Most dry dog food manufacturers brag about having healthy ingredients or they have certain kibble for certain breeds. But what most companies don’t talk about how is their dry dog food made. Dog owners see the slobbery eaten food, but before they ended up in your dog’s stomach, they were ingredients and as they were transmogrified into magical lumps, but how the ingredients were morphed into the kibble can have a major impact on the quality and nutritional it will be for your dog.
Every dry dog food formula is unique, so every company has a different method they follow to create its own specific kibble. However, there are a few basic and common processes that many dog food manufacturers follow to create their product.
What’s in the dog food
Manufacturers can’t just use turtle brains or snakeskin in their kibble. Pet food is strictly regulated with a huge list of needs that requires to be met by pet food companies. The United States Food and Drug Administration manages pet food and their ingredients and is related to rules around pet food labels, ingredient approvals and ingredient definitions. Additionally, there are statewide regulations which are often more pressurized. States often follow the guidelines set by the AAFCO and are responsible for supervising the nutritional guarantees of every single product as well as the info included on the packaging label itself. All of these regulations are in place to explain the requirements for pet food production.
Every dog food starts with a recipe and a shopping list. Each company has it’s own mix of ingredients. These usually include some form of fat, carbohydrates and protein, as well as minerals, nutrients and vitamins. Recipes differ to accommodate big sized to small-sized dogs or exceptional needs such as reduced calories in their dog foods or specialized food for sensitive dogs. To make high-quality dog food requires high-quality ingredients.
Some pet food companies do not make their own food, they contract with another manufacturer to make and package the product for them.
How it’s made
There are many ways that dog food manufacturers make their kibble, but one of the most common methods is through extrusion. Once all the raw ingredients are obtained, they’ll be ground down and mixed together to create a paste or dough formed from the mixture. Extrusion is a process where the unfinished kibble is forced into a machine so that it can be reformed and transmogrified into different shapes, known better to you as kibble or known to your dog as ‘rations.’
This process can allow companies to efficiently mass-produce large amounts of dog food. However, these efficiencies come at a high fortune. The high pressures and temperatures required for extruding the dog food may damage the most vital nutrients found in the unprocessed ingredients, which means your pet might not be benefitting as much as you thought.
In conclusion, extruded dry kibble always need additional flavouring to rebuild what was lost in manufacturing. This process, which is called enrobing, sprays on a combination of rendered fat and additional liquids or flavouring powder to the finished kibble to make it tastier and more appealing to dogs than it would seem.