There are several different types, or formats, of manufactured pet food including wet (can, pouch, tray), dry (extruded or baked), and complimentary treats. The method of production and the ingredients used vary according to format.
Wet foods are made by mixing recipe ingredients together and cooking them within the can, tray or pouch. The food in the container then remains sterile for the shelf life of the product or until opened. These products can be in the form of chunks in gravy, sauce or jelly, loaf or mousse.
Dry pet foods are made by mixing dry and wet ingredients together to form a dough. In the extrusion process, the dough is heated under pressure, then pushed through a die machine that cuts the kibbles. Kibble size and shape vary according to the product specification. The kibbles are dried, cooled and spray coated. Some dry foods may also be produced by means other than extrusion, such as baking.
Treats for dogs come in a variety of forms. In the EU, the majority are termed complementary as they are designed to complement main meal complete and balanced pet foods. In the US, the same products are generally identified as “treats” or “snacks.” In either case, they should therefore only make up a small percentage of the daily calorie intake. Feeding recommendations on some pet food manufacturers’ products suggest feeding no more than 10% of required daily calories.
Here are some of the most common ways to make treats for cats and dogs:
While each pet food manufacturer will have its own recipes, there are pet food safety standards and regulations that everyone must comply with. A responsible pet food manufacturer will take safety and quality very seriously and will have its own defined processes and standards that help ensure the safety and quality of its ingredients and products.
A responsible pet food manufacturer may also choose to implement external audits and voluntary certifications such as ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14000 through an external accreditation Institute (http://www.iso.org/iso/home.htm).