When you decide to have a pet dog, you should acknowledge and accept the responsibilities that come with this decision. Since dog food is one of the basic needs of these canine buddies, you must be knowledgeable about it. It is essential for you to know what and how it is made of as well as its impacts on your pet.
The History Of Dog Food
History of mankind has included the presences of dogs with researches suggesting that they were domesticated as early as 2000BC. There were several references on the care and diet of dogs in different literary works of the past. The aristocrats of the early centuries recommended bones and meat, milk and eggs. A French count in the 14th century wrote a book about what his dogs should eat daily and when sick.
In the common man’s household from the Middle Ages, a dog’s diet is very much like that of its owners. The remnants of the family’s meals are then fed to the dogs. This is a practice that is present in some parts of the world even today.
Dog food started to be a commercial product when the relationship between man and dogs progressed from domestication to companionship. The first one was introduced in the 1800s as a dog biscuit made of beetroot, beef blood, vegetables, and wheat. It became a hit for the sporting dogs among the English gentlemen.
Why Use Dog Food
The evolution of dog food stemmed from the growing understanding of the body and health of these furry pets. Animal science strengthened in the 1800s and paved the way for greater interest in the nutrition requirement of animals. In the modern era, a myriad of things need to be done, and people are short of time. This is why it is best to opt for dog food than its alternatives. The product is manufactured based on the dog’s nutritional requirements. Basically, you do not have to worry about deficiencies of certain nutrients as these are provided already.
Presently, there are authorized bodies responsible for ensuring that products in the market are as per the standards. There are many research centers when on animal nutrition, and they all come up with developments and improvements to dog food. People do not have to spend time in uncertainty over their beloved pet’s diet and well-being.
What Are The Types Of Dog Food?
There are two main types of dog food in the market, dry and wet or canned. Most of them are made with animal feed grade ingredients, which are considered fit and safe for animal consumption. Dry variety of dog food, also called kibble, has a maximum of 10 percent moisture and produced through the process of extrusion. This is a popular type of dog food that many prefer due to its convenience and cost.
Wet dog food, on the other hand, comes in a can and has moisture by volume of 60 to 90 percent. Most of this type is completely free from bacteria as a function of the cooking stage of the canning process. Generally, this variety offers a higher level of either or both protein and fat due to the moisture content. Some pet owners add grain gluten to the mixture to have a feel of meat chunks in the dog’s meal.
Additionally, there are new alternatives in the market with various characteristics and made for different kinds of pets and owners. There is one in the unprocessed form usually referred to as frozen or fresh-prepared. The dehydrated variety looks very much like kibbles but is freeze-dried for moisture reduction purpose. The vegetarian one is made from plant-based sources of protein while the homemade version is from home-cooked dishes.
Making Dry Dog Food
The two main process of making food is related to the production of the dry and wet variety. The other newer types are simply a derivation of these two.
Extrusion is the process of making dog kibbles. It basically involves the use of an extruder, which is a machine made of three main parts; barrel, helical screws and a die. You then incorporate a fat distributor into some variations of the machine. The procedure starts with the mixing together of the feed ingredients together in solid form at room temperature. You then add water for it to be fluid enough to enter the barrel through a funnel-shaped structure connected to the barrel. Next, you mix the ingredients more thoroughly with the help of the heat in the barrel. You increase the heat level with the aid of hot water, steam as well as the shear stress applied.
The starch granules then start to achieve a gelatinous texture as a result of the pressure. At this point, you add the fat to the mixture. It is initially stored in a container connected to the barrel and fixed with a valve to keep fat from flowing back. Essentially, you add fat at this stage to incorporate it without having any effect on the expanding ability of the product.
The mixture then exits the extruder through the die opening. This exit point also serves as the cutting tool that gives the dry dog food its shape.
Making Wet Dog Food
Before canning, the mixture of ingredients forcefully passes an opening to get to a metal sheet. It then goes through the heating process that can take place in a microwave, oven or steam heating. Both the top and bottom sides of the tray containing the mixture is exposed to a heat of 77 degrees Celsius. After this cooking process, you then can the mixture or cut into chunks. The canned product goes through the retort process for sterilization purpose with the use of steam. It stays in the retort for around 75 minutes where the temperature is at 121 degrees Celsius. This process makes the product unyielding to the possibilities of getting contaminated or spoiled.
Common Ingredients In Dog Food
In addition to dog food processing, it is also important to be wary of its most common ingredients. These include bone and meat meal, animal digest, sucrose, and fructose as well as offal and certain animal by-products.
There is no denying the fact that dog food is a lot about the owner’s preference. Since these pets are family members for most people, it is a must to ensure that their diet is the best.
You May Also Interested In:
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- Signs of Dog Food Poisoning
- All You Need to Know About Dog Food Transition
- Does Dog Food Go Bad?
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