30 days of dog food….Why?

Driven by personal & professional conviction.

Becoming Introspective

My wife and I had just left the DFW airport and were about an hour into an 8-hour flight to celebrate our 10 year anniversary trip. We’re both avid readers and wanted to use this trip as an opportunity to hit the reset buttons on our minds & focus on our marriage and how we’re going to plan the next 10 years, and then spend some time reading and listening to podcasts. I’m not sure anyone out there looks back after 10 years of marriage or life and says “That’s exactly what I thought it would be!”

While we are very happy together and have had a blessed life, it certainly hasn’t come along the way we mapped it out when we first said our vows. We’ve been given many challenges like most couples have. We’ve ridden the rollercoaster of career changes, I became an entrepreneur, we became parents, and we’ve had to fight long term chronic ailments. In the past 10 years, we’ve also moved homes & schools, lost loved ones & brought new ones into the world. We’ve made progress financially and suffered setbacks that we didn’t anticipate. But overall, we’ve lived a blessed life, and we’re still here!

When we started to discuss what the next 10 years of our life would look like, I knew it would be different. I knew I wanted something different. I knew that if I wanted something different, I had to do something different. It was time for me to take control and be myself more than I have been. I needed to stop trying to do the things I can’t, and focus on my strengths. I also felt like I needed to raise my level of commitment to my family, my business & our customers.

Feeling unproductive

One of the things I struggle with personally is feeling like I’m never doing enough. Our parents raised us to value hard work (which I’m incredibly grateful for). We would routinely witness them work 12 hour days Monday-Friday, and then head back to the office on Saturdays & Sundays during some times of the year. So, naturally, if I’m not putting in 60 hours a week, I feel inadequate and like I’m letting someone down, mainly myself. I don’t know why exactly, other than that’s what I’ve equated to winning.

I’ve had many good friends and mentors tell me the past few years that I’m stretching myself to thin, and at some point, I’ll pay the price. Well, that has certainly presented itself this past year. As I progressed through the year, I found myself working even longer hours & starting earlier. There are times I tuck the family in for bed and go back to work from 10-12, only to get back up at 4:30 and do the same thing. I spend a lot of time taking 3 steps forward and 3 steps back. I find ways to slowly stop working out, slowly start eating worse, slowly stop reading, and eventually end up at the same spot every year. I end up looking like someone who used to maybe be an “athlete”, about 10-20 pounds heavier than I should be, chronically fatigued and frustrated that I found myself at the same place again.

An unhealthy version of me from 2017 (my heaviest)

Do you know what the worst part of this is? In the end, the work I was doing wasn’t as important as I thought it was. Most of it was busywork that I refused to punt to someone else on the team…and we have a great team. I tell myself that I’m the only one who knows how to execute what I’m thinking in my head, and in the end, we have so many people who can do a lot of the things I’ve been doing, but better, I just needed to get out of the way.

Trying to gain clarity

So, knowing all these things, you can probably understand why a trip without kids was something we both needed. My wife (Aubree) goes above and beyond for our family, and the past few years I haven’t really been as present as I had committed to being when we first said our vows. She has found herself playing the role of a single parent too many times, and I needed to find out how to do my part better, along with gaining a clear vision of what we wanted for our life in the next 10 years. I also knew I needed to evolve as a leader and adapt to what our company needs me to be.

As we reflected and looked over notes we’ve taken from books and podcasts, one thing continued to stand out to me. If I want to live the life I want to have, I have to think differently. When Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s owner) was debating at the age of 30 whether or not he wanted to quit his job on Wall Street and start an online book store, he asked himself if, when he turned 80, would he regret not taking the risk? The answer was yes. Look at what he’s built because he was willing to take that risk and pursue his dream.

One of my favorite quotes is from Les Brown, The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”

When I looked at my notes I had taken from Ed Mylett’s book & podcasts, this one stuck out to me: Make sure you don’t turn your DREAM into a NIGHTMARE and regret the rest of your life that you didn’t give it everything you had.”

A mentor and friend of mine named Jeff York said “Nobody is proud of the easy things they’ve done”…..This certainly wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew I’d be proud if I could finish it. More importantly, I know I would regret not doing it in 20 years if I passed on the opportunity.

