How Canned Dog Food is Made

It’s important to understand the processing of your dog’s food. A safe manufacturing environment and strict testing measures help ensure your dog won’t get sick on his next meal.


Melt the Ice

Days ahead of the time the intended batch will be mixed, cooked and packaged, the meat must come out of the freezer and thaw in a refrigerated room.


Mix It Up

Once the meat partially thawed, it is fed into a machine to be ground up and steamed. The machine will either make the meat shredded or ground. Another option is to make meat meals at this point.
The meat now waits for the next step.


Pass the Gravy, Please

Now a gravy will be made using either broth leftover from the steamed meat or water. The liquid heats up in a huge kettle.  The manufacturer adds ingredients like eggs, flour, gums, vitamin and mineral supplements, and fat sources like oils.

Meat, vegetables, and fruits are added after the gravy is mixed. The meat ingredients may be freshly cooked, dry meat meals, or fabricated meat chunks (a combination of meat meal, protein powders and usually glutens to hold them in pieces). The vegetables and fruits can be added whole, chopped or powdered.

The ingredients are heated together and well mixed.



At this point, the company takes out a sample from the batch to test for its nutritional adequacy. Fat, protein, moisture content, fiber, and ash are all checked for the right range of percentages.


The food is now dispensed into cans. Boiling water washes the cans before being filled. The machine then seals them and checks the weight of the can. The manufacturer must evaluate the temperature of the can’s contents, and the vacuum pressure inside at this point. Then they stamp on the batch code and “best by” date to the bottom of the can.


The Final Cooking

The cans are arranged in a machine called the retort to be pressure steamed. This cooks the final raw ingredients like vegetables, activates gums to gelatinize, and sterilizes the cans.

After this stage, the cans are ready to be stored, shipped out and sold.


– Cassy Kay






Kerns, Nancy. “An Inside Look at How Canned Dog Food is Made.” Whole Dog Oct. 20, 2011. Web. Aug. 17, 2017.  <>







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