When it comes to choosing a commercial pet food for your dog, your first big decision is whether to go with canned or dry food. Many dogs prefer canned food because it has more flavor and a more meat-like texture. Canned food can be more expensive than dry food, however, and it is higher calories so it can be difficult to find the right amount to feed your dog. In order to truly understand the difference between canned food and dry food, however, you should think about how the two products are made. In this article you will receive an overview of the production process for canned dog food.
Production of Canned Dog Food
Every brand of dog food has its own unique formula and list of ingredients, but most canned dog foods are produced using the same methods. In order to gain a thorough understanding of canned dog food you must consider how it is made. The process through which canned dog food is made was actually developed by the French army during the early 1800s. Since then, the process has been improved upon, but the basic principles are still the same. Below you will find a list of steps in the production process for canned dog food as well as an explanation of each:
- Raw Ingredient Assembly and Grinding – The first step in the process is, of course, to assemble the raw materials. Each pet food manufacturer has its own list of ingredients for each formula but the base for most canned dog foods is some type of meat. Fresh and frozen meats are used in canned dog foods and they are assembled then ground into small pieces in large batches. After grinding, the meat product is blended with vitamins and minerals (and sometimes grains) to form the raw product.
- Mixing and Cooking – After the raw materials have been assembled and ground they are transferred to a mixer for blending. As the materials are blended, the temperature in the mixer increases so the starch ingredients start to gelatinize the proteins begin to denature – this process serves to improve both the flavor and texture of the final product. Canned foods made with carbohydrates must be cooked at higher temperatures than those that do not in order to ensure that the starches are fully cooked.
- Filling and Sealing the Cans – Once the product is thoroughly blended and cooked it is transferred to a filler/seamer machine. This machine serves to fill the cans and add the lids, seaming them to seal the cans completely. This type of machine can seam as many as 300 to 600 cans per minute and they usually blow steam over the top of the cans as the lid is added so that the can becomes vacuum-sealed as the product and the can cool. This helps to prevent the ingredients in the can from spoiling.
- Sterilizing the Cans – The final stage in the process, after the cans have been filled and sealed, is to sterilize them. The cans are transferred to a machine that heats them up to 121°C for a period of three minutes to kill any potentially dangerous bacteria like Clostridium botulinum. After the cans have been sterilized they are allowed to cool before labeling and distribution for sale.
In selecting a high-quality commercial food for your dog, you have to consider a variety of different factors. In addition to thinking about the ingredients that go into a particular formula you should also think about the production methods used. If you are serious about choosing a high-quality canned food, consider doing a little research into the methods used by various manufacturers to ensure that the highest standards of quality and sanitation are being met by the company. Once you’ve chosen a reputable manufacturer you can compare different brands and formulas to find a good fit for your dog.
Recommended Canned Foods for Dogs
Because most commercial canned foods for pets are made using the same production methods it may be a better judge of quality to consider the ingredients used. You still need to make sure that the company follows sanitary production methods but after you’ve determined this you then need to look at the ingredients list. Below you will find a selection of high-quality canned foods for dogs that are made using high-quality ingredients and safe, sanitary production methods:
Nature’s Variety Instinct
The Instinct line of canned foods from Nature’s Variety are designed to be free from gluten, grains, and all fillers – this makes them a high-quality, high-protein option for canned dog food. This line of dog foods is made with 95% fresh meat and liver with minimal carbohydrates to ensure digestibility and well-balanced nutrition. The Instinct Originals line of canned foods includes formulas made with chicken, beef, lamb, duck, venison, rabbit, salmon, and pork. The Instinct Limited Ingredient line of canned foods includes formulas mad with turkey, lamb, duck, rabbit and pork. Nature’s Variety also offers one canned food specially formulated for weight reduction. If you are looking for a high-quality canned food that comes in a variety of different flavors and formulas, the Instinct line of canned foods from Nature’s Variety may be just what you need.
Blue Buffalo Blue’s Stew
The Blue’s Stew line of canned foods from Blue Buffalo is made with large chunks of fresh meat in a savory gravy that is sure to wet your dog’s whistle. This line of canned foods comes in six different flavors including Summertime Feast, Hearty Beef Stew, Country Chicken Stew, Hunter’s Stew, Irish Lamb Stew, and Tasty Turkey Stew. All of Blue Buffalo’s Blue’s Stew formulas are free from wheat, corn and soy – they are also made without chicken or poultry by-product meals and without artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Fresh meat is the first ingredient in each formula, followed by broth and water to ensure moisture. Other notable ingredients including organ meats, egg, fresh vegetables, and fruits as well as a variety of vitamin and mineral supplements.
Wellness Core Canned Food
The CORE line of wet foods from Wellness are made without grains and are available in six different formulas. These wet foods are made with high-quality sources of animal protein like turkey, chicken, salmon, whitefish, beef, venison, duck, and turkey – there is even a weight management formula made with a combination of poultry and seafood ingredients. This line of wet foods is guaranteed 100% grain-free and each can contains five sources of protein with more than 50% more protein than the standard Wellness line of wet foods. In addition to being loaded with protein, the CORE line of canned dog foods utilizes carefully regulated levels of vitamins and minerals for maximum metabolic function and optimal health. It also includes a blend of fish and flax oils for healthy skin and coat.
Merrick Grain-Free Canned Food
The Grain-Free line of dog foods from Merrick are made with real meat as the first ingredient and they are guaranteed 100% grain-free. These wet foods are produced in the USA, made from locally-sourced ingredients so you can rest assured that the highest standards of quality are being met. The Grain-Free line of dog foods from Merrick includes six basic recipes made with 95% real meat as well as four chunky dinners and two classic recipes. In addition to high-quality sources of protein, the Grain-Free line of dog foods from Merrick is also made with farm-fresh fruits and vegetables and a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Not only are these formulas high in quality, but they are loaded with flavor as well.
Canidae Grain Free PURE Canned Food
The Grain Free PURE line of canned dog food from Canidae is made with only the finest ingredients and they are simmered in broth, not water, to ensure maximum flavor. These canned food formulas are packed with protein and free from grains to ensure well balanced nutrition. The Grain Free PURE line of canned foods from Canidae includes four adult formulas – Elements, Sea, Land, and Sky – as well as a Foundations formula for puppies. Canidae also offers a Life Stages line of canned foods for both puppies and adults, using high-quality protein sources like chicken and lamb. All of Canidae’s products are made in the USA using high-quality ingredients and sanitary production methods.
Choosing a high-quality commercial food for your pet is not easy because there are so many different options to consider. A good place to start is with the manufacturer because if the product isn’t produced with high-quality ingredients following a sanitary production method, the product won’t be good for your pet.