Evolution of dog food. How much has dog food evolved and at what cost?
We don't think twice after reading the Nutritional Information on the label, not imagining what harmful dog food secrets could be packed within.
There used to be a time when dogs ate real food. This is a short account of the evolution of what dogs ate, from real food to so-called dog food.
Until processed dog food was introduced, dogs have lived well and long on a natural diet of table scraps or leftovers from their owners. Owners who were more particular would even make specially prepared meals for their beloved pets, just as they would take the time to feed their own children.
That was before the 1940s, before commercial dog food became widely popular for reasons of cost and convenience. Prior to that, in the year 1860, an electrician named James Spratt introduced the first processed dog food or dog cakes made from beetroot, wheat, vegetables and beef blood.
Other companies followed suit, coming up with canine food that was mostly baked. There were not too many secret ingredients back then in those early stages of dog food manufacturing, unlike the amount of untold items now being put in processed dog food.
During the Depression, the traditional practice of feeding dogs human food began to change as dog owners sought more economical options.
Meat was increasingly substituted with more grains, which were introduced with canned processed meat and dehydrated dog food in the 1940s. After World War II, the production and consumption of commercial dog food rose.
Manufacturers took advantage of the availability of inexpensive ingredients like grain hulls and discarded meat from slaughterhouses—basically discarded waste not fit for us humans to eat but apparently good enough for our pets.
From being a mere economical option, manufacturers were then set on marketing dog food as the sole nourishment fit for dogs, rationalizing that table scraps were not adequate for a dog’s complex nutritional needs.
Labeling became more elaborate and attractive, and different kinds of diets were introduced for special health conditions and different stages in a dog’s life.
Throughout the years, the evolution of dog food has gone further in so-called development as to include more and more preservatives and other secret ingredients.
Along with these advances in manufacturing that ensures longer shelf-life for the products is the rise in the number of early dog deaths due to diseases caused by these substances. Chemicals used in the processing of dog food have been found to cause various cancers, kidney failure and heart disease.
These days, people are becoming more and more aware of the nutritional requirements of their pets, but are still often deceived by tricky dog food labels. It is a fact that back in those simpler times when dogs ate natural food, their average lifespan was much longer that what it is today.
A good number of dog owners now go by a more enlightened way of feeding their pets, and have seen positive effects in the health of their dogs.
These owners share the idea of turning back to traditional ways of feeding and other beneficial dog food secrets. The result should be longer and happier lives for our favorite companions.