Do you see a trend here? Everything I was reading and listening to that made the biggest impact on my current state of mind, had to do with the fact that I don’t think I was truly executing my dream. I wasn’t being the dad I wanted to be, the husband I wanted to be, or the leader I wanted to be in my company. I had been pushing too hard to check items off of a to-do list, that I was no longer spending time looking at the big picture at home or at work. I had been lying to myself and told myself “if I can be busy, I’m making a difference,” but in the end, I wasn’t focusing on my strength or my dream, I was just staying busy.

Being honest with myself

As Aubree and I talked about what we wanted for our marriage and our kids, we then turned to what we wanted for our careers. It was at this moment, I decided to stop lying to myself. I’ve never been the kind to sit quietly in the back and wait. I wasn’t the kid who was asked to raise his hand, it was always up. When someone is stuck and trying to find an idea, I always volunteer one. When the teacher would ask someone to read, I would do it, and be happy about it.  Slowly over the past 5 years, I had somehow turned into someone that just opened their computer and responded to emails all day, worked on spreadsheets, and spent evenings and weekends responding to trolls on our Facebook page (somehow thinking that was productive….). 

I decided I was going to be happy, I needed to get back to being myself. I needed to act boldly and fearlessly. I’ve known for years that we needed to be more active on social media, that I should be doing videos & podcasts, and that I needed to get out there more to help educate our customers, and yet I didn’t. You know why? I hated the sound of my voice and didn’t want to listen to myself…Everyone has always told me that I’m a good storyteller and that I’m a great speaker, but I’ve never believed them, until now.

Acting with Conviction

Now, how was I going to take the next step and become what I knew I needed to? Well, I was going to do something that I’ve been telling myself I should do for 2 years. You see, I’ve always believed that you shouldn’t sell something unless you truly believe in it. When I worked as a personal trainer, I stopped selling training because clients didn’t want to do the work to get better. I sold supplements instead because I at least knew there was some benefit there. When I started working for my parents, I sold our foods that didn’t have corn & wheat in it, because I knew too much starch for dogs was bad for their health. Now when you look at our product lineups, you won’t find those ingredients in our foods. If we don’t believe it benefits the animal, we don’t do it.

For 2 years, I have toyed with the idea of eating our dog food for a month. Not just as an advertising bit…..far from it. I want people to know that we are so passionate about what we do, that we’ll do anything we can to make sure we’re providing the best food possible for their dog, so much so, that we’ll even eat it ourselves. Am I saying that because I did well on it, dogs will? No, that’s absurd, that’s why we work with a Ph.D. nutritionist who has over 30 years of experience in our field. I’m doing it because I want people to know that we don’t just guess about our ingredients, suppliers, and process, we trust it. I know when my brother tells me we’re making quality products and buying quality ingredients, that I don’t have to worry about the safety of the food. 

The taste, well that’s another story for another day, but I also don’t care. You see when you’re truly passionate about what you’re doing, who cares if you have to pass on pizza for a month? I know I don’t. 

Living out our passion

Chad and I have a vision for our business. We want to feed as many dogs as we can a healthier diet than the conventional pet food options on the market. We want to provide customized solutions tailored to individual dogs. We want to employ hundreds of people and pay them above-market rates for their talent. We want to make a difference in independent and family-owned pet stores across the country. We want to inspire others to do the same and hope that by leading a company of faith that we can slowly inspire that in other areas of the country.

In order to do that, we have to act boldly, and while I was staring at the ocean with my wife, for some reason, I felt it, and I knew that it was time for me to do something crazy and out of my comfort zone. I was trying to figure out how to compete with the voices of the National Brands who spend millions of dollars…..WITHOUT spending Millions of Dollars. I thought, “what can I do, that the CEO of Nestle, Mars or Blue Buffalo probably wouldn’t be willing to do? I looked at my wife and told her “when we get back, I’m only eating our dog food for 30 days”. 

Without a beat, she looked at me, said: “You’re being serious, and if anyone can do it, it’s you”. When I returned to work, I spoke with my sales and marketing team, they’re response: “hell yeah, let’s do it!”. I called Chad and told him, he laughed and said, “ok, let’s go get em, glad it was your idea, I’ll cook it, you eat it.” 

