Gently cooked dog food is a subset of fresh dog food that involves gentler, less destructive cooking methods in order to preserve nutrients. This is as opposed to dog food that uses fresh ingredients but makes use of whatever cooking method makes the recipes most palatable.
A few fresh dog food brands that focus on delivering all-natural homemade dog food have realized that gentle cooking is best for maximizing the nutrient potential of their meals. The Farmer’s Dog meals are a good example of this philosophy being adopted to full effect.
And the results of adopting such cooking methods are clear: brands that employ gentle cooking consistently rank among the top 10 fresh dog food delivery services, such as Petplate, Nom Nom’s meals, and Ollie.
“Gently cooked” is fast becoming one of the main things many pet parents look for in dog food reviews.
Given this success, many more are likely to follow suit soon. Let’s take a look at why this cooking method is gaining traction.
What Exactly Does “Gently Cooked Dog Food” Entail?
Gentle cooking is a general term for cooking methods that are as non-destructive to the proteins and other nutrients in food as possible.
These methods often apply only the minimum amount of heat needed to kill any pathogens and bacteria present in the food. This yields pet food that preserves the optimal level of nutrition without putting your dog at risk of food poisoning or other diseases.
Because it lets dog food retain its nutrition quality, it’s gained a lot of traction with all-natural brands such as Open Farm and Freshpet.
However, it’s also become the preferred cooking method of brands that make no claims about being 100 percent organic. Nom nom’s meals, for example, are all gently cooked dog food, although they likely make use of flavorings and other substances that aren’t exactly natural.
Some of the gentle cooking methods used in dog food production include:
- Slow cooking
- Sous vide
What Makes Gently Cooked Dog Food So Special?
Gently cooked dog food, similar to most other fresh dog food, makes use of human grade, USDA-inspected ingredients and complies with standards laid out by the FDA and other food quality assurance organizations.
The difference is they’re able to take full advantage of the wholesomeness of their ingredients by ensuring that as little of it as possible is destroyed in the cooking process.
This makes it a sort of “best of both worlds” deal between plain fresh food and raw food. The appeal of raw foods lie in the fact that their nutrient content is virtually untampered with. But they also come with significant risk of infection.
Gently cooked dog food kills these pathogens while still keeping much more of its nutritional integrity than fresh food.
And since most gentle cooking methods don’t make use of the usual flavor-creating factors such as browning, brands that make use of them have found alternate ways to make their whole food ingredients taste as good as possible once cooked. You’ll be able to incorporate wholesome, human-grade ingredients into your dog’s diet without having to compromise their eating pleasure.
Hence, lightly cooked dog food is made with substantially more care than just about anything else on the market, except perhaps gourmet dog food.
However, this does mean that these products cost more than commercial dog food or even fresh dog food. It takes a lot of time and equipment to run a fresh dog food service that uses light cooking methods.
Some methods are easier to incorporate into batch cooking and mass production, but by and large, if a brand leans into gentle cooking, each item on their product line is going to have a heftier price tag.
The Most Noticeable Benefits of Gently Cooked Dog Food
Cleaner teeth and fresher breath
Because gently cooked foods are made to be as natural as possible, there’s much fewer substances to pollute your dog’s mouth, thus leading to better-smelling breath and less likelihood of developing cavities and the like.
Improves digestive health
Feeding your dog fresh, human-grade food that’s been cooked gently is perhaps the biggest favor you can give your dog’s digestive tract.
Gently cooked dog food excels at negotiating sensitive stomachs and elderly stomachs alike. It also slows down the deterioration of digestive health.
Higher energy levels and stronger muscles
Dogs who consume gently cooked dog food regularly have been reported to be more energetic than dogs who don’t .
Also, since both plant and animal protein is much less likely to break down during light cooking, dogs are able to make use of more of them to build muscle. More destructive cooking methods turn protein into their constituent amino acids. These are still healthy, but whole proteins are much better at building muscle than amino acids.
Healthier skin and shinier coat
Since most of the vitamins in the food are not broken down during cooking, dogs are able to metabolize them in full. This leads to improved skin and fur health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is gently cooked food good for dogs?
Considering that gently cooked human food is great for our health, gently cooked food is also greatly beneficial to dogs by the same token.
How do you feed your dog gently cooked food?
Gentle cooking is easy enough to perform at home, but buying gently cooked dog food from established brands ensures that your dog gets balanced nutrition while ensuring that they enjoy their meals.
What is the healthiest food I can cook for my dog?
You can’t go wrong with any dish made from natural ingredients that encompass a dog’s recommended balanced diet, and gently cooked for good measure. You’ll want to focus on lean proteins such as chicken and vitamin-rich veggies like string beans.
However dogs do prefer red meat, so make sure to include that as well. Unlike with us humans, red meat is much less likely to cause heart disease and other health issues in dogs, so it’s okay to give them this treat as long as it has been prepared correctly.
Is it OK to cook dry dog food?
Dry dog food has already undergone cooking under high heat. Cooking it further might just end up destroying it entirely.