When was Dog Food Invented – A Flashback into its Emergence

When was the lightbulb invented?

When was penicillin discovered?

Lots of people have correct answers to the questions mentioned above, as with many others. Unfortunately, this knowledge is limited when it comes to knowing their dogs.

From our stance of pet parents, lovers, and animal rights activists, we care about our canine companions. We see them for who they are, as assets. 

Their safety and general well-being are of utmost priority to us. As a result, other than meeting their dietary requirements, we will love to know what their meals consist of.

In the bid to do this, we will explain particularly the evolution of dog food. These meals, as well as some brands, have been around for a long time. Some of them, for as long as ourselves.

Therefore, we will look back at the factors and the trends of dog food production from several years ago.

For as many dog parents and lovers asking, this article will give answers to the long-awaited question of “when was dog food invented?”
If this is your aim, you are at the right place and should simply read on.

If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here.

Video: When was Dog Food Invented (A Flashback into its Emergence)

What Did Dogs Eat Before Dog Food Emerged?

Before dog food emerged, dogs fed on leftovers of human meals. Some were allowed to source for their meals as in the wild. This was a period when the animal rights movement was not a serious subject in many administrative quarters.

“What Did Dogs Eat Before Dog Food Emerged”

In some places, policies are formulated to perceive or accept dogs (and pets) as integral parts of the family and society at large. This highlights the importance of these amazing creatures as acknowledged by humans.

Undoubtedly, no presently living human being saw the emergence of commercial dog food. This explains several years ago, how the corporate acts of pet food production started.

The process was inspired by a couple of factors that will be highlighted and explained. However, there was a period before commercial pet food production. So, what happened?

Now we understand there was a time there weren’t kibbles, special treats, dog food in cans, raw meat products, and the likes. So, what did our furry friends feed on?

However, it will interest you to know that dogs haven’t always had the status of house pets at the very least. Before the industrial revolution, only a few dogs were treated and seen as house pets.

Many of them were stray dogs, feeding off dump sites, table scraps, and every pathetic opening around.

This is what most dogs did to survive. Unlike their wildlife counterparts (the wolfs), they had to exhibit their survival tendencies, as well as cope with the demands of civil society, as against wildlife.

During that period, the study of veterinary medicine was majorly tailored to meet the needs of livestock farmers. This was majorly about corporate practice, as against fending for a pet.

However, dogs had always proven their worth as assets during these times. For instance, there were hunting dogs. These dogs had the physical ability to kill hunted animals astonishingly.

Also, in some societies, fierce dogs were used as animal gladiators. They were either made to combat other dogs or humans. It is great to know this cruel habit is currently detested in many societies.

Furthermore, platforms to cater to the needs of hurting and homeless dogs were unavailable during this period. Before the late 1860s, the problem was not overcrowded animal shelters.

Rather, the problem was a lack of shelters. Humanity had not started giving back to the canine folks.

However, the late 1860s saw remarkable changes in the protection and welfare of dogs.

As instituted by a women’s group, the first dog rescue and care organization was formed. This inspired the formation of other shelters across the United States.

It is safe to assume the first established shelter was not birthed without inspiration from previous actions. For one, the works of Henry Bergh could be very important in this regard.

Shortly before the first shelter kicked-off in 1869, Henry Bergh pioneered the first animal rights protection group. This group was to curb the excesses of humans violating the health and sanity of dogs and other animals.

Majorly, it sought to readdress the negative trend of organized canine fights, as well as dogs used for laboratory experiments.

Considering the periodic trend, the early 1860s till the late 1860s was instrumental in the emergence of a great life for dogs. If there were to be an Independence Day for our furry buddies, it’ll be sometime around 1966 to 1970.

However, from a larger time frame, the aftermath of the industrial revolution, particularly the 1800s benefited the canine creatures. People began to take the wellbeing of dogs more seriously.

They were considered from these points as house pets and adequate companions. To be pragmatic;

The first commercial dog meal was created in 1860.

The first protection rights group formed in 1866.

The first shelter established in 1869.

These and many more highlights the tremendous turn around in the wellbeing of dogs from a human standpoint.

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Where and Who Invented Dog Food?

The name of the first producer of commercial dog food is James Spratt. James was not a veterinarian or animal nutritionist. He was simply an electrician from the state of Ohio on a business venture in the United Kingdom.

Interestingly, the emergence of commercial dog food had nothing to do with scientific research. Its story is more of a man who saw an opportunity and made the most of it. It had nothing to do with meeting the dietary needs of dogs.

