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The Truth About Frozen and Freeze-Dried Raw Pet Foods

The Truth About Frozen and Freeze-Dried Raw Pet Foods

As 30-year veterans of the natural pet nutrition business, we have seen lots of trends and fads come and go. All of this can be very confusing for pet parents, so it’s our job as experts to help you sort it out. It’s important to emphasize that CCP has never made or sold dog food, only SuperGravy Topper/supplements, treats, and chews. Yes, we have our own views based on decades of experience; but at least you know we’re not expressing an opinion simply to persuade you to buy dog food from us or anyone else.

Freeze-Dried or Frozen “Raw” pet foods have become one of the fastest growing segments of the healthy pet food category. And there is a good reason for this. These products typically offer a substantial upgrade in nutritional quality and benefits over plain kibble. Raw feeding has become a bit of a “holy grail” for some who believe it is the only legitimate way to feed dogs a healthy diet to achieve their best possible health, well-being, and longevity. But as with any trend or “movement,” not all agree with this. Some think it’s just a lot of hype, trying to get people to spend double or more to feed their dogs than they would if they fed a good quality dry food.

But despite this, we are big fans of raw and freeze-dried pet foods. These products may offer substantial upgrades when compared to kibble. But we also have made it our mission to help ALL dog parents, not just those who can afford raw and freeze-dried foods, especially as inflation drives these products to even higher prices that are not affordable for many families. That’s why we invented SuperGravy to make any pet food healthier by infusing it with deep hydration, adding superfood nutrients, and restoring the active Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Digestive Enzymes destroyed by cooking. The result is more digestible and healthier meals that are also aromatic and delicious.

But what very few people know is that even with today’s most expensive high-end Freeze-Dried and Frozen Raw Dog Foods, you’re not truly getting the raw diet as it was intended when this movement started a few decades ago. The reason is that, based on the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (commonly known as the FSMA), these days virtually all frozen raw and freeze-dried pet food must undergo a “kill step” somewhere in the processing. This is required to eliminate all pathogens such as E. Coli, Listeria, Salmonella, and other living microbials that can cause illness and death. We know that raw feeding advocates rightfully cite research that these pathogens have very little impact on most healthy dogs, but we’re not here to debate that point. The fact is that the USDA disagrees and forces manufacturers to follow these rules. If they don’t, they can be shut down immediately, with no due process.

This hugely important fact hardly ever gets discussed, because manufacturers and retailers have a vested interest in selling these very expensive and thus highly profitable foods. If the signs said “sort of raw,” it wouldn’t quite be the same! But the truth is that virtually every commercially available Frozen or Freeze-Dried “Raw” pet food these days is processed with High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP), which is a process that uses millions of pounds of pressure to “smash” the molecules in food so that pathogens are killed. Since it’s not direct heat “cooking” the food, manufacturers still have the loophole to call it raw. But it's not truly raw since this process kills beneficial probiotics, destroys active enzymes, and alters the molecular structure of food. In other words, HPP takes away most of the benefits that made raw pet food a trend in the first place. The other alternative to HPP is irradiation, a process that most Americans do not believe is appropriate as part of a “natural” pet diet. Yet nobody out there selling "raw dog food" wants to discuss the fact that they are being essentially forced by the USDA to either do High Pressure Pasteurization or Irradiation to keep selling these foods.

Don’t get us wrong, we are NOT anti-raw, even a little! Even HPP-treated raw can be a big step above kibble because it’s very low in carbs and high in digestible protein. And of course, home-made raw is TRULY a raw diet. But one must do lots of homework before making a raw diet at home. Study your sources carefully before feeding raw meat to dogs, as some meats are not suitable.

If you use freeze-dried or frozen raw, we strongly suggest that you add SuperGravy as a cold-processed probiotic and enzyme supplement to re-energize these foods. This simple step can help to restore the crucial living probiotics and active enzymes that HPP and Freeze-Drying take away. SuperGravy is not just “gravy for dogs,” it is a serious LIVING supplement.

We know that you love your dogs, and that’s why you are already investing in buying these top-of-the-line foods. The extra 60 cents a day or so for SuperGravy is a very reasonable added “nutrition insurance policy,” and it’s not like giving your dog a boring capsule or pill as a supplement! SuperGravy brings the JOY of wonderful taste and exciting smells to any pet diet while bringing it “back to life.” 

Raw frozen or freeze-dried pet foods offer a great upgrade from dry kibble, but now you know “the rest of the story.” At CCP, we don’t believe in allowing misleading information to go unchallenged.  Clear Conscience Pet has been built on a foundation of transparency and honest education, and you can always count on us to tell you the straight facts, wherever the chips may fall.

© 2022 by Anthony Bennie