History of Pet Kibble

History of Pet Kibble

In 1860 James Spratt, of Cincinnati, Ohio developed a biscuit made of wheat, beet root, vegetables and beef blood, hence, the first processed dog food was created. The idea for this product was sprouted from watching stray dogs eat hard biscuits thrown away by sailors and migrants coming off the ships in port at Liverpool. This new product was named Spratt’s Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes. This product began to sell well, and soon, other companies followed and began producing baked dog products too.

Another interesting fact to note in the history of kibble is the relationship between the founder of kibble and the founder of one of the largest dog event shows in the world, Crufts. This event is named after its founder Charles Cruft, who was none other than the General Manager of James Spratt’s company.

The 1930’s depression prompted dog owners to look to cheaper options for dog food. Fillers such as grains and cereal product were a cheaper method to feed their pets compared to meat. Canned meat products were introduced during the 1940’s, and in 1943 dehydrated dog food was introduced, with the instructions: “just add water.” The new dehydrated foods had many advantages in a business context. They were more shelf-stable and could be stored in warehouses, store shelves and homes for months. They were packaged, lightweight, and were easier to freight for both businesses and consumer.

After World War II, processed dog food sales picked up considerably. Mill operators, grain dealers and meat packing plants were finding that the pet food industry would pay for waste products that would otherwise be discarded.

Hence the beggining of the multi billion dollar commercial pet food industry.

Meat, “waste products” and grains were cooked together for many hours even days to kill bacteria and disease. The mix was then formed into pellets and thus dog food went the same way as processed pellets fed to horses and rabbits.

Around this time, the Purina Company developed new production technology called “extrusion”. The extrusion process consisted of mixing and cooking the ingredients together into a liquid form, and then mechanically pushing them through the extruder and then baking the pieces. Extruded dog food was not only larger and lighter they became popular with consumers due to the lower price.

By the late 1960s, the convenience of feeding canned or dry dog foods saw these products quickly increase in sales. The veterinary industry began promoting the idea that protein diets were incomplete, and needed to be supplemented with additional vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates .

The next advance in commercial dog food was specialty diets, formulated for specific diseases or disorders in pets. Dr Mark Morris DVM, founder of Hill’s Pet Products (Science Diet) was the first in the field to develop this idea.

The Purina Company quickly followed, along with several others. Only veterinarians offered these prescription products at first. Today, there are dozens of specialty diets available, including diets for specific breeds. For example, one of the most popular brands available, Purina’s Pro Plan Dog Food, includes varieties for sensitive stomach or sensitive skin, weight management, and formulas for puppies or senior dogs.

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