Aubree and I after I broke the news of the impending dog food breath ^

Not doing this alone

As I write this, I’m on day 20. I wasn’t sure how I would make it as far as I have, but I do now. Aubree and the kids have been so great (the kids love helping my meal prep). Our fans on Facebook and Instagram have been super supportive. My parents, mentors, and friends have called to give support & advice. Everyone from Chad, to our office, sales, marketing & production team is rooting me on and trying to eat with me when they get an opportunity (Yes, they are volunteering to eat dog food with me so I’m not alone!!! How freaking cool is that!?!?). The number of friends, retailers and even customers that have reached out wanting to join me for a meal is overwhelming! Even my doctor, nutritionist, pastors, and parents were on board with this project. 

Dinner, day 13. My personal favorite: Muenster Ancient Grains Ocean Fish
w/ Chicken Meatballs & Beef Meatballs.

I have 10 days left of dog food only, I’m down 20 pounds and feel absolutely fantastic. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol or a cup of coffee in 3 weeks and feel better for it. I’ve never felt more confident in the products we’re producing, or the team that’s producing them. I feel like I’m living the life I was meant to live, even if it means I’m eating dog food. 

-Mitch Felderhoff

4th Generation Owner

Check out our YouTube journey:

Week 1: https://youtu.be/FBzcI_GOHCw

Week 2: https://youtu.be/FBzcI_GOHCw

What do I do about my Overweight dog?

Obesity in Pets

Over the course of the last few decades, pets are facing an obesity crisis that’s mirroring the one people are facing, if not worse. Take a look at these statistics:

  • 54% of dogs in the U.S. are considered obese (30% overweight or more)
  • This is an 80% increase since 2005. 
  • In 2017 out of the 89,000,000 dogs, appx 297,000 of them had diabetes.
  • 60,000 dogs die every year as a result of diabetes.

How did we get here? Well, the answer is actually quite simple, most dogs eat too many carbohydrates on a daily basis. Over time, this causes insulin resistance as they aren’t able to handle the amount of sugar that’s being converted as the carbohydrates are broken down, leading to insulin resistance. When a dog becomes insulin resistant, they try to produce more in order to handle the elevated blood sugar, and eventually, the pancreas waves the white flag and gives up. 

When the pancreas gives in, the dog, unfortunately, becomes diabetic. Now, since the dog can’t talk, they don’t really have the ability to let us know they need to pee more than normal, their feet are tingling, and their vision is getting blurry, all we can see is they’re gaining a little more weight than normal. Beyond these symptoms, they are also more at risk for heart disease, cancer, and other chronic inflammatory diseases.

Conventional & mass-market pet food companies, unfortunately, spend a lot of money trying to research how they can make a diet as cheap as possible. You essentially end up with a product loaded with soy, corn, gluten, rice bran, and other starchy ingredients that cause massive spikes in blood sugar, and take the pancreas down the road of being rendered useless.

The best thing you can do is move your dog to a diet that’s higher in protein and fat, and then…..remove the junk food. When I say junk food, I’m talking about the conventional baked treats that are sold made mostly of flour & potatoes. While our dogs may eat them and seem happy, there are much better options. You see, every time you give your dog one of these sugary treats, it’s causing an insulin release. When insulin is released into the bloodstream, it converts carbohydrates to sugar, prevents fat from being used as energy, and then causes the muscle to be broken down for energy. Over time, you end up with a dog that has added fat, reduced muscle, and been subjected to chronic inflammation. Then we wonder why our dogs have arthritis at an early age and can’t lose weight no matter how much less we feed them. Unfortunately, a lot of dogs get prescribed a “weight loss” diet that’s medicated and has even lower carbohydrates.  Time and time again while talking with customers, they will ask me, “I’ve put my dog on a low-calorie diet, and he/she just isn’t losing any weight”. Then we move them to one of our low carb grain-free diets, cut the feeding amount by almost ½, and in no time their dog has lost the extra weight.

A creature created for low carb diets

If you were to follow dogs/wolves/coyotes through the wild, you would find they would consume mostly meat, eggs, and some vegetables & fruits when they find them. This would result in a starch level of approximately 4%. Keep in mind berries are mostly water, and there aren’t typically enough for a dog to eat to satiety, so they typically are doing it for water content, or they just like the taste of a cool berry! Now, consider most pet foods on the market have a calorie profile where carbohydrates contribute 40-50% of the nutrition (10X what nature intended), and it’s easy to see how the industry has missed the mark. 

