10 Quick Tips Regarding How Dog Food Is Made

Dog foods are special foods that are manufactured for meeting the nutritional needs of domesticated animals. These foods generally contain meat, grains, cereals, meat byproducts, minerals, and vitamins. Around 300 manufacturers in the US are producing more than 7 million ton of pet food products in a year. 

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Thus, pet owners have a wide choice of more than 3,000 different pet products, which include canned, dry, semi-moist pet food types and snacks such as kibbles, biscuits, and treats. But, do you know how dog food is made? Here is the explanation of this question.

Primary Ingredients

The primary ingredients used for making dog food are byproducts of poultry, meat, and seafood, soybean meal, and feed grains. House pets, horses, and livestock are some of the animals used in rendering.

The animal parts used in dog food include damaged carcass parts, cheek meat, bones, and organs such as kidneys, intestines, spleen, lungs, liver, udders, and stomach tissue.

how dog food made

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Besides, cereal grains such as corn meal, soybean meal, barley, cracked wheat, and cornmeal are used for improving the consistency of products and reducing the cost of raw materials. Water, blood, or meat broth are the liquid ingredients.

Sometimes, gelling agents, stabilizers, preservatives, and salt are also used. Gelling agents are used for getting greater homogeneity during processing. It is also useful for controlling moisture.

The ingredients used in a pet food vary depending on the type of dog food. However, the basic difference between a dry and canned dog food is the amount of moisture. He moisture content in canned foods is between 70-80 percent.

Generally, fresh meat products are used for making canned foods. But, the moisture content in dry dog food is not more than 10 percent. Corn gluten feed, bone meal and meat, oils, and animal fat are the additional ingredients in dry dog food. Manufacturers use more starch ingredients or amylaceous in dry dog foods for getting a meat-like texture.​

Different Stages in the Development of a New Dog Food

Formula Development

Dog food formulas are developed by a team of experts that include nutritionists, veterinarians, and behaviorists. Raw ingredients are evaluated during this stage for determining the functional qualities, digestibility, and availability.

Development of Product and Process

The dog food formulas are affected by many factors such as cooking duration, cooking temperature, and even the order. In order to conduct a test in the laboratories, the dog food manufacturers make small sample quantities.

They make adjustments for finding the best combination of nutritional enhancements, production capability, and production efficiency of every formula.

  • Analysis

A team of experts, including biologists, chemists, lab technicians, microbiologists, evaluates the test dog food formula for maintaining the proper levels of nutrients.

  • ​Palatability Testing

​Even if the dog food of a manufacturer is the most nutritious one, it will be worthless if the dog will not eat it. Thus, the dog food formulas need to be tested by dog taste-testers. Previously, manufacturers rely on pets in a research setting. But, today, they recruit dogs for conducting palatability testing in their home environment.

  • ​Digestibility Testing

​After conducting palatability test, researchers conduct various other tests for understanding the nutritional content required in a dog food.

They also conduct tests to find out how much of nutrients in a dog food is absorbed by the body of a dog. It is also essential to understand how much these dog foods contribute to the health and well-being of pets.


Making a complete and balanced dog food that provides all the nutrition required by a dog is very complex. According to veterinarians, around 42-48 essential nutrients are needed for dogs. If you want to provide the required nutrition in a dog food product, it should contain 3-4 ingredients regularly. 

Before selling a dog food, the manufacturers check whether it is complete and balanced. It is essential for meeting the nutritional adequacy expectations of AAFCO. In-home usage provides you more realistic information.

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