Should You Be Feeding Your Dog Air-Dried Or Fresh Dog Food? Get 40% Off Our Preferred Brand Right Now!

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Most Mondays, I meet my friend Kelly at a local dog rescue to walk some pups after work. We’re both big dog lovers and inevitably end up yapping about our family pets as we stroll around the neighborhood with our furry-friend-of-the-week. It’s a rewarding activity – and it’s also super educational. Most recently, she told me about her dog’s new food that’s all her family can talk about. It’s air-dried, uber convenient, and Roxy loves it. 

I was honestly surprised to hear about air-dried dog food. I thought my family was super ‘with it’ in the dog food department. Our pups receive hefty (extremely heavy) boxes of fresh dog food from a trendy brand each week that we store in the freezer, then fridge before thawing and serving. When Kelly mentioned her air-dried food is also delivered to her doorstep – but requires no prep, no fridge or freezer space, and no cleanup – I decided to do some digging. Should we make the switch from fresh dog food to air-dried dog food? 

Raw ingredients are slowly dried to preserve their nutritional value
Credit: Sundays For Dogs

In Terms Of Nutrition…

My first order of business was figuring out what exactly air-dried dog food is. While I’m used to fresh dog food – and feel good feeding it to my pups because it’s human grade food that’s cooked and frozen – I was intrigued to discover that air-dried dog food has many of the same benefits…and more. 

Air drying is a technique that removes moisture at very low temperatures. Air-dried food is technically considered ‘raw,’ which means it actually retains more of its naturally-present nutritional value than cooked foods. The heating of fresh dog food as it cooks causes some of the ingredients to lose their nutritional benefits – so for cooked food to be considered, ‘complete,’ synthetic additives are added in. And these aren’t always easily digested by dogs.  

A meat-based air-dried dog food has the same health benefits as raw dog food, which is what dogs would naturally eat. It’s just more lightweight and shelf stable – and looks like a jerky versus raw meat. 

Looks like jerky!

What About Convenience? 

Here’s where I instantly knew air-dried food had fresh food beat. Dealing with a giant box of fresh dog food is one of my least favorite dog mom duties. While it’s not hard per se, it is another to do – and it honestly grosses me out to even think about. 

Fresh dog food brands send you several packets that you can divide between your freezer and fridge depending on how much your dog goes through. You’ll find yourself having to remember to move packets from the freezer to the fridge so everything is thawed and ready for meal time – if you forget to remove your food from the freezer on time (it happens, trust me), you can’t feed your dog right away, which can be stressful. Depending on your dog’s size, they’ll either finish the complete packet, or you’ll have to save the rest of the packet in your fridge. If you’re lucky, you have one of those classic white fridges from the ‘90s in your garage to store your dog’s food. If not, it unfortunately takes up a spot next to the food you eat. 

Air-dried dog food, on the other hand, is way more convenient…and way less messy. You can store it wherever you’d like – because it’s shelf stable and super light, it can sit atop your fridge, on the floor of your garage etc. And, you don’t have to interact with it much: at meal time, simply pour it into your dog’s bowl like a traditional kibble. With air-dried dog food, you can spend less time prepping your dog’s food and more time…actually hanging out with your dog.

Comparing Costs

The cost of each type of food really changes dog to dog. Based on my research, though, I could actually save quite a bit of money each month by switching to air-dried food.

It currently costs me over $200/month to feed each of my pups (who both hover around 50 pounds, give or take). Based on my research, I can expect to pay ~$180/month to feed each dog. In total, it looks like I could save ~$50/month by making the switch. There are plenty of cost calculators based on your dog’s breed, gender, activity level, etc. and many deals online if you sign up for a subscription service. Basically, what I’ve gathered is that if you can afford to make the switch, air-dried food is an extremely nutritious and delicious option for dogs and an overwhelmingly convenient option for dog parents. 

TQE’s air-dried dog food of choice
Credit: Sundays For Dogs

Is It Worth The Switch?

When this dog food conversation hit TQE’s Slack channel (of course it did…this is right up our alley!), two different colleagues pointed me towards Sundays For Dogs. They’re both obsessed with it (you know how dog parents can be) and advocate wholeheartedly for air-dried food.

One colleague gave me the full rundown – she was hesitant to try it given the cost, but ultimately opted for a month trial. Spoiler alert: she never looked back. She also explained that this stuff is the real deal: It’s made by a vet and an engineer who seriously know their stuff. Her dogs absolutely adore it, it frees up a lot of her brain space, and guests constantly ask about it (take a look at the packaging and you’ll soon understand why). If you can afford to make the switch, she recommends it – especially if you have kids, work a busy job, or are on the move a lot. 

She’s convinced me (it feels like a no brainer)…and at this point, I imagine you as well. And fair enough – your dog deserves the best just like you do!