How many times is your dog food cooked?
Purina manufactured the first dry food made by extrusion in 1956. Before Purina’s kibble, the only commercial dog food came in a can. Today, kibble is the best-selling pet food. How many steps does it take to make a bag of kibble? Let’s find out.
Step #1: Combining
Kibble is a dry baked product.
It starts as a dough. The dough includes raw meats, meat meals, ground grains, supplements, colors, preservatives, and any added ingredients like vegetables and fruits. Manufacturers heat the mixture before putting it in the extruder. This initial heating is the first cooking for some of these ingredients.
Step #2: Extrusion
The extruder then steam cooks the dough, the second cooking for the ingredients. The extruder also pushes the dough through diet-cuts to shape the kibble.
Step #3: Drying
After the extruder, the manufacturer dries the kibble under heat. This totals three total cooking steps. Then they spray the kibble with fats and flavor enhancers.
However, there’s one more step to the cooking process for some unfortunate ingredients. Some pet foods use pre-cooked ingredients in the dough. Meat meals and starches like peas, and potatoes, are all cooked before they reach the manufacturing plant.
Meat meals are made by grinding the meat and cooking it to separate the moisture from the solid. It becomes a meat meal with drying.
Similar processing occurs for peas, potatoes, tapioca, jicama, corn, rice, and other “grain-free” starch replacements.
In total, renderers and manufacturers cook the ingredients as many as four times and as few as three. This essentially renders the “food” inert. Dead. That’s why the supplements are added to the formula. All that cooking destroyed the delicate vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
The whole process looks like this:
Your pet’s food is finally dead. It is weighed, packaged and stored in warehouses across the country. Then it is shipped to stores for you to make your choice.
I hope now you can see why we highly recommend adding fresh food to a kibble diet. Fresh meat, vegetables, and fruits can add missing nutrients that your dog needs to have “complete and balanced” nutrition. They can aid digestion and add some fun to your dog’s meal!
Check out our Healthy Additions series to find some whole foods to add to your dog’s diet!
– Cassy Kay
Thixton, Susan. “How many times are Ingredients cooked in Kibble Pet Foods?” Truth About Pet Food.com. Sept. 9, 2016. Web. Aug. 16, 2017. < http://truthaboutpetfood.com/how-many-times-are-ingredients-cooked-in-kibble-pet-foods/>