Air-Dried Dog Food: What Is It and What Makes It Better?

by Sundays

What is air dried dog food and why is it better than conventional kibble or canned dog food? Plus, we look at how it compares to other fresh and premium dog foods.

Ensuring that your furry best friend is eating a healthy diet involves more than opting for a more expensive dog food brand. 

It means understanding the many pet food options, and why some may be better suited for your dog.

Premium air dried dog food not only offers minimally processed ingredients, but contains more than 70 percent protein than most pet foods which is then mixed with veggies, antioxidants, and fruits. 

The air-drying process also kills dangerous pathogenic bacteria, making the food a safer option for both people and pets.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), in 2019, $95.7 billion was spent on our pets in the U.S with $36.9 billion spent on pet food and treats. 

For 2020, it estimated that $99.0 billion will be spent on our pets in the U.S, with $38.4 billion estimated to be spent on pet food and treats. 

With pet parents being more in tune with what their dogs need nutritionally, it only makes sense to understand what’s really in your dog’s food today.

What Is Air-Dried Dog Food?

You’re probably wondering what air-dried means. Is it different from freeze-dried or dehydrated dog food?

You can think of air-dried dog food as the middle ground between dehydrated and freeze-dried. Air-dried dog food means that all the moisture is removed from the ingredients through evaporation via the air-drying process but enough moisture remains in the product to make it palatable and not requiring rehydration.

With all the ongoing pet food recalls, we’ve had to take a close look at how dog foods are made, and the ingredients used. 

In fact, today many of us have switched to high- quality premium dog foods for our furry best friends like air-dried. In addition, air-dried dog food formulas provide dogs with high-quality protein-focused nutrition, without fillers.

Unlike conventional dog foods that are cooked at high-temperatures, the air-dried dog food process entails dehydrating all the ingredients in small batches, all the while preserving nutrients and flavor, and destroying germs. 

What's the Best Air-Dried Food for Dogs?

The Sunday’s Air-Dried veterinary-formulated recipe is a great alternative to regular kibble because it focuses on clean nutrition and quality ingredients. 

Digestive aids like pumpkin and ginger make this lightly dried food even easier to digest together with gently air-dried fruits and vegetables that are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. 

Packed with omega-3 fatty acids for heart and brain health, the fresh, air-dried meat proteins provide muscle maintenance, and fiber for digestion.

With no unnatural preservatives, coloring, or added sugars and no anti-nutrients, there’s no more guesswork! You know you’re feeding an awesome air-dried dog food when feeding Sundays air-dried food for dogs!

Dr. Jennifer Freeman, DVM, resident veterinarian and pet care expert at PetSmart explains via NBC News that “Premium dog food will include meat for protein, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruit, and omega fatty acids for a shiny coat, and that it’s also likely to have fewer fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy.”

Freeman also says that a premium dog food will lead to better absorption and digestion, producing dog poop that’s smaller and firmer. 

So it’s no surprise that opting for high-quality pet food like air dried pet food with quality ingredients may allow for our dogs to live a longer and healthier life, possibly free of certain cancers and diabetes.

After a gentle air-drying process, Sundays is finished off with antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and probiotics to optimize nutritional health benefits.

 By feeding your furry best friend a natural and well-balanced air-dried recipe like those found in Sundays Food for Dogs, you’ll get a dog with a soft, shiny coat, clear, bright eyes, healthy teeth and gums, with a high energy level, good focus, and optimal immunity.

By locking in the goodness of raw ingredients via air-drying, without the risk that raw diets can pose or the added preservatives, you’re feeding pure nutrition that is free of fillers, and the less than stellar ingredients often found in commercial kibble.

Canned Dog Food Recalls 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 2017, one dog died and others became ill after eating canned food contaminated with pentobarbital. So, extruded kibble isn't the kind of dog food to avoid. 

