Pets may not be a novel concept, but pet food is. In truth, pet food did not exist two hundred years ago. Horses were simply fed grass, oats, grains, apples, and anything else was available in huge amounts at a low cost. Dogs and cats subsisted primarily on leftovers of meat and grains left over by their owners. It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century, when the American James Spratt was living in London and spotted dogs eating leftover biscuits in a shipyard, that the notion of manufacturing pet food was examined.
Spratt made bone-shaped cookies out of wheat, vegetables, beets, and beef blood, which he sold as dog food. They were an instant hit. By 1890, he had begun mass-producing his dog food in America under the name Spratts Patent Limited. Some years later, shortly after the First World War, a brand of dog food called Ken L Ration was produced and distributed in America, which contained horse flesh. The American authorities saw it as not only a cheap but also profitable method of disposing of deceased horses.
Until now, the only pet food available was targeted to dog owners. However, Gaines Food Co. realised in the 1930s that almost as many people maintained cats as dogs, so they created the first canned cat food. At the same time, they introduced dry beef meal dog food, which had a longer shelf life. Sales of pet food in America had reached $200 million dollars by the conclusion of World War II, so it’s surprising that no one thought of it earlier.
Spratts was acquired by General Mills in the 1950s, and Spillers, a dog food manufacturer located in the United Kingdom, purchased it the following decade. Spillers still makes bone-shaped biscuits that are remarkably similar to Spratts’ originals. Firms such as Quaker Oats and General Foods saw pet food as a way to profit from surplus materials that they would otherwise have thrown away, and as a result, more pet food companies arose. To maximise profits, many of these companies hired veterinarians to recommend them, advising pet owners not to give anything other than this pet food.
Today, physicians and pet owners recognise the need of a complete and varied diet that demands more than dry pet food alone. Many of the soft, moist pet diets available today are great and give practically all of the nutrition that your pet requires, while supplements are occasionally required to ensure that they are not deficient in any critical vitamins or minerals. Every day, over 5 million kilogrammes of pet food are produced, not just for ordinary pets like dogs and cats, but also for small animals and horses, which are now kept as pets rather than for physical labour.
In recent years, there has been a greater understanding of the benefits of natural and organic food for humans, but food experts are also realising that this offers advantages over normal diets for our pets as well. Normal pet meals are highly processed, and ingredients for pet food are nevertheless permitted to come from animals that are dead, dying, diseased, or crippled, and substances that are not permitted for human eating, such as cow brains, are permitted in specific pet foods. It is therefore prudent to always read the label to determine whether your tin of natural fussy cat wet food food is produced from fresh chunks of meat or ground bones and offal. Many manufacturers, however, have capitalised on our rising desire to feed our dogs excellent, wholesome food, and it is now possible to purchase dog, cat, and other animal food produced from top cuts of meat and veggies.
There has also been a tremendous advancement in the breadth of equestrian supplies available, such as hoof care products that were not available a century ago, as well as in small pet supplies such as specific food for hamsters and guinea pigs. You can even buy kitten milk because there is some controversy about whether it is healthy for them to drink cow milk. It is also now feasible to buy pet food online, giving everyone access to a wide range of pet foods and allowing you to search for the best brands at the greatest costs.