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Ditch The Dry – Reason 1 – How Kibble Is Made

Dr Nick Thompson

Author: Dr Nick Thompson
BSc (Vet Sci) Hons, BVM&S, VetMFHom, MRCVS

YouTube video

Feeding kibble has become the accepted norm for dog food over the last eight decades.

The pet food corporations have done a marvellous job of convincing dog owners that their products are ‘good’ for our canine companions, so much so that many people simply don’t question what is in it, how it is made and whether it is TRULY good for their dog.

As part of our ditch the dry campaign, we’ve asked Dr Nick Thompson (aka The Holistic Vet) to share with you ‘How Kibble Is Made’.

Be warned this may shock you!

Check out the video above or, for the readers among you; we’ve included a summary below of the main points. We’ve added the time stamp too so, if you want to watch a snippet of the video covering the topic you’re particularly interested in, we’ve got you covered!

0:20  Two of the biggest problems I have with dry food for cats and dogs is that they are made very aggressively. These two processes are called rendering and extrusion.

0:39 I want to tell you why I think these are very damaging to food

0:41 Rendering- A process whereby waste from farms or food animal production places is taken to a factory and put in a great big vat, cooked at high temperatures above 100 degrees C sometimes for hours to soften and boil down all the living tissue, including bones into a kind of a sludge, which they can then dry out and turn into a powder. 

1:34 That dry material then goes into a hammer mill and is pulverised into powder.

1:43 And that I think is really damaging because it’s just stewing, so all the vitamins will be destroyed and many of the minerals will be abnormally affected.

2:01 But in addition to that, what happens at these really busy rendering plants is that they will, accidentally in many cases, put in plastic bags. Six heads arrive in a bag, the whole thing will go in because they’re under time pressure these guys. The animals will arrive with ear tags and plastic airtight identifying tags and they can go into the mix as well. 

2:55 Not only are you dealing with meat meal, which has been overcooked and then pounded into powder, but you’ve also got plastics that were associated with the meats when they went into that rendering plant. 

3:21 So when that meat meal goes to the kibble factory, what do they do with it? 

3:29 Well, first of all, they will precondition it with hot water and steam. This is the first part of four cooking processes and you know what happens when you cook; you reduce the vitality and the nutrition density of that food. 

3:48 Okay, so preconditioning heated up into a kind of a Gloop. That Gloop is then pushed into a superheated tube, several metres long, which begins this cooking process. It breaks down starches into sugars, and it denatures protein. 

4:09 They then come out the end of the extruder as a kind of dry spaghetti, which is then chopped and you get these pellets which is the classic kibble.

4:24 Those pellets then go for enrobing round one, which is where they are dried under heat, intense heat, again cooking down starches into proteins and denaturing proteins.

4:45 They are then going for enrobing round two, which is where they are warmed and sprayed with liquids to balance the minerals and vitamins which have been denatured and killed. 

5:00  Often with a degree of rancidity, fats are sprayed onto it to bring up the level of the calories, so that high calorie or a low calorie kibble can be offered.

After knowing that, do you really want to give your cat or dog dry kibble?

You couldn’t get any further removed from food in its natural state, right?

No wonder ProDog advocates for a raw dog food diet!

To read more about kibble production check out Dr Nick’s blog “I Refuse To Feed Kibble: A Vet’s Perspective”. If you’ve landed on this video and not yet seen the other videos in this series you will find the rest on our ditch the dry page.

Explore our full grain free dog food range.

Dr Nick Thompson

BSc (Hons) Path Sci., BVM&S, VetMFHom, MRCVS. Founding President of the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society. Petplan Vet of the Year Nominee 2009, 2015, 2017, 2018 & 2020. The practice of the Year Nominee 2018.


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