Also consider, dogs have 8 hormones to raise blood sugar, and only one to lower it (insulin), it has to make you wonder why we’re working so hard against the genetic makeup of the dog. They have the ability to raise their blood sugar if they need energy with the use of EIGHT different hormones, yet we place the burden on insulin when we feed high carb diets.

What can you do?

The best thing to do is to feed your dog fewer carbohydrates. I have seen countless dogs lose weight that their owners thought would be impossible to lose, simply by moving them to a lower-carb diet, you can find ours here

The next best thing you can do would be to incorporate Freeze-Dried meats to their diet. This will increase the fat & protein of their diet even more, while also reducing the amount of dry kibble you would feed. Beyond being the exact nutrient profile your dogs were mean to eat, it may be one of the tastiest things you can add to their diet. You can find our Freeze-Dried meal toppers & treats here.

Want to save a few bucks and help your dog drop a few pounds?

If you’ve never tried Muenster before, use coupon code lessfat25 to save 25% on your first order of Grain-Free & Freeze-Dried here.


A scoop a day for a stronger heart

Dogs are facing an epidemic that has plagued humans for the better part of 50 years. Obesity is increasing at a pace of over 80% since 2005 with over 54% of dogs being labeled as obese. Not shockingly, they have gone the same path as their owners, but why?

Bad Science

For over 30 years, at least in America, we have been told to avoid fat, and eat more “healthy carbs”, yet we’ve gotten bigger. When you go to the grocery store, take a look around at all of the low fat, no fat, and reduced-fat options that exist….There are more than ever and their sales are higher than ever……yet we are larger than ever.

The largest pet food manufacturers have a history of what?!

You probably didn’t know that the largest pet food manufacturers in the U.S. have their roots firmly planted in…….Candy. Yes, that’s right, candy. Nestlé and Mars are 2 of the largest manufacturers of pet food and have helped set the course of “nutrition” that dog food diets have used for years. Is it really a coincidence that they aren’t as worried about levels of carbohydrates and I don’t know….diabetes?

What do the numbers say

Obesity54% of all dogs are obese
(more than 30% overweight)

An increase of 80% since 2005

An increase of 32% since 2011
Diabetes296,666 dogs had diabetes in 2017

1 in 300

2/10 dogs euthanized w/in 12 months
of diagnosis

60,000 dogs die from diabetes every
year…..60,000……60,000….60,000
Odds your dog will be hit by a car1,200,000

1 in 74

.013%

Simply put, this is the biggest nutritional threat your dog faces. Unfortunately, these companies have incredibly deep pockets and the ability to buy influence on a massive scale as they have spent years financing Veterinarian schools & students. 

How does this affect my dog’s heart?

The number one cause of cardiovascular disease……….You guessed it, obesity. With 54% of all dogs suffering from obesity, it’s only common sense that since we’ve checked off diabetes as one of the more common diseases facing our four-legged friends. However, the one lurking in the shadows…..Heart Disease. 

In people, we know if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to die from heart disease. In fact, 65% of people with diabetes die from heart disease. Over time, the excess blood sugar that exists in the blood due to the lack of insulin to convert it to fat or energy damages the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. This results in a weaker heart that is no longer able to pump the way it should. 

What else can cause heart problems?

Ever hear the saying, “too much of a good thing”? You can literally eat or drink too much of anything. You can die from drinking too much water, exercising too much at one time, or even eating too much salt in one sitting…..Does that mean we shouldn’t drink water, exercise, or consume salt? Absolutely not, but you do have to be aware of how you incorporate each of these.

Unfortunately, in the pet food industry, many manufacturers move too quickly when developing new products and don’t take the time to consider if what they’re making can and will, have unintended consequences. I believe with 100% conviction that unfortunately dogs are being fed diets way too high in carbohydrates, and have been for a long time. This is a result of foods being much easier to make when they are loaded with starches and happen to be cheaper.

I also believe that some brands have pushed too hard to ‘remove” grain, and in turn, ended up creating diets that had very little research behind the ingredients being used. When you look at the foods listed in the DCM study by the FDA, many of them use 5-6 different types of peas & pea protein that probably account for close to 40% of the diet in some cases, maybe even more. They also list about 13 different kinds of “fresh meats” to continue bumping the rest of the ingredients down the list.