“Where and Who Invented Dog Food”

Video: The History Of Dog Food | TruDog

The video explains the emergence and trends in dog food production

While in the United Kingdom, James Spratt noticed some dogs feeding off stale sailor’s snacks on the riverbank. Precisely, the snack was the hardtack.

The hardtack was a cheap snack that sustained sailors and other crewmen during a lengthy period on water. The constituents included water, flour, and salt.

Notably, this snack could remain intact for a very long time. As a result, it wouldn’t fall under the perishable class of meals.

James eventually abandoned his initial intent of visiting the United Kingdom. Instead of trading his lightning rods, he set out to develop a maiden brand of dog meal.

First, he identified that the snack tasted good to the dogs. This was as a result of how they consumed it, despite its stale condition.

Secondly, he decided to identify other things that will make it a treat for dogs. The actualization of this plan gave rise to the first commercial dog food product.

Considering that James was not a veterinarian or animal nutritionist, his product might have been questionable. For instance, the meaty constituents of his product were not known.

This is further complicated because nutritional reviews of that nature were not common in those days.

However, he added some things to his products. Such constituents include vegetables, wheat, beef blood, among others.

Also, veterinary medicine had not yet incorporated the part of animal nutrition during that period. Veterinarians were indeed given to treating animals.

However, until before the early 1900s, animal nutrition was not a developed arm of veterinary sciences.

Considering this, it is understandable that an electrician would have controlled the dog food industry.

As will be explained later, the trend changed in the 1900s, after the emergence of animal nutrition as a branch of animal sciences at large.

Asides from product reviews, commercial dog food will later develop to meet the demands of animals for every stage of their lives. For instance, puppies do not have the same dietary requirements as adult dogs.

For one, puppies need lots of food rich in calories. They should also be offered these meals as much as 3 to 4 times daily. This is opposed to adult dogs who can make do with 2 or 3 times daily.

Also, adult dogs are susceptible to arthritis and other forms of joint pain.

As a result, these commercial dog food products were tailored to meet the dietary demands of the various age range of dogs. Some products also took cognizance of health challenges and complications of some dogs.   

How Did James Spratt Conduct His Dog Food Business?

What James lacked in knowledge of animal nutrition, he made up for in business strategy. For a couple of reasons, James’ dog food was beyond the reach of the common man. This is especially because his products were expensive.

Regardless of this, he engaged aggressive advertisement strategies in raising sales. He targeted the economically advantaged gentlemen as his customers.

He did this by convincing them of the nutritional advantages of using the products. At a point, he got people (some influential) to carry out positive reviews on his products.

“How Did James Spratt Conduct His Dog Food Business”

As a matter of fact, for commercial reasons, he was close to a lot of animal show coordinators. These key stakeholders helped push for the publicity of the pet food. He also placed paid adverts on lots of news columns and journals.

For instance, he was the first to advertise on the American Kennel front cover. This incidence dates back to 1889. In particular, the major consumers of James’s products were sport dogs.

He made lots of sport dog owners believe the healthy effects of these products on the dogs. Many of these owners earned substantially, giving back part of the earning to the dog via this means.

For a while, James enjoyed a deserved monopoly of the dog food industry and made the most of it. For the records, James’ product was known as Spratt Meat Fibrine Dog Cake.

However, James Spratt had to let go of the company in 1890. In that light, a British company took over operations in the United States.

Eventually, this company explored the use of cans and eventually, kibbles became the order of the day.

Despite his inexperience concerning animal nutrition, James stressed the importance of feeding dogs according to their life stages.

He understood that at certain stages, dogs are more demanding and needing of some nutritional constituents.

This was one of James’s positive impacts as far as pet nutrition is concerned.

The Emergence of Competitors

As with every commercial facet, it was only a matter of time before competition set in. The other companies began to identify loopholes they could take advantage of.

One of such was in the meat constituents of James’s product.

As earlier stated, James’s dog cakes were not definite about the meaty components of the product. In fact, they were more like dog biscuits.

This explains how biscuits were the major components of the products. This was a major concern for many pet parents.

This concern was particularly for pet parents critical about their dog’s health and wellbeing.

This is because they identified that dogs benefited more from meaty inclined meals, as against other dog biscuits. They wanted what they considered real food for their dogs.

In that light, the intended real food needed alternatives that met the requirement. This is exactly what many pet food competitors took advantage of.

Secondly, the exorbitant price of James’s product was another loophole that was exploited. At the very least, these competitors provided more quality meals at cheaper rates.

As a result, as of the 1900s, a lot of people could afford to get commercial meals for their canine companions.

