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Article: How kibble (or dry dog food) is made

How kibble (dry dog food) is made

How kibble (or dry dog food) is made


The increase of pet deaths leading to pet food recalls, both here and overseas, has prompted conscious pet owners to take a closer look at their dog’s food.

As rightly they should.

The incidence of skin allergies and digestive problems has increased ten-fold over the last few decades and now, horrifyingly, 1 in every 3 pets will suffer from some form of cancer.

Ask an independent vet or animal nutritionist why this is so and they’ll likely tell you it stems from heavily processed kibble (dried) food which contains biologically inappropriate ingredients.

It’s the most widely used pet food on the planet, due mainly to its convenience, and yet many people don’t know how kibble – or dried dog food – is made.

And if you don’t know this information, you can’t make informed decisions on what to feed your pet.

So here’s a quick overview that simply states the facts on how kibble (or pet food) is made and what it is made of.

Firstly, let’s look at the ingredients. Kibble contains the following:

  • Meat Meal made from rendered meat by-products (livestock, seafood, horses and other dead animals)
  • Cereals and Grains (except grain free kibble)
  • Corn Gluten Feed (usually).
  • Fruit & Veg (sometimes and mostly powdered from China)
  • Preservatives
  • Stabilisers
  • Gelling Agents
  • Synthetic vitamins and minerals
  • Palatability Enhancers like yeast, fat, sweeteners or concentrated flavours

A quick note about Rendering:

Meat ready for rendering for dog foodRendering is a process that uses heat to separate fat and water from meat solids.

In the case of pet food, the initial product used for rendering can be anything from meat trim to euthanised pets. 

Once the meat solids have been separated from the fat and water, they are then heated again and ground to a powder.

The resultant product is what is known as Meat Meal.

Cereals and Grains

An enormous percentage of pet food is made using cereals and grains.  If these are the first thing listed on the pack, then it’s likely that the food contains 30% plus of this stuff.   It’s cheap – that’s why it’s used.  And it’s usually the waste product from the original grain, so it’s not even the good stuff.

Dogs and Cats are not built to eat cereals and grains.  It’s that simple.  They just can’t digest them well and as a result end up converting them to sugar, so they become overweight. 

Overweight dog

Too much grain can also cause digestion problems and skin irritation – not the least of which is from the mites that live in the grain that can be ingested.

Preservatives, Stabilisers and Gelling agents are required to keep the food shelf stable and to keep it ‘together’ for forming – as the ingredients are all in powder form, the kibble would crumble and fall apart if these ingredients were not used.

Synthetic vitamins and minerals need to be added to replace those lost in the production process.  These are sourced from China.

Because the ingredients have been subjected to very high temperatures, a lot of the original flavours have been lost so palatability enhancers are used so that your pets will eat it.


All of these ground powder like ingredients are mixed together with liquid.  This could be blood or just plain water.

The resulting ‘dough’ mix is then heated again so that it becomes malleable and put through an extruder at high pressure so that it forms into shapes or pellets.

The final process involves backing the shapes and then spraying them with colours and flavours.  This is done because the kibble is grey when it comes out of the extruder, and no-one would want to feed their pet grey food!

If you look closely at kibble, you’ll often see a ‘shininess’ – that’s the spray and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that green or pink pet food isn’t a natural colour.

This is how kibble is made.  The ingredients may differ slightly, and the original meat produce may have been human-grade, but the process is the same – regardless.

Kibble Dog Food

What’s the problem with kibble?

  1. Kibble is processed multiple times at extremely high temperatures, effectively killing many vitamins and enzymes, which then have to be replaced.
  2. Stabilisers, preservatives and gelling agents are needed to keep the product shelf stable.
  3. Pet food manufacturers purchase meat meal directly from rendering plants. It’s unlikely therefore, that they would know where the meat product came from originally, or indeed what the meat product was to begin with.
  4. Kibble contains colouring and flavours.
  5. Kibble can deteriorate very quickly. As soon as the bag is opened the fats can turn rancid.  Just keep a bag of kibble open for a few nights and watch it turn mouldy.
  6. If the kibble contains grain then it could also contain grain mites which live in the grain. These mites are ingested and cause skin irritation and health problems.

Frontier Pet food offers the perfect alternative.

Frontier Pet food offers the same convenience as kibble, but without any of the problems.

It’s made from produce purchased directly from farmers.

There’s no rendering involved and, because it’s freeze-dried, all of the ingredients integrity remains completely intact. 

It contains no preservatives, colours, flavours or gain.  Plus it’s GMO free and extremely low in carbohydrates.  It’s the ultimate dog food without any additives or preservatives.

We receive feedback from customers on a daily basis about how their dog’s health has improved massively since feeding them Frontier.  From long term skin conditions clearing up to digestive issues being a thing of the past.

For those with fussy dogs, probably one of the better outcomes is that dogs love Frontier – so it makes meal times a joy as well. 

It’s the best natural dog food around and we know that if we have a happy dog, we have a happy owner.

To view a quick video explaining all of the above, go to:

Video on how kibble is made

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