What are dehydrated cat foods?

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Dehydrated cat food is the process by which the moisture is removed from the ingredients. Before serving, you will need to re-hydrate the food to put back the moisture.

The process is slightly different than that of freeze drying because it is a high-heat process, whereas freeze-drying is low heat. In dehydration, heat is applied to the desired food item, resulting in 98 percent of the substance’s water being lost to evaporation. In freeze-drying, the food is first frozen and then the moisture is extracted which many say preserves virtually all of the proteins, vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals remain intact, so your pet will get the most nutrition possible.

Many times, a dehydrated food can be a viable alternative to canned food or dried kibble that may have gone through many processing stages, containing hormones, chemicals and other substances. Some manufacturers claim that their dehydrated cat food brands are pure and fresh, containing natural ingredients, hormone and antibiotic-free meat sources—with vegetables, fruits, taurine and essential fatty acids, closely resembling foods that cats would often eat in the wild.

Many, including veterinarians, advocate raw food diets, especially since it’s thought that cooking over 116 degrees destroys important enzymes. However, there’s also the concern about things like salmonella and e coli. Of course you can make your own food—but, in many households, there is little time to assemble and prepare all the ingredients for a well-balanced raw food diet. Raw food diet supplements were developed to address this need and now some manufacturers even provide for dehydrated food where all you need to do is add water and ground or cut up meat chunks to the supplement (chicken is often the protein of choice).

Regarding the potential health benefits of raw pet foods, there was once a controlled test using two groups of cats. One group got the raw diet, while the other got an identical one—only cooked. After three generations, the “cooked food” group could no longer reproduce and developed mouth and gum infections, bladder problems and heart lesions; when switched back to raw foods the cats were completely healthy again by the fourth generation.

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