All About Cold Pressed Food

Cold Pressed Production: While it’s not a new development in feeding animals, existing well over 50 years, cold pressing is a fairly recent way to produce food for the family dog. Cold pressing is where raw ingredients are mixed with water and then cooked very quickly at much lower temperatures than standard kibble and without the use of steam. This is normally somewhere between 40-75 °C depending on the brand. The very low temperature ensures the preservation of nutrients and taste. Providing a species-appropriate diet for your dog without the need of artificial flavourings (or adding fat and nutrients) as found with commercially produced dry kibble using the standard extrusion method.

Extrusion kibble is very different to cold pressed, regular dry food kibble you find in pet shops and supermarkets is cooked at temperatures in excess of 100 °C which makes it lose quite a bit of it’s goodness, flavour and digestibility.

There are a number of quoted benefits to using cold pressed dog food:

#1 More Nutrients
By cooking at a lower temperature means more oils, nutrients, and natural flavour remains intact.  Including all the natural enzymes, vitamins and fibre.

2# Better Skin & Coat Health
Low temperature cold-pressing is said to ensure that free radicals, which can put a strain on the dog’s metabolism and damage skin and coat health, are not produced. 

#3 Great Alternative To Raw
While it is argued some dogs do well on raw, it is not suitable for every dog nor lifestyle. Cold Pressed dog food can be a real practical and healthy diet choice for those keen to feed their dogs natural food in a very safe and convenient way. 

#4 Easier To Digest Than Standard Kibble
Cold pressed food dissolves from the outside in, meaning it doesn’t expand once digested. The pellets form an easy to digest paste as it is broken down, which is  readily absorbed through the gut. This helps guard against the risk of bloat (gastric dilation-volvulus syndrome), and is great for active dogs that are always on the go such as Cockapoos or Working Cocker Spaniels.

Choosing Cold Pressed Food

It is really important to know that not all cold compressed dog foods are the same, as with any other food it’s important to look at the labels.

  • Meat: A named meat (i.e Beef, Chicken, Duck) should be the first ingredient, and the percentage of meats should be clearly written (i.e 30% ground beef). Ingredient lists are by percentage weight pre-production. If fresh chicken is the first ingredient, you need to remember it is 70-80% water. So in reality post-production you are not getting much chicken. Look for “Ground” “Dehydrated” or at least a clearly named meal i.e “Chicken Meal”. These afford more meat content per gram due to removal of water content already being accounted for pre-production. The higher true meat content, the better the general quality. Avoid when possible vague labeling such as “meat and animal derivatives” and  “animal fat” “meat meal”. Animal fat is a low grade mix of any meat based fats, it is not a top quality ingredient. 
  • Non-Meat Ingredients: It’s better to stick clear of brands heavy in potatoes, peas or corn which give misleading overall protein readings. Dogs are designed to best obtain protein from meat sources not potatoes. Potatoes provide less nutrition than a variety of grains. In many grain free diets, legumes are used to provide the carb (starch) but also protein and fiber.  Legume protein is low in sulfur amino acids (methionine and cystine – the precursors for taurine synthesis) so diets high in legumes may result in a deficient diet.  
  • Grain: Gain inclusive cold pressed foods should ideally only contain higher-quality grains with beneficial readily digestible nutrients for dogs. Wholegrain Rice (important source of dietary fibre for intestinal health) and, a noteworthy grain in this regard, Millet. This gluten-free grain is rich in “Niacin” Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B6 (for brain function), iron and potassium. Millet also has a high level of Manganese which is useful for muscle health. 

Best Before Dates: Checking shelf life of each brand is important too. Cold Pressed has a shorter shelf life due to it’s more natural production. Self life among brands available can be as little as six months. And you must not take out of it’s original packaging and store in an airtight container. I repeat MUST NOT. Storeing in an airtight container will cause mould, this food needs to breathe.

More Food, Less Volume: It is also important to remember that you will need to feed your dog significantly less cold compressed dog food compared to a standard range dry kibble, so please don’t let a higher bag price put compared switching to cold pressed.

Size of Pellets: Cold pressed pellets tend to be bigger than standard dry kibble. If you have picked a brand with the larger pellets the food can still be easily feed, simply soaking in a little warm water for a short time before feeding to puppies or little dogs will rapidly soften cold pressed food. Personally, I like the bigger size pellets for many dogs as it means dog’s chew and use their teeth not simply inhale their food.

Looking for a Cold Compressed Dog Food Brand?

Please note: I’m not recommending all of these brands. I haven’t tested all nor compared all their nutrients, this is simply a list of brands available in the United Kingdom (and it may not be complete). Most of thde cold pressed foods will require ordering through brand website. The website stocks most of these too – this is where I tend to buy my dog food. These are listed in no particular order.

  • Guru (UK)
  • Gentle (UK)
  • Markus Mühle (German)
  • Lukullus (German)
  • Puredog (UK)
  • Wilsons (UK)
  • Tribal (UK)
  • Farm Foods HE (Netherlands)
  • Healthly Dog (Belgium)
  • Forthglade (UK)
  • Tribal (UK)