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How to Thaw Frozen Pet Food

One of the most frequently asked questions at Goodness for Pets is how to thaw frozen pet food. Typically raw pet food comes frozen but these techniques can be applied to any type of frozen pet food such as bone broth or gently-cooked pet food. We hope this instructional video will answer all your questions but if not, please stop in to discuss further. We have over 30 years combined pet nutrition experience and can help you determine how best to thaw frozen pet food. It is not complicated but there is a method to it. Once you have done it a few times, it will fall into place easily.


The first step is to calculate how much food you are feeding per day. For example, 4 ounces per meal twice a day. If yours is a multi-pet household, calculate the total amount for each pet per day for each food. For instance, 8 ounces of Stella and Chewy’s  for Rover the dog and 4 ounces of  Vital Essentials for Fluffy the cat.

Next, determine your thawing frequency. You can thaw and safely store in the refrigerator up to 3 days of feedings. Some people prefer to thaw out the food every morning or evening while others opt for the full 3- day routine. It is entirely up to you, whichever frequency works best for you.

With those two pieces of information you can now formulate a plan on how to thaw raw pet food appropriately. The next factor to consider is the size of the raw food you are thawing. Frozen raw food comes in a variety of forms: 8-ounce patties, 1 to 2-ounce sized cubes, chubs ranging in size from 1-5 pounds and nibs, small morsels of food. Each has varying thawing requirements and requires different thawing techniques.

Nibs, such as Primal’s Pronto, come in small bite size pieces that defrost at room temperature in under 10 minutes. Some of our customers even feed the nibs straight from the bag in the freezer. Perfectly fine.

There are 3 ways to thaw the remaining types of pet food. All are safe, following the prescribed guidelines.

The first method is the sink thaw. If you are in a hurry, the fastest way to thaw frozen food is to take out the desired amount, place in a freezer bag and cover it in the kitchen sink in a bath of cold water. 8-ounce patties thaw in under 2 hours. Smaller patties take 30-45 minutes.

Here’s a tip on freezer bags. When you are ready to thaw the last of the food, use the manufacturer’s bag instead of another freezer bag. Saves a bag and serves as a reminder that you need to purchase more.

The second method is the counter thaw. You can leave the desired amount out on the kitchen counter to thaw in a resealable refrigerator bag or an air-tight container. This method takes about as twice as long as the sink thaw. So, 3-4 hours for the 8-ounce patties and 1 hour for the 1-2-ounce variety.

The refrigerator thaw is the final way to thaw raw pet food. Put the desired amount in a resealable bag or airtight container. Thaw the food in the refrigerator overnight or for approximately 8 to 10 hours during the day.

Here’s another tip for you: The three same methods apply to thawing bone broth and goat’s milk. Both are great supplements that come frozen and need to be thawed. Goat’s milk is a natural source of probiotics, important for digestive health. Bone broth is rich in fiber, protein and calcium.

Chubs, also known as  logs, are very cost effective but require a pre-step to the methods just described, unless you are planning on using the entire amount in three days. The recommended way to portion out a chub is to thaw slightly in a bath of cold water in the kitchen sink until it is softened enough to be cut with a serrated knife in half, thirds or quarters. For a one-pound chub, about 30 minutes. The largest chub, 5 pounds, will require about 90 minutes to soften enough for cutting. Freeze the remainder until needed and continue the complete thawing either through the counter, sink or refrigerator method.

Learning how to properly thaw raw pet food is very important for both you and your pets. Remember to always wash your hands after handling raw food, wash any utensils used and wipe down countertops. If you have any questions, stop into Goodness for Pets! We are here for you and care about your pets.