How our food is different

Well, we didn’t produce our first grain free diet until 2015. You see, we wanted to have a solid understanding of how we could benefit the dog if we introduced a grain free diet. With a history of making dairy feeds for over 4 decades, we knew that what we put in the feed could change the composition of the milk produced, and that balancing specific amino acids, sugars, probiotics, and protein sources all played a vital role. 

Instead of just loading our ingredients into a feed program generator and hitting the “calculate” button, we took time to meet with our Ph.D. nutritionists and examine each ingredient and where we could potentially cause problems. One of the things both of our Ph.D. nutritionists advised us to do was keep legumes under 20%, because after the diets exceed this level, there’s not a clear understanding of how it affects the stomach acid and if this could have a negative reaction towards nutrient absorption (appears that it may). Fortunately, we don’t have any diets that contain over 16%, with many of them coming in under 5%.

The other thing we did was use proven proteins that have high levels of cysteine and methionine, and we incorporate appropriate levels of B vitamins in the diet that are necessary for taurine synthesis. By taking all of these things into consideration, moving slowly, and not using the cheapest path on formulating our diets, we have one of the few brands that were not listed on the FDA’s 3 reports. 

Extra preventative steps that can be taken

If you’re new to Muenster, have an obese dog, or maybe just an older dog that you’re concerned could have heart issues, one of the best things you can do is provide a supplement like Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid that’s responsible for strengthing the heart and allowing it to pump the blood through the chambers. When you have a weak heart, it’s not able to pump blood all the way out of the left ventricle. This results in congestion within the heart as well as reduced oxygen levels.

How do I feed my dog extra taurine?

As we all know, feeding your dog supplements and medicine is difficult because most of the time it doesn’t taste good, and it’s full of useless & unpalatable ingredients like vegetable glycerin. 

approximately 40-45 servings per 12 oz container

What we did different, is take taurine and mixed it to a Freeze-Dried meat, you can learn more about this process here. This provides a very palatable and appetizing product that allows you to provide your dog with an incredible supplement. That is also made using ingredients naturally rich in Taurine like Beef heart, beef liver, beef tripe. What you won’t find in it; glycerin, flour, rice, peas, potatoes, or any other filler.

How much Taurine is in the topper, and will my dog eat it? 

Enough to ensure your dog is getting an adequate supply regardless of what food they’re eating. This will raise the amount of taurine to at least .15% of their diet when fed according to our feeding directions. The best thing about this topper?? It makes the food taste absolutely incredible. If you add this do your dogs bowl, they’ll not only have a boost in one of the most powerful amino acids for heart health, they’ll also be members of the clean bowl club!

For more information on our HeartStrong Taurine Topper, just click here

If your dog doesn’t absolutely love it, we’ll give you a refund 🙂

-Mitch Felderhoff, 4th Generation owner.

Substance vs Substitutions

While the jar on the left is 35% less full than the jar on the right, it has the exact same weight of product in it. This is the difference between high quality, meat-rich diets, and cheap, least-cost formulated foods.


You see, at Muenster, we have fixed recipes and a deep ethical conviction that dogs need to eat diets high in protein & fat, yet low in carbohydrates. We don’t compromise this for profit, because more importantly to us, the health of the dog comes first.


When you look at the jar on the right, you see different colors, different shapes and anything else that can be done to distract you from the fact that you just bought a bag of marketing garbage.


What is “least-cost”? Well, it’s when you can manufacture about 50 varieties of a recipe and still be in line with the ingredient listings on the back of the bag. This is why a lot of these companies do a few things:


1.) They use a ton of different ingredients in the food. This gives them a lot of flexibility. Ingredients are listed in order by weight, and if they’re the same weight, they can be listed in any order. Many of the larger companies are able to arrange their ingredients in a way that allows them to adjust levels of things like corn gluten, rice bran, and wheat midds in order to keep their price low.


2.) They have a committed price to national chains for 12-18 months in many cases. They aren’t concerned with ingredient prices changing because they’ll just substitute something cheaper.


3.) I’ve heard so many times that some of these larger companies are better because they have 20-50 nutritionists….Well, there’s a great reason for that too. If you don’t have a fixed, tried and true recipe, you need that many nutritionists to keep your food cheap. They simply exist to constantly modify the recipes in order to create a cheaper version of the food that still hits the ingredient listing, yet also provides them the margin they need.


