Have you ever thought about how strange it is
that dogs eat these dry, weird smelling bits of food
for their entire lives and never get sick of them?
How torturous would it be to be forced
to eat the same boring cheese sandwich
for every meal of the day for a decade on end?
Are we torturing our dogs?
As it turns out, no, dog food kibble
is a chemically custom tailored product
that meets every mark when it comes to
nutrition, diet, and the interesting eating preferences of dogs.
Once you see what dog food kibble is actually made of
you’ll come to find that the real wonder science behind it
is the chemistry used to tickle Sparky’s fancy
into thinking this stuff is to die for, when really it’s not.
Making the perfect dog food kibble is a scientific puzzle
because each bite needs to balance
a lifetime of nutritional requirements
with affordability, and of course, with palatability.
Though some dogs seem to eat just about anything.
To optimize nutrition and cost, some added ingredients
aren’t exactly what dogs would want to call food
so scientists had to create a solution to trick their senses
into thinking it’s something that it’s not.
Before we get into that, let’s take a look at
what’s inside a pellet of kibble
An organization called the Association of American Feed Control Officials
provide nutritional standards for dog food manufacturers.
There’s a whole bunch of different dog food formulas on the market,
some are designed for weight loss and others for richer coats,
but the overall ingredients are relatively standard.
These include grains, meats, fats, a vitamin/mineral pre-mix,
其中包括谷物 肉类 脂肪 维生素/矿物质预混料
and chemical additives for color and a long shelf life.
Yeah, your dog probably eats a better balanced diet than you.
Grains like wheat, rice, and corn, are added as
a source of starchy carbohydrates
that offer an inexpensive source of energy for dogs.
Since raw starch is not easy to digest, the grains are cooked
which makes the starch in them about 90% more digestible.
This allows dogs to extract more nutrients out of the grains,
giving Sparky that energy boost he needs
to play with his friends all day
Cooking the grains also gives kibble its shape and texture
by causing the starches to gelatinize
giving kibble a stable, bulky quality.
Some types of grain also provide fiber,
which makes using these little bags a lot easier
If you know what I mean
But when it comes to a dog’s choice of what they prefer to eat,
dogs will more often than not, choose meat over carbs.
Meats and meat meals are added as the primary source of protein in kibble.
Meat meals, are made from all the animal parts we typically don’t eat
like: scraps, guts, and bones.
如：残渣 内脏 骨头
These by-products are cooked and dehydrated
and end up contributing more protein to dog food than added meats.
Dogs will break down proteins in their small intestine,
into amino acids, which are crucial for muscle growth
and the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters
There are 10 essential amino acids that dogs need to survive
and all of those need to be included in a healthy dog food diet
so little Fido can hog your bed for years to come.
Fats are also an important source of energy in a dog’s diet
Little Scruffy’s skin and coat are greatly affected by fatty acids
and without the right ones, his hair can become dry, matted and well, scruffy
缺少合适的脂肪酸 小Scruffy的毛皮会干结暗淡 邋遢不堪
making him an aptly named dog.
So dog food manufacturers add in several types of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids,
to make Sparkles a more apt name.
Fats also add a little extra flavor, which is a big help
because a lack of flavor is kibble’s biggest problem, well, to a dog, anyway.
These crunchy, dry pellets are super bland, odorless,
and unattractive to dogs.
Not only are they made largely from grains,
a food that they would usually have nothing to do with
research has also shown that dried dog food has far less aroma than the wet stuff
The dog’s nose is around 10,000 times more powerful than ours,
and they rely heavily on their sense of smell
to hunt and scavenge for food in nature.
Keep in mind, flavor doesn’t just describe what’s happening on taste buds,
it also factors in aroma, so a food without a smell,
to dogs is really unappetizing
This is where flavor chemists come in.
They developed a custom built chemical aroma called palatants
that trick dogs into thinking these bland pellets have big flavor.
Palatants are sprayed onto the outside of dog food
similar to how we flavor potato chips
– the big difference is that,
Sparky doesn’t care for smoking hot barbeque
– he wants wild rotten corpse or raging roadkill.
Dogs are attracted to flavors that would make us gag,
like Putrescine and Cadaverine, two cleverly named compounds
that come from the breakdown of proteins
These two compounds quite literally smell like a dead body,
and for some reason, dogs absolutely love it.
Yeah, Max will be having the time of her life
when that zombie apocalypse finally comes
Flavor chemists build palatants off this bizarre preference,
which helps to give the bland, dried kibble a desirable disguise
to stroke Sparkle’s interest
Keeping your dog happy is keeping your dog healthy.
Flavor chemists use their genius to make these boring bits of food
into something spectacular to your dogs’ nose,
and we thank them for that
Oh, and believe me they’re on your side.
When making these artificial dog aromas, they factor in our sense of smell too,
so you know, we don’t vomit every time we open the dog food bag.
If you’re a music fan — which I’m guessing is most of you
— you should definitely check out Sound Field, the newest show from PBS Digital Studios.
Sound Field breaks down our favorite songs and artists
from all genres from Bach to Beyonce.
The show is hosted by two amazing musicians
Nahre Sol and “LA”Buckner
who even come up with an original song in every episode.
Check out Sound Field at the link in the doobleydoo below.
We love making videos about pets, and want to know
if you have any other pet related chemistry questions for us to answer.
Let us know down in the comments.
And be sure to like and subscribe on your way out.
Thanks for watching.
Have you ever thought about how strange it is