Best Air-Dried Dog Food

By Britt Kascjak

With the rise of premium dog foods, dog owners are being introduced to many new options. This includes not only new ingredients but also new processes for making the food.

One example is the growing number of brands offering air-dried dog food.

This process is a great way to create high-quality, safe pet food. It’s both nutrient-dense and full of flavor.

If you’re searching for food that both you and your dog will love, gently air dried dog food is worth learning more about!

Best Air-Dried Dog Food – Our Top Picks

Best Overall for Health, Quality, and Nutrition

We recommend Front of the Pack Chicken Air-Dried Organic Dog Food

Product Details

  • Made with high-quality USDA meat, fruits, and vegetables
  • Created by a leading American veterinarian, biochemist, and animal Nutritionist
  • 90 day ‘no questions asked’ guarantee

Who Should Buy this Dog Food

For dog owners seeking a high-quality food suitable for a variety of health needs, this is a great choice.

With the backing of trusted professionals, you can confidently feed this to any adult dog.

Our Rating

5 stars out of 5

Best Air-Dried Dog Food with Grass-Fed Meats

We recommend Ziwi Peak Mackerel & Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

Product Details

  • Contains high taurine levels to promote heart health
  • Suitable for dogs of all life stages
  • All free-range, grass fed lamb and wild-caught fish without added hormones
  • Includes New Zealand green mussels and lamb heart

Who Should Buy this Dog Food

If feeding an ethically and sustainably sourced option is a high priority for you, this is a great choice. All lamb comes from free range lambs which were grass fed, offering the optimal nutrition content.

This food is made without any added carbs or fillers. It proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to also stick to your morals.

Our Rating

5 stars out of 5

Best Beef Air-Dried Dog Food

We recommend Sundays Everyday Food for Dogs USDA Beef Recipe

Product Details

  • Over 90% fresh meat, organs, and bones
  • Created by a veterinarian with the help of a team of experts
  • Completed balanced nutrition with zero synthetic additives

Who Should Buy this Dog Food

If your dog is craving beef, this food is a great option. It is made in the USA with USDA beef and other high-quality ingredients.

The human-grade ingredients offer many health benefits, such as improved digestion.

Our Rating

5 stars out of 5

Best for Food Sensitive Dogs

We recommend Zeal Canada Gently Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

Product Details

  • Single-protein food is 96% wild raw salmon
  • No fillers, grain, antibiotics, preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors
  • High-protein, low-fat formula makes it highly digestible

Who Should Buy this Dog Food

Created with sensitive stomachs in mind, this food boasts a 95% digestive rate.

It’s a great choice for dogs with food allergies and sensitivities. It’s also worth consideration for dogs with digestive conditions like IBD. 

Our Rating

4 stars out of 5

Best Air-Dried Dog Food for Joint Health

We recommend Ziwi Peak East Cape Grain-Free Air-Dried Dog Food

Product Details

  • Suitable for dogs of all life stages
  • Natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine
  • Features 96% meat, organs, and bone with 5 types of meat and fish

Who Should Buy this Dog Food

This is a great choice for dogs experiencing joint-related injuries or arthritis. Both chondroitin and glucosamine can help to relieve pain and discomfort.

At the same time, the delicious flavors make it easy to convince even picky eaters to dig in.

Our Rating

5 stars out of 5

Best Air-Dried Dog Food for Healthy Skin

We recommend Wellness CORE Bowl Boosters Tender Whitefish & Salmon Recipe Dog Food Mixer or Topper

Product Details

  • Uses only premium, all-natural ingredients
  • No wheat-gluten, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids to improve both skin and coat health

Who Should Buy this Dog Food

While this option is a food topper, not a full diet, it is a great way to add high-quality nutrition to your dog’s meal.

If you are already happy with your dog’s food and looking for an extra nutritional boost, this is a great product.

Our Rating

4 stars out of 5

Buying Guide

What is the Difference Between Air-Dried and Freeze-Dried Dog Food?

Air-drying and freeze-drying are similar processes that are often confused. They have many similarities, but there are some important differences to note.

Both processes work by removing moisture from the food to preserve the food over time.

Processing food by air-drying refers to using hot air to remove the moisture from food. The hot air causes the moisture in the food to evaporate.

Food that has been air-dried often has a slightly shriveled appearance.

Freeze-drying starts by freezing the product at extremely cold temperatures. The food is then placed in a vacuum chamber.

Through a process called sublimation, the moisture is removed from the food. This moisture will convert directly from ice to water vapor.

By avoiding the liquid state and keeping the food frozen, it protects the cell structure. This maintains the original look of the food by preventing it from shriveling up.

