This post contains affiliate links.
Raw diets are becoming increasingly popular, as many pet owners believe it’s best to replicate the canine’s ancestral diet. However, it can be annoying to handle raw meat daily. When it comes to doggy food preparation and storage, can you refreeze raw dog food?
You can refreeze raw dog food as long as the food still feels cold to the touch and is uncontaminated. You can slightly thaw raw food for portioning, but the process is done in the refrigerator to ensure freshness. If the meat is completely thawed, it is no longer safe for refreezing.
In this article, I will talk about the properties of raw dog food and why freezing is an essential part of food storage. I will also explain how you can safely refreeze raw food as meal prep for your pet.
Why It’s Important To Keep Raw Dog Food Frozen
Freezing raw dog food mitigates the risk of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli reproducing in the meat, causing food-borne diseases.
Dogs can get sick when they ingest contaminated raw meat, just like humans do. Learning how to manage raw dog food responsibly will decrease the risk of cross-contamination in your household.
The rule of thumb is to handle your pet’s raw food the same way you would if it was for human consumption.
Although cooking and pasteurization are the traditional methods used to kill bacteria, raw dog food should not be heated. Cooking will cause raw food to lose some nutritional value, so instead, pet owners and food manufacturers use freezing methods.
This Is What Happens When You Freeze Raw Dog Food
Under their official policy, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) encourages pet food handlers to subject any animal-source protein to a process of pathogen elimination to mitigate health risks to pets and humans alike.
However, freezing does not entirely destroy germs already present in meat, but it is still an effective form of food preservation.
The freezing process slows down the enzyme activity of the meat, making it stay fresh for a more extended period. You might not want to feed your dog preservatives, so freezing will help keep the meat from spoiling.
As for bacteria, freezing does not wholly remove them from meat. They still exist, but the low temperatures inhibit their replication and growth.
These microorganisms resume reproduction if the meat is left at room temperature, which is why raw meat should be kept in freezing conditions as much as possible if not eaten immediately.
Essentially, freezing has two primary functions:
- Keeps raw dog food fresh for longer
- Impedes bacterial growth and reduces the total number of pathogens
How Long Does Frozen Raw Dog Food Last?
Frozen raw dog food can last for several months, provided you package it well. The FDA has published information stating that uncooked steaks can be kept frozen for six to 12 months, whereas the variety of meats such as organs has a shorter storage life of three to four months.
On the other hand, raw dog food sold by commercial manufacturers has its own guidelines. They advise that their food can be stored for up to nine months from the production date, but it’s best to check the label of your preferred brand to determine the expiration date.
It’s generally safe to refreeze frozen foods even if slightly defrosted, which can happen when the food is in transit. Check the meat for signs of spoilage before placing it together with other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
How to Safely Refreeze Raw Dog Food
Now that you know what goes into preserving raw meats, let’s look at the precautions needed when refreezing food for your dog.
Storing Refrozen Raw Dog Food
Usually, pet owners refreeze raw dog food when portioning daily meals for furry pals. To do this effectively, try these tips:
- Make sure that the raw food stays frozen from the purchasing stage until you reach your refrigerator. A little bit of defrosting on the way is acceptable, but the food must be maintained in a frozen state.
- According to USDA guidelines, raw perishables must be allowed to thaw out in the refrigerator if you plan on refreezing without cooking. You can defrost the meat by letting it sit on the lower shelf of your refrigerator before cutting it with a sharp utensil.
- Avoid thawing food at room temperature, such as on the kitchen table, if you don’t plan on using it the same day. Raw meat starts to defrost from the outside in, so you risk having bacteria grow on the outer edges of the meat while the core is still fully frozen.
- Plan your dog’s daily meal prep properly. To prevent food waste, section your dog’s food into the correct meal size before refreezing.
- Use secure packaging to store dog food that you have portioned yourself. As much as possible, use airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to prevent oxidation and leaking.
Using this feeding calculator by Tail Blazers, you can work out your dog’s daily feeding portion.
Perfectly Rawrsome has designed a comprehensive calculator that tells you your dog’s daily portion size if you prefer homemade raw dog food. It also calculates the weight of the food groups you need to include in the diet.
Feeding Refrozen Raw Dog Food to Your Pet
When you handle refrozen raw food, you should follow the same guidelines mentioned earlier. Before your pup’s feeding time, take out the needed portion size and let it thaw in the fridge.
The time frame for defrosting is somewhere between 12 to 24 hours, with the results varying depending on what ingredients are used.
You can plan to thaw up to three days worth of raw dog food in the refrigerator. To do this, ensure that you have a fully defrosted pack of food for current feeding, a second day’s worth of food left to defrost, and a third day’s meal that you just took out of the freezer.
Repeat the process so that your pet will never have to miss their favorite meals throughout the week.
What Goes Into Preparing Raw Dog Food?
When preparing raw dog food, uncooked meat, bones, and vegetables go into the mix. Commercial and homemade raw dog food uses human-grade ingredients. Additives or preservatives aren’t used as part of manufacturing, ensuring that the meal is kept fresh and natural.
However, because of the absence of any chemicals, freezing the meat becomes the most crucial step during preparation and storage. Low temperatures inhibit bacteria from growing and thriving, preventing the meat from going bad and making your dog sick.
Is it possible to refreeze raw dog food? As long as you abide by the proper food handling guidelines, it’s safe to refreeze doggy meals in a way that does not jeopardize your pet’s health. Freezing is the best way to keep raw dog foods fresh for longer and stop bacterial growth, so it’s a beneficial method of food preservation.
When refreezing raw meat, try to keep it frozen and cold until you can store it properly. Only defrost raw food when you plan for feeding time and take out the correct amount your dog needs.
Mrdogfood.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We also participate in other affiliate programs which compensate us for referring traffic.