Also, the enticing packaging that canned products offered was an edge. Pet food companies became concerned about ease and convenience for their customers.

This triggered the use of cans as a viable way of packaging and preserving dog foods.

An example of such was the Ken-L Ration. In the early 1900s before the second world war, there was an exponential demand in canned dog food. On the other hand, horses were the sacrificial lambs of this era.

This is given how many pet food companies used horse meat as ingredients for dog food. The slaughtering of horses was very rampant in those times.

Over time, horses have emerged as pets and core sports creatures. Back then, horses were raised as livestock for meat. Commercial dog food manufacturers took advantage of this fleshy animal, especially given the price.

Every year, the meat of tens of thousands of horses were demanded by pet food producers. The sales of horses by livestock farmers were nothing short of enormous.

Considering this, some livestock farmers started raring horses solely for this purpose. The trend remained this way until the war started to take its toll on pet food production.

During the war, an alternative means of pet food packaging had to be sought. This was due to the restriction on the use of tin, glass, and some other things for irrelevant purposes.

For war purposes, the demand for tin was very high. As a result, the packaging of animal food in cans was classified as non-essentials.

The same also applied to meat consumption. The war did eat into the very fabric of the society, affecting the use of meat for purposes asides from human consumption.

As a result, other than the popular horse meat, an alternative major nutrient had to be sought as well.

That needed alternative did birth the production of dry dog food. Various experiments were carried out in this regard.

In the end, the cereal box sample was key to the birth of this trendy commercial dog food packaging. Hence, the kibble was invented.

Kibbles contain a variety of constituents depending on the purpose. However, the process used to manufacture human cereals, extrusion, was key to the evolution of kibbles.

This process applied heat pressure to various dry and wet constituents blended into various shapes and sizes. 

As it is, kibbles are the most popular type of commercial dog meal available. However, it was created as an alternative to meaty dog meals, due to the effects of the war.

The success of this product was also due to aggressive adverts and recommendations. For instance, a pertinent institute did sensitize the general public on the need to use kibbles solely for their dogs.

Over time, these strategies paid off, as the average dog parent began prioritizing kibbles over anytime else.

Also, the economic friendly price of the product contributed greatly to its success. Going back, this was a major advantage as against the earlier form of commercial dog food.

Furthermore, the success of kibbles saw products channeled to meet specific needs. As a rider, some kibbles were produced to address some health challenges better than others.

For instance, dogs with allergies had a wide range of alternatives that will eventually meet their requirements.

How Is Dog Food Business Operated Today?

Today, the dog food business is run with a lot of scrutinies. Asides from government inclined nutritional scrutiny, there are individual reviews from clients and professionals that influence the sales of dog food products.

The early era of commercial pet food production was largely a monopoly. The sole producers were in control of almost everything. This also included price control.

“How Is Dog Food Business Operated Today”

Furthermore, it was void of government interference especially in the part of product reviews.

However, the case is not the same any longer. Asides from government inclined nutritional scrutiny, there are individual reviews from clients and professionals that influence the sales of products.

This is given how many people believe in these ratings and evaluations.

As a result, for these corporate organizations, building a brand name requires paying attention to details and not overlooking anything.

The history of the government’s regulatory actions on pet food manufacturers dates back several years ago.

Precisely, the AAFCO was founded in 1909 to ensure that these companies meet up with the required standard for production and distribution.

They conduct periodic inspection of pieces of equipment used for production, as well as the final products.  

Periodically, a couple of products got recalls, haven violated the nutritional demands of pets. Sometimes, the losses could run into millions of dollars.

In plain terms, there is utmost transparency in the industry, especially compared to the earlier days.

An example of a government inclined evaluation team is the United States National Research Council. Teams such as these make a periodic re-evaluation of canine dietary requirements.

They expect that the pet food manufacturers will make products hinged on their research findings.

The findings of these organizations help lots of pet food manufacturers produce high-standard balanced and complete food in line with international standards.

What Is the Role of Steve Brown in Commercial Pet Food Production?

In the world of commercial pet food, the name Steve Brown rings a bell. He pioneered the invention and production of raw food as a variety of commercial pet food.

Dogs are omnivores animals just as humans. However, they get most of their dietary requirements from meat consumption.

In this regard, the invention of commercial raw food was a giant step in meeting the dietary needs of canine creatures.

“What Is the Role of Steve Brown in Commercial Pet Food Production”

Many pet parents are very busy. As a result, they cannot make out time to prepare raw meals for their dogs. However, thanks to the commercial raw products, the dogs don’t have to be left out of this important requirement.

