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A guide to freezing defrosting and refreezing raw dog food


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A guide to freezing defrosting and refreezing raw dog food

Freezing raw dog food is a topic that is often under a lot of discussion. As dog lovers, we all often stay confused regarding many questions. These questions could be about defrosting, freezing raw dog food in bulk, refreezing, etc. Well, you don’t have to worry about it anymore, as this post will provide you with all the necessary information that you need regarding freezing your dog’s raw food. The health of your canine best friend is important to us. So, let’s get started!

Storing raw dog food:

When it comes to raw food, it’s not just about feeding your dog, you also have to take care of several other factors. For instance, you must know how to store your dog’s food properly. If it’s dry food you have to make sure that it is away from moisture. Similarly, if it’s raw food, you have to save it from contamination or the food can go bad very easily.

There are several ways of storing your dog’s food and they all depend on your requirements. The two major ways that you can go for are:


Yes, you can store your dog’s raw food in your fridge if it is for a short period. The food must be stored at temperatures below 4°C. Why this temperature? This is because this temperature will help in slowing down the growth of bacteria and it prevents your pet’s food from spoilage. You have to put it in airtight containers so that there is no exposure to the air around which can also create dangers.


This is something that most of us go for, especially those who buy raw food for their pet in bulk. If I tell you about myself, then yes, I usually have a freezer that is dedicated to my pets and I bring their raw food in bulk so I don’t have to worry much about it. For longer durations, freezing is the best option that you have. It not only preserves the freshness of the food but also saves it from harmful bacteria.

Defrosting raw dog food:

Raw dog food in pouches divided and off fridge

Now that you have frozen food, the first thing before feeding your dog is to defrost it. This is something that needs some attention. The first thing that I will say is that you should follow a planned schedule. You should thaw your dog’s food a day before using the refrigerator so that you don’t have to worry much about it. Let’s have a look at the common methods and the queries related to them.

Refrigerator thawing, the conventional method:

This is the most common, convenient, and the preferred method for thawing. The major thing that you have to keep in mind is that it is a slow process. You will need patience and a planned routine for this, so don’t be lazy. If you have portioned the meals before freezing, it will be much easier for you.

The process will take some time. I will advise you to leave the food overnight as it requires hours of patience. However, the defrosting speed completely depends on the size and thickness of the food. For instance:

Raw food weighing 1 pound will take approximately 8 to 12 hours to defrost.

Raw food weighing 1 to 5 pounds will take approximately 12 to 24 hours to defrost.

Raw food weighing over 5 pounds will take approximately 24 hours or more to defrost.

Refrigerator defrosting is the safest method for you. You can argue that it needs time and patience but at the same time, it prevents bacterial growth. You should also read the thawing guidelines that are provided by the sellers.

Can you refreeze raw dog food?

Yes, you can. However, raw dog food that is thawed completely in the fridge should be used within 3 to 5 days. If you have somehow thawed it on the counter, it is recommended to use it within 2 to 3 days. So, you don’t have to worry as the food will remain fresh. Just put it in the right container, so there is no contamination. Be sure and be careful as this is something that has some risks involved.

Why portioning your dog’s food is important?

Based on my own experiences, I’ll advise you to portion your dog’s meal before freezing them for the first time. Follow proper guidelines and measure the dog food according to the required meal sizes and then safely freeze it. This is because, this way, you won’t have to worry about refreezing the food that is left or is not utilized. So, always plan.

What if you forgot to defrost raw dog food?

This is something that we all go through. Sometimes we are stressed about something or are in a rush, we forget a lot of important things. Do not worry, as this is something that we all go through. If you have forgotten to defrost your dog’s food overnight, then I have an option for you.

Room temperature water thawing:

quick water-thawing method to defrost raw dog food

Now that you are in a hurry and you have to defrost the food quickly, this is your ideal method. In this method, you have to make use of cold water that is almost at room temperature.

This method is a lot faster compared to refrigeration, but it still needs some care and attention. Also, the speed is dependent on the type of raw food. Some foods take time whereas some are thawed quickly. For instance, some companies have small raw nuggets that can be cooled down a lot more quickly compared to others.

Can you use hot water for thawing?

No, it is not recommended to use hot water while thawing. The water can slightly cook the outside of the raw food which creates nutritional imbalance. The temperature of the water is also dangerous as the bacteria start to thrive at warmer temperatures. This increases the risks of spoilage, especially if you have left the food out for longer. So, always go for water at room temperature.

Can you microwave your dog’s raw food?

