Baked vs. Extruded Dog Food - Do you know which is best for your dog?

Do you know how your dog food is made?

Until BlogPaws, it never occurred to me to look into it. I am meticulous when it comes to the contents of Mauja and Atka’s food and research every last ingredient. If I care so much about what is in their food, shouldn’t I care just as much about how it is produced?

Extruded Dog Food

While the extrusion process was initially used to create puffed cereals, it has become a staple in the pet food industry. Extrusion is an easy and efficient way to create large amounts of nutritious, shelf-stable food. Here’s a brief explanation of the extrusion process:

  • Raw and wet ingredients for the food are mixed together to form a dough.
  • The dough is pushed through a machine, called the expander, that uses hot water or pressurized steam to cook the dough.
  • While under these extremely high temperatures, the food is forced (extruded) through special sized and shaped holes and then trimmed by a knife.
  • Once the pieces exit the expander, they puff up to look like the kibble we are used to seeing.
  • The kibble is then sprayed with fats, oils, vitamins, and minerals and packaged before the oils can spoil.

There you have it! Is it just me or does anyone else think that sounds pretty gross? The extreme cooking process removes the vitamins and minerals that then have to be added back at the end of the process. I don’t like when my food is created like that, so I certainly don’t like it for my dogs!

But what’s the alternative?

Oven-Baked Dog Food

Wellness TruFood

Oven-baked dog food is exactly what it sounds like – baked in the oven. Oven cooking is a slower process which is done in small batches. I definitely appreciate the extra time and quality control when it comes to feeding my fluffies.

While the extrusion process leaves the kibble with less than 40% of it’s vitamins and minerals, baking retains almost 100% of the initial nutrients. This means your dog is getting his/her vitamins and minerals from real food. Baking also ensures the protein sources included in the initial recipe survive the cooking process leaving you with a more flavorful, nutrient-dense food.

But it must be crazy expensive.

You know, that’s what I thought too until I did a bit more research. Turns out baked kibble weighs about 20% less than the extruded variety. This means that a 25 lb bag of dog food will have approximately 20 more cups if it’s baked than extruded. Since it is also much more nutrient dense, you may end up feeding less overall!

Wellness TruFood

Wellness TruFood & Great Pyrenees

When we were at BlogPaws, we had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people from Wellness that introduced us to the TruFood line. Mauja and Atka went BANANAS for the CocoChia bakes. These delicious, crunchy treats are made with meat, vegetables, coconut oil, and other wonderful ingredients. The fluffies are really enjoying the CocoChia salmon, coconut oil, and spinach variety.

Wellness TruFood CocoChia Bites

Even more, they LOVED the food. With 70% more protein than other similar brands (thanks to the baking process), it is irresistible. Getting pictures for this post was a challenge as they kept drooling all over the place! I went through several drool rags during this photoshoot… 😉

Wellness TruFood is unique from many other brands as you can actually see the goodness in the kibble. Not only are there air-dried fruit and veggie pieces, but living superfood nuggets as well. These nuggets are naturally colored from beets and turmeric and packed with other superfoods such as kale and blueberries. To top it off, they are coated in live yogurt cultures for a natural source of probiotics to increase digestibility.

Wellness TruFood Baked Blends currently has a few formulas to choose from:

  • Chicken, Chicken Liver, and Flaxseed (adult)
  • Salmon, Turkey Liver, and Flaxseed (adult)
  • Lamb, Turkey Liver, and Chickpeas (adult)
  • Chicken, Chicken Liver, and Chickpeas (small breed adult)
  • Chicken, Chicken Liver, and Flaxseed (puppy)

Wellness TruFood CocoChia Bites & Great Pyrenees

The TruFood line also includes Tasty Pairings which are food our wet food eating friends.

So what do you think? Would your furry friend like to try the Wellness TruFood line? You’re in luck! Wellness was kind enough to provide TWO fantastic prizes! Prize 1 is one (1) 18 lb bag of Wellness TruFood Baked Blends and Prize 2 is one (1) gift basket of Wellness wet food and treats!

Great Pyrenees & Wellness TruFood CocoChia Bites

a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the giveaway: No purchase necessary. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only, except where prohibited by law. Giveaway will run from June 16 through June 24, 2015 at 11:59pm EST. Two (2) winners will be randomly selected and notified via email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prizes; failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the prize. Facebook and Twitter do not sponsor, administer, or endorse this promotion. Participants must read and agree to Rafflecopter’s Privacy Policy before entering and participating in this promotion.

47 comments on “Baked vs. Extruded Dog Food + A Wellness GIVEAWAY!”

  1. This baked dog food interests me as well !! Hopefully more to come ~ My Pyrs love to eat ~~ nothing but the best of coarse~~~~ Pick me please ~~

  2. I have not tried baked dog food. I would love to try it. Raw is just so expensive and I’m not sure it is safe.

    • There’s so much conflicting information on raw. I prefer feeding quality kibble from brands I trust. Baked foods are taking that to a whole new level of awesome!

    • Oh no – what a bummer 🙁 I’m really hoping that Wellness comes out with more flavors because so many dogs are sensitive to poultry. We typically try to avoid it because it seems to trigger Mauja and Atka sometimes, but they’ve been doing great with this one.

  3. Not only have I not tried it, I haven’t even heard of it before. I would be interested in this healthier option for my dog, Mike.

  4. wow, I did not realize the difference in the two regarding nutrition; will look for baked food; thanks for an informative and well-written post.

  5. The food looks awesome and you did a wonderful job explaining extrusion vs baked. Baked does sound better! Shiner would love to give this a try – thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  6. Mr. N has tried a sample of baked kibble (Lotus, I think?). He didn’t particularly care for it but he won’t eat kibble in general… If we win the giveaway, the food will be donated to a rescue! He does like wet food though.

  7. I heard about TruFood right before Blog Paws, so I was pretty excited when I saw a Wellness booth there! I am very interested in their new product line…especially for my picky eater!

  8. We tried a sample tub of the trufood wet food this weekend & my dog really loved it. My dog only gets 1 tablespoon wet per meal so I had to freeze some servings for later so it wouldn’t go bad though. I am willing to try extruded food for my dog.

  9. no, never even heard of baked food for dogs. i have baked treats and cooked food for my dogs though.

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