Also, many people are concerned about feeding their dogs synthetic products. They are bothered about the preservatives and other items that are not made known.

This worry has been compounded by the various previous incidence.

For instance, in 2007, due to the toxin constituents in some synthetic pet products, over 271 pet health complications resulted in death. This loss affected over 5000 pet food brands.

As a result of this, many pet parents are very particular about the food intake of their dogs. While we are not ruling out commercial raw meals as artificial, the synthetic constituents are not as much as other kinds of dog food.

As an added advantage, commercial raw food is generally richer in nutrients than any other kind of dog food.

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What Is the Role of Technological Aid in the Distribution of Dog Food?

Online platforms allow you to get these products the easiest way possible. One added advantage is how you can read comments from previous clients and analysts.

The ease that comes with technological aid is reflective in the dog food market. As against the old tale’s method of buying through the store, you can get products delivered to you wherever you are.

“What Is the Role of Technological Aid in the Distribution of Dog Food”

Reviews and evaluations from experienced users can influence choosing a product.

Also, the prices are usually not affected by local situations. The prices are definite except for shipping cost, which does not always apply.

With the power of ICT, you have all these things within your beck and call. Furthermore, you can also keep tabs with regulatory reviews on products. Companies that have products recalled can be checked online before purchase.

During the pathetic 2007 situation, this is one loophole that was lacking. Many parents did not have access to pet product information as they currently do.

Finally, the evolution of dog food has been influenced by a lot of factors. This trend is not static and is always emerging. For example, world war II played its part in the emergence of box packaged meals and dry food for dogs.

As pet owners, we should pay the required attention to the food intake of our pet companions. They mustn’t be exposed to the wrong meals.

This is especially considering the inability of dogs to choose the appropriate meal. You can purchase the commercial pet below.

Furthermore, the choice of dog food should align with the stage and health condition of the dog.

You can also check out these in-depth articles/reviews…

When was Dog Food Invented – Related Frequently Asked Questions

What Did Pet Dogs Eat Before Commercial Dog Food?

Before the invention of commercial dog food, pet dogs were mainly fed leftovers from the tables of their owners. Items such as bread, grains, greens, and other meals were served to these dogs. Some dog owners allowed their dogs to use instincts to source for their meals. They believed that for a dog, things should be as real as in the wild.

This was a period when animal nutrition was not well explored by veterinary science. As a result, many dog owners did not know how best to feed their canines.

Which Human Meals are Bad for Dogs?

The following human meals, fruits, and vegetables  are bad for dogs:

  • Chocolate
  • salty meals
  • grapes
  • raisins
  • onions
  • garlic
  • Tomato
  • Ice Cream
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews

Several human meals are bad for your dog. As a result, you should not feed them or allow your canine to feast on them. They contain toxins that are bad for your dog’s health.

Because many of these meals taste good, you should be deliberate about keeping them out of your dog’s reach. This is important for canine parents.

Which Fruit Can Your Dog Eat?

There are several healthy fruits that your dog can eat. Examples include banana, carrot, and apple. These fruits have a reasonable amount of vitamins and potassium ideal for your dog. Many commercial dog food companies understand the importance of these fruits and add them to their canine edibles. As a result, you can serve your dog these fruits.

However, you should ensure you are not feeding your canine too much sugar. Some of these fruits have a high amount of sugar and should be taken in moderation by your dog.

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Do Dogs Do Better with Homemade Food?

Most dogs do better with homemade food. Dogs raised with homemade meals live longer lives than others. This is because such dog parents can particularly attend to the dietary needs of their dogs per time. Cooking homemade meals for your dog takes a lot of your time but it is always worth it.

If you choose to do this, you should ensure that the meals do not have toxic items. This is because some human meals are harmful to your dog’s digestive system.

Do Dog Food Contain Horse Meat?

The use of horse meat is prohibited in the making of dog food. In the early 1900s, horse meat was an important part of commercial dog food. However, this changed because of the war and animal rights effort. When purchasing any commercial dog food product, stay away from brands that are not detailed on their meat source. Dogs get most of their protein from meat and you need to be certain it is gotten from the right source. Healthy sources of meat protein for dogs include lamb, chicken, and fish.

Can You Give Your Dog Eggs?

You can give your dog eggs. They are great for your dog and contain a great deal of protein which is healthy for your dog. However, the manner at which it is presented is important. You should avoid serving raw eggs to your dog. Especially dogs with sensitive stomachs can have issues with processing this meal. Also, do not include the shell in the meal. The shell has an enormous amount of calcium that your dog may not be able to deal with.