Animals have been a part of human life since the cavemen era. During that time, also they kept animals with them to protect them and help them in hunting. Dogs have been favorite pets and the best companion for humans. So let us today learn about are the ingredients of dog food, and what dog food is made of in most parts of the world. We will also cover the types of dog food.
1. What is Dog Food?
Dog food is a dry or wet substitute for meat or biscuits. Dogs are carnivores but are assumed to be omnivores that can consume vegetables and meat. But their sharp teeth and shorter gastrointestinal tract are for eating and digesting meat, just like other carnivores. Since dogs have been living with humans for a long time as the guard dogs for their herd of animals, they learned and adapted themselves to survive on the human food which was left by their master at the table or fed by them. (Also read What Do Possums Eat?)
2. What is the History of Dog Food?
- The food that dogs ate has been mentioned in records of 37 BCE by Virgil, a Roman poet during the Augustan period. According to him, Spartan Hounds and Mastiffs were fed whey which is curdled liquid remains made from the remaining milk. (Also read Interesting History of French Fries)
- In 70 CE, a Roman agricultural writer mentioned in his book, On Agriculture about different food items given to dogs. These items include barley mixed with whey to make it a convenient food for dogs.
- Other writers and authors mentioned what dog food is made of in their records. They discover different types of food that were given to dogs during different eras. This food included milk and meat with fat, bran bread, heart and blood of stag mixed with milk bread and cheese.
- Nicolas Boyard, a French writer, mentioned in his work in 1844 that a dog should never be fed meat scraps and tallow graves because it can make them sick. A sick dog got chopped meat, bean broth, buttered eggs, or goat’s milk. All these food were considered best and beneficial for dogs until veterinary nutrition emerged in the late 1800s. (Also read Fascinating History of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups)
3. What is the Story Behind the First Dog Food?
Americans learned about specific food items for the dog to help them grow better and improve their health. But until the 1800s, there was no particular food that was specifically for dogs only. An electrician named James Spratt traveled from Ohio to the United Kingdom with electrical poles to sell them. He noticed that dogs were eating the hardtacks (hard biscuits made for sailors from flour, water, and salt). He felt bad but, an idea struck his mind. He understood that dog owners need food with a long shelf life in comparison to meat and other eatables. (See 7 facts about dog sled teams)
He made the first dog biscuits and named them Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes. These biscuits were made from a mixture of vegetables like beetroot, wheat, and dried unsalted gelatinous parts of prairie beef. What dog food is made of, and where did he get his prairie beef, he kept it a lifelong secret. Ever since then using his marketing skills and strategy, he started selling the first packed dog food. (See Legend of the Pretzel)
4. What were the Initial Stages of Dog Food?
- After the production of Fibrine dog biscuits started in the 1860s, another company started selling its new product named Milk bones in 1907.
- After World War II ended in 1918, the ultimate supply of horses resulted in excessive horse meat that became the ingredient of dog food.
- Ken L-Ration brand was the first one to launch a canned dog food. The first dry-packed dog food was manufactured and supplied in 1941.
- Then in 1956 first kibble-sized dog food was manufactured through a process called extrusion (a process to produce large quantities of staple food with longer shelf-life).
- Then in 1968, veterinary diets were introduced in the market that caters to the need of dogs with different health conditions like kidney or liver problems.
Ever since the first kibbles got introduced in the market, dog food manufacturers witness an upward growth in this industry. (Also read Who Knows The Coca Cola Recipe?)
5. What Dog Food is Made of?
There are several companies now manufacturing dog food on national and international levels. The type of ingredients used in the dog food is usually the same except for a few depending on the manufacturing company. What dog food is made of? These are the main ingredients of most dog food available today:
- Cereals, grains, vegetables,
- Meat, meat products,
- Stabilizers, gluten-free corn,
- Synthetic vitamins and minerals, preservatives, gelling agents,
- Palatability enhancers like yeast, fats, concentrated flavors, and sweeteners.
According to the AAFCO, animal pet food may contain by-products, obtained from an animal that has died from sickness or some disease. They may also include cow brains and spinal cords. The pet food prepared in the United States is usually formulated to be complete and balanced, as such, it provides for all the nutritional requirements of the pet. (Also read What is Yellow Mustard Made of?)
6. What are the Different Types of Dog Food?
Dog foods are found in two varieties, dry and wet (or moist). Dry food is also known as kibbles. The moisture content is different in dry and wet food.
- Dry food has the least amount of moisture, and therefore it has a longer shelf-life. The moisture content in it ranges between 3 to 11 %. Several dog owners prefer dry dog food because of its disadvantages.
- Then comes the semi-moist food that has a moisture content between 25 to 35 %.
- Canned or wet food has the highest moisture content ranging between 60 to 90 %. (Also read 54 Best Dip for Chip Fries and Tortilla)
7. What are the Pros and Cons of Dogs Food?
What dog food is made of is a factor that defines the advantages or disadvantages of these foods. Dry food has pros like it can be stored for long periods and is easy to feed. It is also cost-effective and has high energy content in it. Wet food is easier to eat and is much tastier than dry food. It has a high content of protein and fats.
While the cons of dry food are that it can contain more preservatives for increasing its shelf life. The taste of dry food is not much diverse from one another and is less tasty than wet food. The amount of grains used in it is high, and sometimes dogs are allergic to certain grains and can develop health issues if fed that food. Wet food also comes up with one main disadvantage, it leads to rapid weight gain because of its high content of proteins and fats. (Also read Is Nougat Healthy?)
8. What type of Diet is good for Dogs?
Diet depends on different factors like dog’s age, breed, health status, special needs, weight, and allergies if any. Different types of diets are the raw diet, hypoallergenic diet, low carbohydrate diet, vegan dog diet, low-protein dog diet, and senior dog diet. What dog food is made of is based on which type of diet it is being manufactured.
- Raw diet includes edible bones, meat, and other organs of chicken, mutton, or beef. It is available in the market, but it can also be prepared at home. This kind of diet should not be fed in excess because sometimes the meat present in packed food is not fresh and can harm the dog.
- A hypoallergenic diet is for dogs who have allergic reactions towards some food items. A pet owner must take note of food items to which their dog is allergic. This kind of diet contains proteins and other nutrients in a limited amount, making it easy for the dog to digest. The two main ingredients in this kind of diet are hydrolyzed protein and novel proteins.
- A low protein diet meets the standards set for cats and dogs. It is similar to the low-carbohydrate diet because it provides a limited amount of carbohydrates that maintain weight control. However, it has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, before selecting such a diet, you should consult a veterinarian. This kind of diet includes a vegan diet and a senior dog diet.
- What dog food is made of, in vegan dog food is animal cruelty-free, which means no animal products or animal by-products are used to manufacture this kind of dog food. The nutrition provided from these animal-based products is replaced by plant-based nutrition. You know, your pet best than any of these diets so, choose wisely what type of food and diet is best for your pet. (Also read 20 Revolutionary Diet Plans to Lose Weight)
9. What Food is Dangerous for Dogs?
These food items can lead to severe health problems in dogs. Many human foods like mushrooms, fatty foods, and macadamia nuts are harmful to dogs.
- Nutmeg is neurotoxic to dogs.
- Chocolate cause theobromine poisoning.
- Kidney failure happens due to grapes and raisins.
- Garlic causes allyl propyl disulfide poisoning.
- Onion leads to thiosulfate poisoning, and some dogs are lactose intolerant.