Is Air Dried Dog Food Raw? How Can It Benefit Your Pet?

Besides wet or dry dog food, air-dried meals are a lesser-known option that deliver the best of both worlds.

Many mistake them for raw food due to their intact shape compared to the original ingredients. So is air dried dog food raw? 

This blog post aims to unravel this captivating problem, offering insights into the characteristics of air-dried diets, drawing comparisons with other dietary options, and ultimately unveiling the truth behind its classification as raw.

Is Air Dried Dog Food Raw?

is air dried dog food raw

Air-dried dog food is not typically considered raw.

While it is minimally processed compared to traditional kibble, it undergoes a drying process involving heat exposure, albeit at lower temperatures than conventional cooking methods.

This heat removes moisture from the ingredients, which helps preserve the food and extend its shelf life.

In contrast, raw food diets contain fresh ingredients, often including raw meat, bones, and organs.

Is air dried the same as raw? It’s important to note that the definitions and standards for “raw” in pet food can vary, and some brands may label their air-dried products as “raw” to emphasize the minimal processing and natural ingredients used.

As a pet owner, you’d better carefully read product labels and consult with your veterinarian or a pet nutrition expert to make informed decisions about your pet food based on their specific needs and preferences.

What Are The Benefits Of Air Dried Dog Diet?

Is air dried food good for dogs? Air-dried pet food offers several benefits that can make it an attractive choice for pet owners:

Better Tasting

Many canines find air-dried pet food highly palatable due to the concentrated flavors that develop during air-drying.

The slower, gentle drying method retains the ingredients’ natural flavors, making the food more appealing to picky eaters.

This can be especially beneficial for furry friends who have specific dietary preferences.

Nutrient Retention

What is air dried dog food? Air-drying is a low-heat food preservation method that helps retain more essential nutrients than traditional high-heat cooking methods like baking or extrusion.

A balanced diet can give your pet a more nutrient-dense meal, ensuring they receive crucial vitamins, minerals, protein levels, and other vital nutrients necessary for canine health and well-being.

Improved Digestibility

Is air dried raw food good for dogs? The gentle air-drying process helps preserve the integrity of the ingredients and can make it more suitable for canines with sensitive stomachs or food sensitivities.

In addition, improved digestibility can minimize gastrointestinal issues, making it a good choice for puppies with dietary sensitivities or allergies.


Dog food that has been air-dried has a lengthy shelf life and doesn’t require artificial preservatives.

Since refrigeration or other specific storage conditions are unnecessary, pet owners may easily feed and store their animals’ food.

Hence, it is a convenient alternative for pet owners who wish to buy in bulk or store up without worrying about the food degrading.

High-Quality Ingredients

Many manufacturers of these types of food prioritize using high-quality, whole-food ingredients in their formulations.

This means that you’re more likely to find real meats, fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious components in the food rather than fillers, by-products, or artificial additives.

High-quality ingredients can contribute to your dog’s overall health and well-being by providing essential nutritional content and reducing the intake of unnecessary or low-quality substances.

Dental Health

The texture of air-dried food for dogs can positively impact your pet’s dental health. Its chewy and slightly abrasive nature can help mechanically clean your dog’s teeth as they chew.

This action can assist in clearing up plaque and tartar buildup, which, if left unchecked, can give rise to severe health issues, including gum disease and tooth decay.

Improved Coat and Skin

Many high-quality air-dried diets contain ingredients that promote healthy skin and coats.

These nutritious options often contain important fatty acids, like Omega-3 and Omega-6, which help nourish your dog’s skin and coat, resulting in a shinier, healthier appearance.

Additionally, a well-balanced meal can contribute to a more lustrous coat and lessen issues like dryness, itching, and flakiness.


Utilizing these food options to satisfy your dog’s nutritional requirements and preferences is possible.

It can be given to your canine as a complete meal, as a food topping to mix with raw food or other types to improve the flavor of his usual kibble diet, or even as snacks or training treats.

This adaptability enables dog owners to modify their puppy’s diet following changing needs, making it a practical choice for various feeding circumstances.

How To Select High-Quality Air-Dried Food For Your Dogs?

How To Select High-Quality Air-Dried Food For Your Dogs

Here are some key factors to consider when making your choice of air-dried meal for your furry friends:

Read the Ingredient List

Usually, I start by carefully examining the ingredient list on the dog food packaging.

The ingredients are generally listed in descending order by weight, meaning the first few ingredients are the most abundant in the food.

For example, look for high-quality protein sources like chicken or beef listed at the top, followed by whole-food ingredients such as vegetables and fruits.

Avoid Fillers and Artificial Additives

Ensure that the selected air-dried dog food is free from fillers and artificial additives, including:

  • Artificial Colors: Dog food should not contain artificial colors that serve no nutritional purpose and can pose potential health risks.
  • Artificial Flavors: Avoid foods with artificial flavors, as high-quality ingredients should naturally provide an appealing taste and aroma.
  • Preservatives: Look for natural preservatives like mixed tocopherols – a form of vitamin E rather than chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin.
  • Excessive Additives: Check for an incredibly high number of additives and supplements. While some are necessary for balanced nutrition, an overabundance may indicate a lower-quality product.

Grain-Free vs. Grain-Inclusive

Decide whether you want a grain-free or grain-inclusive formula for your dog.

Grain-free dog food excludes grains like corn, wheat, and rice and relies on alternative carbohydrate sources such as peas, sweet potatoes, or lentils.

These choices work wonders for dogs with food allergies.

Grain-inclusive options contain whole grains like brown rice or oats. I usually go for grain-free ones as my pooch has a quite sensitive stomach.