Frozen raw dog food in microwave

No, you should not. Microwave is something that is full of risks. Most of the people advise against it as it is known for changing the composition of raw food. The nutrients change which can be dangerous. One factor is that the heat can cook the food to some extent and the purpose of feeding raw goes down the drain. Especially the bones are needed to stay in their natural form as only then do they have their nutrients preserved. The cooked bones also turn sharper and are dangerous for your dog as this irritates. Another reason is that the microwave can be a hit-and-miss. This is because as soon as you turn away, the food will turn into cooked rubber. So, the dangers of the microwave method are countless because of the cooking. You can further read about the cons related to cooking raw dog food.

The video below can also help you in learning about the right food warming techniques for your pet’s raw food.

Can you thaw frozen raw dog food on the countertop?

Dog licking raw food on counter

No, it is not recommended to thaw frozen raw dog food on the countertop as it can be dangerous. One factor is that it is too warm. Some companies do have foods that get cooled down quickly but refrigeration will always be the safest method. The major reason to avoid this method is that the outside defrosts and the middle stays frozen. The food seems like it has thawed completely but it has not. This also encourages the bacteria to grow on the defrosted part when it reaches room temperature. And the purpose of raw is to be fed raw. Your dog is supposed to eat that food as it is, so the chance of cooking it to kill bacteria also gets ruled out.

Serving the food:

Once the food is thawed completely, it is ready to be served. Follow proper hygiene guidelines and serve the food promptly to your pet. Also, make sure that you have the right bowl for your dog to feed. Make sure that the bowl is clean so that your pup stays healthy and enjoys the meal to the fullest.

Can dogs eat frozen food?

It is recommended to thaw the food before feeding it to your pet. However, some dogs can eat frozen food very happily. This completely depends on the health and the habits of your dog. Some dogs eat frozen food as a fun treat. The frozen treats come with a different texture and can slow the pace for your dogs to eat. Some people use them for pups who are known for eating their food without taking any breath. This helps in slowing down the eating process and encourages them to lick their food. It defrosts slowly and at the same time keeps them busy. Frozen food is also known for having the nutrients intact. However, as a beginner, you should consult with your vet first.

Hygiene and health:

Hygienic frozen raw dog food

Once your dog has finished eating the food, quickly clean the utensils that they use. Make sure that the environment around them is clean and safe. This way you will be able to encourage their healthy growth. Remember! Most of the health problems start from less hygiene and improper food handling. So, always be double-sure about the clean-ups.

Raw dog food frozen in freezer.

There are some things that you have to keep in mind while frosting or defrosting raw food. I have enlisted them below:

Tip#1 Most of the frozen foods, when ordered online, are delivered in cold boxes so that they stay frozen. So, I will advise you to quickly freeze or refrigerate it before the temperature changes and it defrosts.

Tip#2 Make sure that you have washed your hands properly so that there is no contamination while handling your dog’s food.

Tip#3 Try to dedicate utensils for handling your dog’s food and keep them separate from your own. For instance, I have a separate freezer for that. You should also alot separate portions in your freezer for your dog so that there is no contamination.

Tip#4 It is recommended that you use sealed containers for storing the food. This helps in protecting your dog’s food from the air outside. Also, be sure that the containers are sanitized properly.

Tip#5 Especially when the raw dog food is in bulk, make sure that you keep rotating the food. I hoard the food as it becomes more convenient. Always use the older packets, first.

Tip#6 Try freezing the raw food in portions so that you don’t have to worry much about refreezing them. You can also buy the packs according to the meal sizes. This will help you a lot in the long run.

Tip#7 For your ease, you can label the foods as well. You can label them so that you know which portion was frozen first. You can also label them according to what food is frozen so you have convenience while finding the right food. It will save you time.

Tip#8 While thawing the food in a refrigerator, I recommend you cover it up in a proper container so that there is no contamination. This makes the safest method safer.

Tip#9 Try to plan everything. Make a proper timetable for things. Organize the food schedules before and I will advise you to move one week ahead always. This way, even if you make a mess, you will be able to cover it up easily.

Tip#10 Always read the health guidelines and follow proper hygiene. Also, monitor the expiring dates of your dog’s food.

Final words:

Finally, I will say that to avoid any problems regarding feeding raw food, it is better to always plan. Try to have some backups that can save you in times of rush. Always stay in touch with your vet as well and before making any changes in your pet’s food, consult with them first.

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About Adam

Adam has been a fervent dog enthusiast since his early days with his beloved pet, Tiger. Recognizing a gap in unbiased dog product reviews in the UK, Adam embarked on a mission to bridge this divide. With the invaluable expertise of Dr. Emily Smith, a seasoned veterinarian, they collaboratively endeavor to provide dog owners with trustworthy information and reviews. Together, they strive to ensure every canine receives the care and love they truly deserve.

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