Have you ever wondered why your dog's kibbles and treats are perfectly shaped? 🧐
The modern day pet diet is mainly composed of commercial kibbles & treats and the most commonly used technology in manufacturing pet food is extrusion. Extruded kibbles and treats are convenient to store (storage life and compactness), aesthetically pleasing, and the cost is low. However extrusion destroys the vital nutrients available in raw food.
The diagram above shows a simplified process of how most pet food is manufactured today.
- Raw ingredients (dry and wet) are added to the mixing tank to form a dough under heat and steam.
- The dough goes through the extruder under high heat and high pressure and is forced through a shaping die where it's cut into the designed shape.
- The products goes through a drying oven where heat is applied once again to remove the remaining moisture.
Most commercial pet food goes through the heating stage 3-4 times before they get packaged. That's a lot of heating involved to make food.
That bag of kibbles advertising the inclusion of fresh salmon for healthy skin and coat is probably found in the ingredients list but the vital nutrients (like omega fatty acids) are probably lost during its way to the extruder.
That bag of treats you saw advertising the inclusion of green-lipped mussels for joint health again is found in the ingredients list but the vital nutrients (like glucosamine and chondroitin) are probably lost during the process.
As always, it's best to feed REAL fresh food if possible. If relying on commercial kibbles and treats, better alternatives are freeze-dried, dehydrated or gently baked food. Don't be afraid to reach out to the manufacturer to find out the source of the ingredients or the method of processing your dog's food. If they are confident with their product, they should be happy to talk about it with you.