Food that has been air-dried will have approximately 5% of its original water content. Food that has been freeze-dried will have around 2%.

Is Air-Dried or Freeze-Dried Dog Food Better?

Both processes are able to maintain the nutritional value of the food. This makes them both a healthy choice for premium dog food.

The biggest difference is how you plan on feeding your dog.

Air-dried foods are nutrient-dense. This means that smaller serving sizes are needed to provide a balanced diet.

These products are scoop and feed, with no other effort needed on your part.

Most freeze-dried dog foods need to first be rehydrated, adding a step to the process. But, they offer a texture that is closer to that of fresh raw food.

Is Air-Dried Dog Food the Same as Dehydrated Dog Food?

Many dog owners use the terms air-dried and dehydrated interchangeably. But, there are subtle differences between the two.

When foods are dehydrated, all the moisture is slowly removed from the food using heated air. Air-drying also uses air, but without the added heat.

The heat used in the dehydration process does cause the loss of some nutritional value.

Both are considered to be great healthy choices used by premium dog food companies. But, air-dried food is more nutritionally dense.

What Dog Foods are Air-Dried?

The air-drying process can be used on most fresh foods. This includes different types of meat or fish, organ meat (such as lamb liver or lamb kidney), bones, vegetables, and fruits.

They don’t need additives like preservatives to keep the food fresh and safe to eat.

In this way, air-dried dog foods are closer to raw diets than they are to commercial kibble. They offer whole foods with all the nutrients of fresh foods.

Air-dried foods are available as both complete, balanced diets and as food toppers.

How is Air-Dried Dog Food Made?

As the name indicates, air-dried food uses an air-based process to remove moisture. More specifically, it uses low-temperature, dry air.

The temperature is important as heat destroys many of the nutrients found in your dog’s food.

In small batches, food is exposed to air that is just warm enough to cause evaporation. This slowly removes the moisture from the food.

This can be done on a conveyer moving through a chamber with circulating air. Some companies will also spray the air directly at the food on a stationary rack.

By removing the moisture, bacteria, mold, and yeast can’t grow. This naturally preserves your dog’s food.

Is Air-Dried Dog Food Better for Dogs with Food Allergies?

If your dog is suffering from food allergies, the search for food can be frustrating.

Common food allergies in dogs include:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Dairy

But, these are all ingredients that are regularly seen in commercial kibble diets. How do you remove the problem?

The first step is to find a limited-ingredient dog food. This is a food formula that offers balanced nutrition. But, the number of ingredients in it is considerably limited.

You may need to experiment with which foods are right for your dog.

For example, if you start by feeding a beef diet and your dog is still reacting, try a different protein. Find the formula that works for you.

Air-dried foods are great for this process as they are free from preservatives. Instead, they contain nothing but the foods your dog needs for a balanced diet.

Most premium air-dried dog foods guarantee that their food is 90% or more meat, organs, seafood, and bone.

This is significantly higher than one would see in commercial kibble. Dry foods often include preservatives, bulking agents, or thickeners.

By removing the additives from your dog’s diet, you can offer more digestible food. This decreases the likelihood of food-related problems.

Air-Dried Dog Food Vs Dry Dog Food and Kibble

Air-dried food offers the same scoop and serve convenience as kibble. But, there are some significant differences to consider when selecting a dog food.

Kibble is made using a process called extrusion.

Many of the ingredients are cooked before shipment. This allows them to ship safely but also reduces the nutritional value.

They are then heated and put under high pressure while combining everything. This reduces the nutritional value of the ingredients even further.

While kibble can still provide a fully balanced meal, your dog will need to eat more.

With the air-drying process, that nutritional value is maintained right from the beginning. This makes a nutritionally dense food and your dog will need to eat less.

Are you interested in feeding raw but unsure if you can fit it into your daily routine? Air-dried food is a great way to enjoy the same benefits with added convenience.

Conclusion: The Best Air-Dried Dog Food for Your Dog

As a dog owner, you want to provide the best nutritional care for your dog. This guide provides you with some great options to consider.

Both formulas mentioned from Ziwi Peak are high-quality foods with great nutritional value.

We recommend seeking out a dog food created by a professional. For example, the Sundays Everday Food for Dogs. This ensures that your dog’s health is the top priority.

If your dog has unique dietary needs, search for a product that can provide the ideal formula.

But, the best dog food listed for the majority of dogs is the Front of the Pack Chicken Air-Dried Organic Dog Food.

The combination of high-quality ingredients will help to support your dog’s health. This fact is backed by a team of respected professionals with years of experience.

The best part? The taste of this air-dried dog food will have your dog begging for more!

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.