Put simply, there are currently two main ways to produce dry pet food – baking or extruding.
Extrusion is typically used in larger more industrialised processes. The extrusion process that the food goes through uses machines that were originally created to create breakfast cereals. The machines are incredibly efficient and help companies produce large quantities of nutritious, shelf-stable pet foods. In fact, the extrusion process is used widely in the food industry; it’s not just for pet food.
The extrusion process itself works by combining the wet and dry ingredients in the recipe to make a doughy mixture. This mixture is then put in a machine called the expander that cooks it using pressurised steam or hot water.
Once cooked, the dough is then forced (or extruded) through specially sized and shaped holes (called die’s), where it is cut off by a knife. It’s critical that this part of the process is done while the dough is still compacted from the high pressure because as they begin to cool the dough pieces start to puff up. Leaving you with the dry biscuits that most people are familiar with.
How does this differ from baked?
Compared to extrusion the baked kibble process is quite straightforward, and as you’d expect. For baked kibble, the recipe is prepared and then baked. The big difference is that this simplicity takes a little longer.
The difference with baked isn’t only in its simplicity. Baked kibble retains more of the ingredients natural goodness, and also more of the foods flavour and aroma. Which is all great news for your dog.