Funny story to go along with this experiment….As a joke, I ate some of our Chicken and Pork recipe on the left and said, whoa….not bad…..


Then, I tried the food on the right, and holy crap….it tasted like cheese cracker, I was impressed, it was delightful, until my ears started itching like crazy within seconds. You see, I have a gluten allergy, and I completely took for granted that I knew our foods were 100% safe for me to eat, and didn’t pause to consider the food from this National Brand may have wheat in it…..well, it did, and today, I feel terrible because of it.


Also, dog food shouldn’t taste like a cheese cracker, it should taste like meat!


RECAP: the food on the left (Muenster) was made with the dog in mind, the food on the right was made with the shareholder in mind.

Creating your own Dog Food

Introducing My Custom Dog FoodTM

4th Generation Owner Chad Felderhoff adding Freeze-Dried Elk & Salmon Oil to a Recipe

A Brief History of Kibble


Since 1956, Pet food has been manufactured through a process that we’ve come to know as extrusion. This allows manufacturers like ourselves to combine all the ingredients your dog needs into one meal. While we’ve seen continued innovation over the past 70 years, the runway has gotten short. Simply put, an extruded dog food is round & brown. 

There are literally thousands of different dog foods on the market all competing with the exact same technology and science. Most foods are made by a few select manufacturers that tend to use the same recipe and just put it in a different bag. Then a marketing company will do their job and try their best to tell you why their food is the best because of some exotic dried berry they put in the food to act as an antioxidant. 

In fact, some of the largest pet food manufacturers in the world made their initial entrance into the food world by making candy (think Nestle/Mars). They tell you how great their food is because they have 20 nutritionists constantly working on their diets. However, if someone has 20 nutritionists working on a diet, they’re generally doing it so they can find a way to use a byproduct and still hit AAFCO standards. Simply put, they’re there so they can find a way to make the food cheaper. If you have the perfect product, you don’t need to try and find a way to work in rice bran, distillers grain, corn gluten, etc. However, if you’re trying to reduce costs and increase your margin, they’re great ingredients. If they were really concerned about health, they wouldn’t be making candy…

Time for a Change….

While we work very hard at Muenster to ensure that we’re using the best local ingredients and formulating the best diets possible with our Ph.D. animal nutritionist, we can’t deny that dog food as it has been traditionally presented is boring and antiquated. At the end of the day, we spend too much time trying to fit every dog out there into 1 or 2 boxes and say “this food is great for any dog of any size w/ any condition”. However, dogs have varying energy requirements, protein tolerances, grain allergies, etc. 

Based on this information, many of you have spent countless hours researching foods, trying different brands, only to end up with the same results…or possibly, the perfect food for your dog, only your dog didn’t like the taste….

This is exactly why we’re introducing our newest approach to feeding your dog, My Custom Dog Food. Now, you can bring control back into your hands. With over 14 different base mixes and 6 different enhancements available, you can create over 3000 different recipes. This gives you the ability to find a recipe that will keep your dog healthy AND give them the flavor they are looking for!

We’re starting simple, with just a few additions and base mixes, but will be rapidly expanding our offerings. By January, we will have joint health, skin & coat, digestive & heart-healthy supplements available. Next on the list is salmon & beef protein boosters. 

How do I get started?

Well, it’s very simple! All you have to do is visit a product that has enhancements enabled. You’ll notice to the right of the screen on the desktop that you can select the product enhancements you want to add. As you select them, the price will adjust for the ingredients you add. 

Current Recipes available for customization

Grain Free Rabbit & Coconut

Ancient Grains Chicken Recipe

What’s Next?

The next step for us will be to continue releasing new diets eligible for the customizations, as well as releasing new and additional enhancements. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter & updates. We would love to hear from you, so please send us a note at info@muenstermilling.com with any requests you have!

Want to be first in line?

The first 20 customers on November 1st to customize a bag of our Ancient Grains Chicken Recipe will receive their customizations for FREE! (Must enrol in Autoship) (Limit 1 bag per customer). You can add Bacon Fat, Salmon oil, and Freeze-Dried elk at this time, with more options coming soon! Only requirement….We want to hear back from you after you try it, so be ready to send us videos, pictures & a review!

What is Freeze-Dried dog food?

