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Sous Vide Dog Food (Is It Worth It?)

Key Takeaways

  • Sous vide is a method of cooking where food is vacuum-sealed in a bag and immersed in water at a specific temperature for a long time.
  • Sous vide dog food has more natural nutrients and vitamins retained compared to most other types of pet food.

I love experimenting in the kitchen to make fresh meals for my dogs. Sous vide dog food is a new type of quality fresh food that has sparked my interest. Although new in the pet food world, did you know that sous vide has been a staple of gourmet cooking for years now? Recently, it has started to gain traction in the dog food market as well. Let’s explore the basic principle behind sous vide, and its place among the other fresh pet food types today.

So How Exactly Does Sous Vide Work?

The Sous vide cooking method is by and large a very simple process. You vacuum-seal the food raw, and cook it in hot water for 45 minutes to a few hours. The main reason this is done is to preserve the natural flavors and nutrients that are usually lost when employing traditional cooking methods, such as sauteing, grilling, or even steaming. A Pup Above fresh dog food is one of the few platforms today that offer the sous vide method.

Wait, Isn’t That Just the Same as Boiling?

Although both methods involve immersing food in hot water, the sous vide method is very much not the same as simply boiling the food.

First and foremost, in sous vide, the water never actually reaches boiling temperature. Rather, the water’s temperature is slowly raised over low heat to just below boiling by a precision cooker. The vacuum-sealed food is cooked in this hot water for much longer than it takes to cook food by boiling.

This results in a much more thorough and even cook, virtually guaranteeing that the result would be much more tender and succulent than other cooking methods can produce. In fact, since the sous vide cooking process is slow and gentle, it’s practically impossible to overcook, or even undercook the food, at least not by accident.

Sous Vide Pet Food vs. Raw Pet Food

Kibble and soft food.

You may notice that the appeal of sous vide pet food bears a certain similarity to raw food. Raw food beats both kibble and fresh food in terms of how much of the nutrients are retained. Raw dog food brands that focus on being as natural as possible also beat even the most natural fresh dog food brands simply because they don’t cook the food.

However, raw food safety is oftentimes questionable, and there’s no guarantee that a portion of raw food will be free of pathogens, even with the best raw food brands. Sous vide pet food, therefore, offers the fresh, unadulterated wholesomeness of raw food with the tastiness and sanitation offered by cooked fresh food, as long as it uses human grade and non-GMO ingredients.

Benefits Gained Through the Sous Vide Method

Aside from the above-mentioned pros, there are a number of other good points that make the sous vide method worth using when making dog food. Here are some of the major ones.

No need to use cooking fat or oils

With traditional cooking methods, you often have to use fats or oils to help cook the food and to create browning and flavor. On the other hand, every sous vide recipe is specifically designed to be as delicious as possible to dogs without needing fats or very much sodium for that matter. These two things are the main reasons why meat products such as bacon can be so harmful to dogs.

It’s easier on dogs’ stomachs

Recent studies have found that the sous vide method excels at turning collagen proteins into gelatine, which makes it much more digestible.

Puppy with ball by stomach.

Collagen is the connective tissue that strengthens muscles and assists in movement. The more substantial the animal, the more collagen between their muscles. This is why it’s so plentiful in red meat such as beef and pork — two of the proteins that dogs love most [1].

While dogs are built to digest meat much better than humans, they can lose the efficiency with which they do so as they age. But since sous vide is so good at breaking down collagen, the resulting meal is much easier on their stomachs than meat cooked with other methods. This lets them enjoy eating their favorite meats without accelerating the deterioration of their digestive system.

It provides a noticeable health boost

The nutrient retention offered by the sous vide cooking method creates a very noticeable boost to your dog’s health. The potential here is limited only by how nutritious the ingredients used are.

But in general, sous vide pet foods provide numerous basic health benefits such as skin and coat health, stronger bones, better sleep, and higher energy levels. Provided of course that the manufacturers use whole foods in their recipes.

Why Sous Vide is Appealing to Dog Food Manufacturers

Easy to defrost and serve

The ease and speed with which you can serve your dog’s food is a huge selling point in the dog food market nowadays. More pet parents will buy a brand of dog food if it’s convenient as well as high-quality.

Pan with boiling water.

To heat up sous vide food before mealtime, you just have to put it in some water and steadily bring that up to temp. Since most dog food made using the sous vide cooking method uses minimal to no artificial substances, this process can be done relatively quickly. You can have some hot chow for your dog ready to serve in just under 10 minutes.

Reduces food waste

Since there’s almost zero chance to overcook food, there are practically no food wastage incidents in sous vide-cooked dog food production lines. There’s also much less need for spices and other flavorings. The main source of flavor in sous vide dishes are all of the ingredients’ natural juices that get sealed in by this cooking method.

Easy to mass-produce while maintaining quality

Vacuum-packed meats.

An issue that dog food brands often struggle with is keeping their production costs low while ensuring that quality remains high. Sous vide lets them prepare meals with the same care as homemade dog food, but with the vast quantities and speed of commercial dog food.

Since sous vide employs vacuum sealing, manufacturers can easily package a large amount of food, cook them in big batches, and store them for a long period of time without them degrading.

More efficient production process

Since mass production is easier with sous vide, brands that make use of it spend much less on labor. Packaging is another area they can save on, since all of the food is stored and delivered in the very same vacuum sealing it’s cooked in. All of these savings let them invest more in other areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is sous vide?

The sous vide cooking method involves dipping vacuum-sealed food into a tub of hot water kept at just below boiling temperature. This is done for an extended amount of time, similar to slow cooking, in order to cook the food as gently as possible.

Is sous vide dog food worth it?

If you think that dogs need food that contains as much of its natural nutrients as possible, but don’t want to deal with the potential risks of raw food, then dog food cooked sous vide would likely be worth your money.

Is sous vide dog food healthy?

Considering that sous vide preserves the natural nutrient content of food, dogs get much more nutrition from sous vide food than with food cooked using other methods. Manufacturers also need to use much less flavoring to make the meals palatable to dogs.

Where can I buy sous vide dog food?

So far, only a few brands that sell fresh foods for pets offer meals cooked sous vide-style. These include A Pup Above and Grocery Pup. However, it’s likely that many other brands will follow suit as this trend takes off.

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