 3 to 5 years, or even longer

What is the difference between freeze-dried pet food and dehydrated pet food?

Freeze-dried food actually uses the process of rapid freezing and vacuum sublimation, while dehydrated food (such as vegetables in instant noodles condiment packages are typical dehydrated food) often uses the process of promoting the evaporation of water in food under artificially controlled conditions. Including natural drying (sun drying, air drying, shade drying) and artificial drying (oven, drying room, mechanical drying, other drying) and other methods.

Freeze-dried food often preserves most of the color, aroma, taste and nutritional composition of the food, and there is no major change in appearance, strong rehydration, it can also be preserved for a long time without preservatives, and it can greatly retain some vitamins and minerals, but compared with fresh fruit, it often lacks some vitamins, such as vitamin C.

The dehydrated food often color, aroma, taste and nutritional composition will change, and the rehydration is very poor, dehydrated food in the preservation process, it is often easier to decompose the vitamins and minerals, so its nutritional value is not as good as freeze-dried food.

 Freeze-dried pet food making process

(1) Selection of raw materials

Raw material selection, choose fresh chicken, duck, beef, lamb, fish and so on.

(2) Pre-treatment

The purchase of good raw materials before freeze-drying treatment, different materials have different pretreatment processes, generally cut the material into the required shape, and then cleaning, blanching, sterilization, etc., the purpose is to remove debris to sublimate and dry, to prevent excessive fat caused by oxidation deterioration and the chemical deterioration caused by the existence of autolyase activity in meat. After processing, the materials are placed in trays and ready for the next step.

(3), low temperature pre-freezing

The free water in the meat ingredients is solidified, so that the finished product has the same shape after drying and before drying, preventing irreversible changes such as foaming, concentration, shrinkage and solute movement during vacuum drying, and reducing the reduction of substance solubility and changes in life characteristics caused by temperature drop.

After the pre-treatment is completed, the raw materials will be frozen in the rapid freezing warehouse with negative tens of degrees. The pre-freezing will be carried out according to the pre-freezing rate of the material, the minimum temperature of the pre-freezing, and the pre-freezing time. The general material can start to vacuum sublimation 1-2 hours after the temperature reaches the minimum temperature of the pre-freezing.

(4), freeze-dried

Lyophilization is generally divided into two steps and stages: sublimation drying and desorption drying. Sublimation drying is also known as the first stage of drying, the frozen product is heated in a closed vacuum container, when all the ice crystals are removed, the first stage of drying is completed, at this time about 90% of all the water is removed. Drying starts from the outer surface and gradually moves inward, and the gap left after the sublimation of the ice crystal becomes the escape channel of the sublimated water vapor.

Desorption drying is also known as the second stage drying, once the ice in the product is sublimed, the drying of the product enters the second stage. After the first stage of drying, there is also a part of water adsorbed on the capillary wall and polar groups of the dry material, which is not frozen. When they reach a certain amount, they provide conditions for the growth and reproduction of microorganisms and certain reactions. In order to achieve the qualified residual moisture content of the product, improve the storage stability of the product, and extend the storage period, the product must be further dried. After the second stage of drying, the residual moisture content in the product depends on the product type and requirements. It is generally between 0.45% and 4%.

(5) Finished product packaging

Keep freeze-dried pet food in sealed packages to avoid rewetting.

 Suitable for different pet needs

Cats: Freeze-dried cat food is usually formulated for your cat’s nutritional needs and is high in protein, vitamins and minerals to help maintain a healthy coat and digestive system. Also, for cats who like to eat meat, some freeze-dried cat food may offer a variety of meat flavors.

For dogs: Freeze-dried dog food may be formulated with a greater focus on protein, vitamin and fat content to support your dog’s vitality and health. There may be different types of food for dogs of different sizes, ages, and activity levels, including products for special dietary needs, such as dogs with specific food allergies, which may have special formulations.

Other pets: In addition to cats and dogs, other pets, such as rabbits, hamsters, etc., may also have special freeze-dried foods. These foods often contain special nutrients that these animals need, for example, for rabbits there may be an emphasis on high fiber content, and for hamsters there may be a greater focus on the ratio of protein to carbohydrates.

The advent of freeze-dried pet food has completely changed the way pets are raised, and its vacuum freeze-drying process allows pet food to maintain the color, aroma, taste and nutritional content of most of the original ingredients. At the same time, compared with traditional dehydrated pet food, freeze-dried pet food is superior in taste, shelf life and nutritional value. Customized food for different pet needs provides more comprehensive and balanced nutrition for pets. Therefore, freeze-dried pet food is not only suitable for common pets such as cats and dogs, but also can meet the different nutritional needs of other pets such as rabbits and hamsters. The advent of this new pet food will undoubtedly lead the innovation and development of pet raising concepts.

If you are interested in freeze-drying technology or in making freeze-dried pet food, or would like to learn more about our products, please feel free to contact us. We specialize in the production of all kinds of freeze-dryer equipment, including Home use freeze dryer, Laboratory type freeze dryer, pilot freeze dryer and production freeze dryer. Although we do not provide pet food, our professional team can provide you with advice and customized solutions on freeze-drying technology. If you have any questions or needs, please feel free to call or email us and we will be happy to serve you.

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