Dog food is big business. A global dog food market report by IMARC Group, the dog food industry was worth a staggering $53 billion (US dollars) in 2019. With a range of different diets, food types and recipes it’s no wonder dog owners struggle to choose.
Traditionally, dry pellets were the go-to product for dog food. The very first dog food brand was produced in 1860 by an electrician named James Spratt. He had traveled to London selling metal rods and noticed dogs eating the scraps of hardtack, a dry biscuit made of flour and water that sailors ate on long journeys when they needed non-perishable food.
Spratt noticed a huge gap in the market for mass-produced dog food. At this time, pet owners were still feeding their dogs mostly off table scraps. He produced Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes, which were a dry biscuit made from wheat, vegetables, beetroot and dried beef. Interestingly, he never actually confirmed where he sourced the meat for his dog biscuits.
This led to a whole new market opening up, although the biscuits were expensive, so he marketed towards the wealthy gentry who could afford to pay the higher price. In 1889 Spratt purchased the entire front page of advertising in the first American Kennel Club magazine.
In the following decades and after tinned food was rationed during the war, more companies joined in the dog biscuit market. They started using extrusion machines to cook the ingredients at higher temperatures, but also lower the cost of production. This meant they could offer their products at a cheaper price, but more people could afford to buy it.
Today, dry dog pellets are just one part of a huge industry. If you don’t want to feed dry, you can feed tinned wet food, pouches, paté or raw. Dry pellets are still one of the most popular choices for several reasons:
- They have a long shelf-life.
- Do not need to be refrigerated.
- Can be feed as a complete diet.
- Cheaper than other food types.
- Good for dental hygiene.
Whether you choose a recognized brand or one of the newer health-conscious brands, dry pellet dog food has a lot of benefits. With so many different cooking methods now available, the production of dry food on a large scale is no longer as expensive as it once was. This means companies can pass those savings onto their customers.
Many brands of dry pellet food are now using local sourced meat from suppliers with high animal welfare and ingredients that are pesticide, additive and grain-free. Dog food has certainly come a long way from wheat biscuits and table scraps!