Protein Quality

Examine the source and quality of the protein used in the dog food. Look for named, high-quality protein sources like “chicken,” “beef,” or “salmon.” 

Ensure that the protein source is one of the first ingredients listed on the packaging, indicating that it is a primary food component.

Generally, I will avoid vague terms like “meat meal” or “animal by-products,” as they can indicate lower protein quality.

Balanced Nutrition

Ensure that the air-dried dog food you select offers your pet a healthy and complete diet.

You should find meals that adhere to the nutritional guidelines established by institutions such as the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

By following these guidelines, you can be confident that your dog is getting the ideal index of proteins, fat content, carbs, vitamins, and minerals to promote their general health and well-being.

Consider Specific Dog Needs

Every dog is unique, with individual requirements based on age, size, activity level, and underlying health conditions.

For instance, some puppies may require specialized diets for weight management, joint health, food sensitivities, or allergies.

Therefore, consult your veterinarian to identify your dog’s dietary needs.

Like when you use supplements for raw food, it’s recommended to introduce some supplements if your dog pursues an air-fried diet to guarantee they receive the right nutrients to thrive.

The Difference Between Kibble & Air-Dried Pet Food

What are the differences between air dried dog food vs kibble? Kibble and air-dried pet food differ primarily in moisture content, processing methods, ingredient quality, and palatability.

Dry food has lower moisture, is processed through extrusion, and varies in ingredient quality.

In comparison, air-dried food retains more water, undergoes gentler air-drying, and often contains high-quality, whole-food ingredients.

Both have long shelf lives, but air-dried food requires slightly more care. Additionally, pets may find air-dried food tastier due to concentrated flavors.

How Is It Different From Dehydrated & Freeze-Dried

How Is It Different From Dehydrated & Freeze-Dried

Air-Dried Dog Food

  • Processing: An air-dried diet is produced by gently removing moisture from the ingredients using a low-temperature drying process. It retains more water than traditional kibble but less than fresh or canned food.
  • Texture: Air-dried food typically has a chewy texture, which can be appealing to dogs.
  • Nutrient Retention: This method preserves nutrients better than traditional cooking methods, making it nutritious.
  • Rehydration: While not always necessary, some pet owners rehydrate air-dried food before serving.

Dehydrated Dog Food

  • Processing: Dehydrated dog food is made by slowly removing moisture through low-temperature drying. It results in food that is lightweight and shelf-stable.
  • Texture: Dehydrated food is typically more brittle than air-dried ones.
  • Nutrient Retention: Dehydrated food retains a high level of healthy nutrients thanks to the gentle drying process.
  • Rehydration: This type of food usually requires adding water before serving, returning it to a more traditional texture.

Freeze-Dried Dog Food

  • Processing: Freeze-dried food preserves ingredients by freezing them and then removing moisture through sublimation.
  • Texture: A freeze-dried diet has a dry and crunchy texture.
  • Nutrient Retention: Like dehydrated and air-dried food, freeze-dried dog food maintains a high level of nutrients.
  • Rehydration: Unlike dehydrated food, freeze-dried food can be fed directly without rehydration.

In summary, while all three types of dog food offer a convenient and nutritious alternative to traditional kibble or canned food, they differ in processing methods, texture, and whether rehydration is necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Air Dried Dog Food Expensive?

Yes, an air-dried option is generally more expensive than traditional kibble due to its premium quality and unique production process.

It offers higher nutrient retention, better ingredient quality, and improved palatability.

The cost can vary based on brand, protein source, ingredient quality, and size of your dog.

While it may have a higher upfront price, many see it as a worthwhile investment in their canine health and well-being.

Ultimately, the choice to feed air-dried dog food should align with your puppy’s specific dietary needs and your budget, with the potential long-term health benefits considered.

Is Air Dried Raw Food Safe For Dogs?

Yes, air-dried raw food for dogs is generally considered safe when prepared and handled correctly, but there are important factors to consider:

  • Quality and Sourcing: Choose a reputable brand that sources high-quality, human-grade ingredients.
  • Storage and Handling: Keep it in a cool, dry place, and seal the packaging to prevent moisture and contamination. Also, wash your hands and any utensils or dishes used to prepare or serve the food.
  • Feeding Guidelines: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure your dog receives a balanced meal. Avoid overfeeding, which can trigger digestive problems.
  • Risk of Bacterial Contamination: Raw meat, including air-dried raw food, can carry harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli.

While dogs are generally less susceptible to these pathogens than humans, there’s still a risk. Be cautious and practice good hygiene when handling dog foods.

  • Thawing and Rehydration: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully if the air-dried food requires rehydration before serving. Use clean, potable water, and serve promptly.
  • Monitor Your Dog: Pay attention to your dog’s health, including their stool quality, coat condition, and overall well-being, when transitioning to any raw diet.

Any signs of adverse reactions should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Is Air Dried Or Cooked Dog Food Better?

You can choose between prepared and air-dried dog food depending on your preferences and your dog’s particular requirements.

Dog food that has been air-dried retains nutrients and tastes well, but it might be expensive.

No matter how it is made, cooked dog food is safer and more adaptable. It enables customization and might be more cost-effective.

However, nutritional loss through cooking and inconsistent ingredient quality might occur.


Is air dried dog food raw? Air-dried food differs from natural dog food since it requires processing and preservation methods.

While both types of complete meals offer benefits, pet owners must understand the differences and make informed choices based on their dog’s needs and preferences.

Ultimately, consider your dog’s health, dietary requirements, and any individual sensitivities or allergies.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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