Muenster Milling’s Freeze-Dryer, located in Muenster, TX

By now, most of you have heard the term “freeze-dried,” and have probably seen it on the shelf at your local pet food retailer or online. It’s one of the fastest-growing segments of the pet food industry and for good reason. The process gently removes moisture from the food without cooking it, leaving you with a nutritious, shelf-stable, uncooked product to feed your dog. 

Why is freeze-drying a superior process for producing pet food?

It’s simple really, you get out of the freeze-dryer what you put into it without having to add extra fillers. The freeze-dried process was initially developed to maintain structural integrity and nutrient levels in foods for our astronauts. When cooking foods, vitamins & minerals are lost during the heating process. In freeze-dried, since everything happens in a frozen environment, the proteins aren’t denatured, so vitamin/mineral concentration isn’t lost. The freeze-dryer provided our astronauts with a complete and balanced diet that was light and could be reconstituted, while ensuring they had all the nutrients necessary for their travels. Another important application of freeze-dried products is in pharmaceuticals.  As expensive as prescription drugs are, the manufacturers can’t afford to lose half of the integrity of their product to the heating process – which is why, oftentimes, pharmaceuticals are freeze-dried.

Our goal for feeding your pets is to give them the nutrients they need without having to pack in an abundance of high-calorie carbohydrates to make it happen. Carbohydrates are sugars that have low nutritional value for carnivores – but do a great job of holding kibble together, making extra carbs a common ingredient in conventional pet food. Since freeze-drying removes water from foods while frozen, carbohydrates are no longer needed to hold the foods together. Freeze-drying also negates the need to add glycerin to foods (used many times in baked & cold extruded treats). When freeze-dried, a dog’s diet is more simple & pure without extra filler ingredients.

This image was taken shortly after opening our freeze-dryer in Muenster, TX. The ice you see on the condenser plates is the moisture we have removed from the meat via freeze-drying.

What exactly is the freeze-drying process?

  1. We put frozen, raw meat onto trays in our freeze-dryer.
  2. The temperature lowers to around -60°, turning the water content in the meat into ice.
  3. A vacuum seal lowers the pressure to less than .06 ATM (atmospheric pressure).
  4. The trays heat up gradually. Once above 32° and without pressure, the water in the meat moves directly from ice form to vapor form, skipping the liquid form entirely (like dry ice evaporating on a counter).
  5. The water vapor collects on condensing plates (similar to the way frost condenses to your car in the winter), effectively drawing the moisture out of the meat. This condensing process can take anywhere from 24-48 hours.
  6. After all moisture has been removed, the vacuum is released and we’re left with a shelf-stable, super-nutritious raw meat product you can feed your dog or cat without any fillers or added carbs!

This is what frozen chicken looks like prior to entering the freeze-dryer. The trays slide onto the shelves and the sublimation process begins, taking water directly from ice to vapor.

How to incorporate freeze-dried into your pet’s diet

  • Freeze-dried foods can be 100% of your dog’s diet by allowing them to transition to a full carnivore diet over the course of one week.
  • Incorporate freeze-dried as 25-50% of your dog’s diet by mixing it in with kibble or canned foods.
  • Feeding freeze-dried during the day and kibble at night is a popular method.
  • Gradually adding freeze-dried meal toppers to kibble can be used to slowly remove carbohydrates from the diet.
  • Use freeze-dried as a treat only. Personally, when feeding as a treat, I like to hide freeze-dried foods throughout the house and let my dogs “hunt” for it. 

Image of our Freeze-Dried Elk & Venison Meal Topper. All it takes is a little sprinkle over their regular food, and your dogs’ mealtime will never be the same!

However you choose to incorporate the freeze-dried product into your dogs’ diet, you’ll want to make sure you monitor how much food your pets are eating. Freeze-dried foods are more rich in protein and nutrients than conventional pet foods, so your pet will likely need a lower quantity of food in general. But every single dog is different and will have different needs. You are the best judge of your dog’s body condition, and you can easily help your dog by ensuring you adjust the feeding amounts as directed. If you need any help putting together a freeze-dried feeding program for your dog, please reach out to us and we can help set you up a program. Send us a note: info@muenstermilling.com

To save 50% on our Freeze-Dried Elk/Venison meal toppers, use coupon code 50offelk.