In 2019, AVMA added that “Hill's Pet Nutrition had expanded the scope of its recall of a variety of canned dog foods as the Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate the presence of potentially excessive amounts of vitamin D in some products.”  

The AVMA explains that “Although vitamin D is an essential nutrient for dogs, ingestion of an excess amount can lead to potential health issues depending on the amount ingested, and the duration of exposure. 

Dogs may develop signs such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. 

Dogs that consume very large amounts of vitamin D can develop serious health issues, including renal dysfunction, according to Hill's. In most cases, complete recovery is expected after ingestion of excess vitamin D is discontinued.”

Dog Food Labeling 

In 2015, there was an article published by the AVMA discussing pet food ingredients. The AVMA explained that “About 40 percent of dog and cat foods tested in a recent study may have contained meats different from those listed on the product labels.” 

They add that undeclared ingredients can be allergy concerns, but that absence of a listed ingredient is a problem as well.

Reading the ingredient list on a dog food bag can provide a great deal of insight into a dog food.

Yet, that still does not give you the entire nutritional picture. 

When you’re aiming to give your dog the best dog food, there are certain factors that you’ll need to take into consideration like life stage, health issues, breed, allergies, activity level, and so forth, with each and every dog being different.

With air-drying, you’re keeping all the goodness inside each ingredient, maintaining optimal nutritional value from proteins, vitamins, and all other nutrients in the over 90% raw, real meat.
When this is done, you’re feeding your furry best friend a high-quality meal each time you feed him. 

Always make sure to provide your pooch with plenty of water 24/7. Typically, air-dried dog food does not spoil, is easy-to- feed, and does not need to be refrigerated or frozen. 

And with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping us at home more, having air-dried dog food delivered to your home is an extra benefit. 

There is a longer shelf life with gently air-dried dog food, so it’s not an exaggeration to say that the air-drying process keeps all the ingredients fresh. 

With no additives, no anti-nutrients like gluten, soy, legumes, rice, potatoes or corn, Sundays Food for Dogs beef recipe also contains no chicken or dairy which are common allergens. 

With no refrigeration or prep time needed, Sundays Food for Dogs contains no synthetic or artificial ingredients. 

That said, let’s compare commercial kibble to air-dried dog food.

Advantages of Air-Dried Dog Food 

Minimizes the damage to nutrients including proteins, vitamins and minerals naturally occurring in raw ingredients 

  • Preserves nutritional value
  • Enhances digestibility
  • Shelf stable, and safe
  • Healthy ingredients
  • Fresh meat
  • Vegetables and fruit
  • No controversial ingredients
  • No added hormones or steroids
  • No unnamed meat sources
  • Correct ratio of macronutrients
  • By-products in the form of organ meats
  • Not overly processed like kibble but air-dried
  • You can add air-dried as a meal topper to kibble
  • Free-range and pasture raised meat options
  • Preparation time is significantly faster
  • Easier-to-digest

Disadvantages of Regular Kibble or Canned Food 

Animal Wellness quotes veterinarian Dr. Richard Pitcairn:, “Commercial pet foods don’t contain some things we wish they did: adequate quantities and qualities of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, as well as the more intangible qualities unique to live, fresh foods,” 

 “Secondly, they contain other things we wish they didn’t: slaughterhouse wastes, toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs, non-nutritive fillers, heavy metal contaminants, sugar, pesticides and herbicides, drug residues, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives and bacteria and fungi contaminants. 

All processed pet foods…are missing something that seems to me to be the most important ‘nutrient’ of all. This key ingredient is practically ignored by nutritional scientists, but we can sense when it’s there.

 It is a quality found only in freshly grown, uncooked whole foods: life energy!” 

Andi Brown, director of Halo and author of The Whole Pet Diet goes on to explain that “Artificial ingredients are often highly antagonistic and can actually contribute to an animal’s mental and emotional imbalance “Some additives can be so detrimental that they can actually have the same effect on an animal as hallucinogenic drugs have on people.

