Origins of pet food
In the United States, almost 50% of households have at least one pet, and these furry family members have a big impact on our lives and on the economy. In fact, it’s estimated that spending on pets has grown from $17 billion in 1994 to more than $41 billion in 2016. A large portion of this spending goes towards pet food, which means that there’s a lot of money to be made in this industry. So, where does pet food come from?
The first commercially-produced pet food was created in England in the 1860s. James Spratt, an American living in London, observed that dogs were being fed leftover biscuits from ships. He thought that he could create a market for a food specifically designed for pets, and he patented his idea for «Spratt’s Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cake.» His dog cakes were made from wheat flour, vegetables, beetroot, and meat, and they quickly became popular.
While Spratt’s dog cakes were the first commercially-produced pet food, they were not the first pet food ever created. In ancient Egypt, cats were commonly kept as pets, and they were often fed fish. In fact, the Egyptian word for «cat» is «mau,» which is also the word for «fish.» Fish was not only a source of nutrition for cats, but it was also believed to have special powers, such as the ability to cure illness and ward off evil spirits.
Cats were not the only pets that were fed fish in ancient times. In China, it was common to keep goldfish as pets, and they were often fed boiled rice. This practice is thought to have started during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), when Buddhist monks kept goldfish in ponds as a way to symbolize enlightenment. The monks also believed that the goldfish had the ability to bring good luck.
Today, pet food comes in many different forms and flavors. It can be dry or wet, packaged or fresh, and it can be made from a variety of ingredients. The most important thing is that it is nutritious and safe for our furry friends.