Freeze Drying Food and Snacks for Your Pets

a small dog eating food out of a green bowlIf you’ve got pets, having a home freeze dryer can help keep them well-fed and healthy, and can save you money. Recently we wrote about how to use your freeze dryer to make your own pet food, and so many of you responded that we thought we’d share more tips for using a freeze dryer for pet food and snacks.

Saving Prescription Food

Pets come down with many of the same food-related illnesses that people do. Sometimes cats and dogs can become diabetic, have food allergies, or need soft or bland diets. Canned prescription or specialty foods that treat these conditions are expensive – some can cost nearly $1.00 per ounce. They also tend to come in one size – so whether you’ve got a chihuahua or a Great Dane, you’ve only got one option. By freeze drying the canned food first, you can portion it out according to your pet’s size and weight without wasting leftovers. This is especially helpful for pets who are recovering their appetites. You can mix up a little at a time – as little as a tablespoon if necessary – and increase the portion as they begin to feel better. Powdering wet food is also handy if your pet needs a liquid or soft diet after dental surgery.

Pleasing Finicky Felines

Cats especially are notoriously picky, so many feline owners find themselves with several open cans of different flavors of cat food in the fridge. Cat food doesn’t last long once open, so it’s easy to put a lot of money down the garbage disposal just trying to find a flavor your kitty will eat.

If you find yourself in this situation, freeze dry a variety of flavors and brands. Once it’s processed, crush each cat food “cake” and save in separate airtight containers. Be sure to label each one so you can keep track of what your cat likes and what she turns down. Snack-size baggies or baby food jars come in handy, as do small plastic containers meant for transporting salad dressing. You can easily rehydrate a small amount at a time and avoid food waste or let your cat eat it as a dry snack and finish it off with water.

Nose-to-Tail Pet Treats

Organ meat is especially good for pets, but because there isn’t a large demand for them, most organs go to waste. Ask local hunters, or your butcher or meat locker to save organs for you. Cut into small cubes and process them in your freeze dryer right away. Freeze dried liver is an especially high value treat for dogs and cats, and makes an excellent, healthy training motivator. Are you a hunter who doesn’t have pets? Your local animal shelter would likely welcome a donation of freeze-dried leftovers from your catch. Got a tip for how to use a home freeze dryer to keep pets happy and healthy? Keep sharing with us!

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