 According to Best Friends Animal Society, the most common reason animals are put down by vets or turned into shelters is because of unruly behavior.” 

Andi recommends adding minerals and vitamins, especially the full complex of B vitamins, to a dog’s food to help with behavior problems. 

That means that we need to learn about the nutrients that dogs are getting from their dog food. Here are some essential pointers to make it easier for you to compare.

  • May be pricier
  • Meat by-products that may not be clean or refrigerated
  • May contain wheat gluten
  • May have unnamed animal /protein sources
  • May have sweeteners or sugars
  • Contains preservatives, flavors, artificial colors, hormones
  • Fat content may be high
  • Water may be first ingredient, with the second being wheat gluten (cheaper brands)
  • Vegetables may come in as the 8th or 9th ingredient, which means that there’s hardly any vegetables in the formula
  • Need to check ingredient labels repeatedly, most often when switching brands to make sure that you’re not falling for the pretty packaging
  • Possible dog food recalls
  • May contain phenobarbital
  • May contain excessive vitamin D

Is Air-Dried Better Than Freeze-Dried? 

Freeze- dried is an unpleasant consistency that needs to be rehydrated. Most freeze dried recipes contain added minerals and vitamins. Overall, the air-drying process results in a much more user-friendly and appetizing form factor as compared to freeze-drying.

In order to air-dry food, the raw ingredients are mixed together then slowly heated to 140º F to 180º F. This process is similar to dehydration. So, in actual fact, your furry best friend is receiving all the benefits of a raw food diet without the hassles and risk of feeding one.

When moisture is removed via the evaporation process, bacteria, yeast, and mold are inhibited and destroyed. Air-dried pet food does not break into bits or crumble up in the same way that freeze-dried does, thus reducing messes. 

Another advantage to feeding an air-dried food is that apart from it being an easy and convenient way to feed, you’re also providing optimal nutritional benefits to promote longevity, good health, and graceful aging during your pet’s senior years. 

Keep in mind though that as your dog ages, it takes him longer to digest his food. By choosing the best dog food for your dog’s breed, lifestage, health issues, etc. you can do your part in helping him. 

Many of the ingredients of commercial kibble are sourced outside of the USA. 

A large proportion of vitamins and minerals are made in China. With so many pet food recalls today, knowing where every ingredient in your dog’s food comes from is important. 

China was the source of a large recall in 2007 due to deadly levels of melamine in food. More recently, jerky treats from China have been associated with a certain type of kidney failure. Therefore, it is best to avoid products containing ingredients made in China.

Wheat gluten is used to boost protein levels in cheap, commercial dog food, and is also used as a filler in cheap commercial dog food. It is made by washing wheat flour dough in water, until only the gluten is left behind. This is then used as a cheap source of protein in commercial pet foods.

Although numerous high-quality dog food brands use human-grade ingredients, including veggies, fruits and oils that are rich in fatty acids and beneficial for brain health, many cheap commercial dog food brands may instead use the following: 
  • Meat meals
  • By-product meals
  • China sourced ingredients
  • Rendered material
  • Deceptive marketing strategies

Today, one in two dogs is dying of cancer, with obesity also becoming an endemic among dogs.
It’s important to look out for low-grade pet food ingredients, and to avoid feeding these to your furry best friend. 

Look out for foods that contain corn, soy, sugar, preservatives, artificial flavors and coloring- all sources that may contribute to both cancer and obesity today. 

Additionally, by feeding your furry best friends an air- dried pet food, and taking control of what you feed your dog each and every day throughout his lifetime, you’ll be ensuring optimal health and wellness. 

Supporting and maintaining your dog’s health by feeding a high-quality air dried dog food may help to reduce inflammation, aid in better digestion and absorption, maintain strong bones, reduce stress effects, and even help with focus for positive puppy training.

 With every dog having unique nutritional needs, always consult with your veterinarian for the best advice, most especially if your furry best friend has a health issue.



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