freeze dried cat treats

Benefits of freeze-drying cat treats compared to dehydration

With more cat owners becoming aware of the benefits of raw feeding, many are seeking out new ways to incorporate these nutrients into their pet's daily diet. Cat food and treats manufacturers are responding by finding new ways to deliver these benefits in a convenient way.

With advancements in technology various freeze-dried and dehydrated product suppliers have entered the market. What’s the difference between freeze-dried treats and dehydrated treats? In theory, both processes remove moisture from raw foods, but is one better than the other?

freeze dried cat treats

What’s the difference between freeze-drying and dehydration?


Freeze-drying raw food at low temperatures does not damage the physical structure of the ingredient. No heat is applied, so nutrients are retained and the end product is still considered 'raw'. Freeze-dried products are essentially the same as frozen, but the water content has been removed. Therefore, if you want to feed your cat a raw diet, but are limited on freezer space, freeze-dried treats and food could be the solution for you.

Dehydrated products remove water content by circulating hot air around the raw product. The heat used in the dehydration process can damage nutrients and destroy enzymes, providing less nutrition in the finished product. 

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Benefits of freeze-drying compared to dehydration:

The first key difference in freeze-dried versus dehydrated food is the variation in nutrients. While dehydrating foods uses heat, which can reduce important minerals and vitamins, freeze-drying locks all of the nutrients in.

Another important difference is the visual appearance. Dehydrated foods are often  darker and can appear leathery. In comparison, freeze-dried treats look more similar to their natural state, so cats often respond with more enthusiasm.

Freeze-dried treats are easy to store because they don’t need to be refrigerated.

Freeze-drying process:

  1. The temperature of the product is lowered to below freezing
  2. A high-pressure vacuum is applied to extract the water vapour
  3. An increase in temperature removes all leftover moisture from the product

Are all freeze-dried treats the same?

While freeze-drying processes are relatively similar across various producers, differences in the final product could depend on factors such as the meat quality, the combination of ingredients, and storage techniques. At Nutreats, we use premium New Zealand sourced meat and ingredients to create single-ingredient cat treats. The benefit of single-ingredient treats is that you can monitor exactly what your cat is having. Alternatively, if you feed them a nugget with a combination of foods, if they experience a reaction it can be hard to know exactly which ingredient is causing it.

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Which option is better?

It could be argued that freeze-dried treats are superior to dehydrated treats due to the higher level of undamaged nutrients. However, cats who can’t process the enzymes in raw food may be better off with dehydrated treats and food. Therefore, your preference may depend on your cat’s diet requirements.

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