Nestle Purina Petcare:
- Began life over 100 years ago in 1902
- Developed the first kibble for dogs
- Was the first company to create a process to introduce real meat into dog kibble
- Spent 14 years over a dog’s lifetime exploring how food is linked to a longer canine lifespan
- Appeared in 2001
I’ve long thought that Nestle Purina Petcare has been a key part of the pet food market for decades. In fact, at the time I’m writing this, it is only just approaching its 20th anniversary.
There is far more history behind the company than that thought. We’re going to discover more about the company here, digging deeper into Purina’s past to discover its origins.
I must admit I didn’t think that my Bichon Frise, Freya, had any Purina products. She was happy to prove me wrong though, with a quick glance through her treat stash before I began writing this article.
I soon spotted the DentaLife oral care chews she goes crazy over. So, as I stand corrected on that, let’s dive into the past with Purina…
Purina Began Life in 1902
Today, I associate Purina with dog and cat food. However, Purina originally began life in 1894 as the Robinson-Danforth Commission Company. It developed food for farm animals.
That name doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but eight years later, the company creators (William H Danforth and William Andrews) switched to Ralston Purina. The Purina part of the name has remained ever since.
Purina Focuses on Pet Nutrition at its Base in Missouri
The switch to pet food happened in 1926. Purina has long dedicated itself to supplying pet owners with nutritious products. Today, you can find the Missouri base under the name Nestle Purina Pet Care Center.
Purina Introduced Kibble in 1956
Kibble is a word you and I both know, am I right? Plenty of dry dog food is in kibble form. Purina created kibble using a ‘pressure processed’ extrusion format. It means all the pieces of dry food look identical. This happened in 1956 and was another key event in the development of Purina.
The dog food went by the name Purina Dog Chow and you can still buy it today. The company created Dog Chow in 1926, producing it for 30 years before developing the extrusion technique during the manufacturing process.
It would take seven more years before Purina Puppy Chow arrived. This is available for puppies up to two years of age. You can also buy a different formula designed for adult dogs.
Flavors include lamb, chicken (Freya’s perennial favorite), beef, and turkey.
1986 They Introduced Real Meat, and More Choices
The Eighties saw another couple of developments worth noting here. Firstly, 1986 was the year that we saw real meat going into kibble rather than just flavorings. This had never been done before, and the successful process led to another name you and I know today as Purina Pro Plan.
Purina’s website shows 36 products in the Pro Plan range. You can sort them according to small or toy breeds, all sizes of dog, and large or giant breeds.
You can also search for chicken as the main ingredient (Freya would approve), or choose something different such as beef, salmon, turkey, or lamb.
The Pro Plan range also accommodates three other elements. You can shop according to:
- Type of ingredient used
- Special needs
So, for example, if I shopped for Freya, I would look for real chicken, and that is one of the ingredients I can search for. (There is also a chicken free option, but I know Freya wouldn’t approve of that!)
In the special needs area, I can search for small breed dog food in the Pro Plan range, which makes it easier for me to find something ideal for a Bichon.
I mentioned two developments, the second being that Ralston finally sold the animal feed part of the business it had begun with (remember that?). This meant that Purina was all about pet food from that moment on.
Researched How Diet Affects a Dog’s Lifespan
Purina spent 14 years studying how diet could affect the lifespan of a dog. In a press release announcing the study in 1987, the company showed that people could improve the average life span of a dog by 15%. If the dog received 25% fewer calories over its life, it could maintain a leaner body and therefore live longer.
You may not be too surprised at this; most people know that being heavier can negatively affect health. However, the study was the first of its kind to cover a dog’s whole life, rather than just part of it.
They Created First to Do Hypoallergenic Dog Food
If your dog has allergies, you’ll know how important it is to feed them things that won’t aggravate the health issues.
Did you know that Purina was first to create a hypoallergenic formula for dogs too? This also occurred in the Eighties, so it was a major decade of development for the company.
Nestle Purchased the Company December 12th, 2001
Many of the developments that occurred throughout the Nineties and the early 2000s involved cat food, dog DNA research, and even dog litter. However, December 12th, 2001 saw a major change that introduced the world to Nestle Purina Petcare.
Nestle purchased Ralston Purina, as it then was, on that date. This meant that pet owners would get the chance to find and buy Purina products more easily than ever before. The established position of Nestle meant that Purina was about to get an even bigger audience.
New Products for the New Millennium
You can see how Purina always put intensive effort into creating the best products for dogs of all ages and breeds. This continued into the new Millennium, as new developments occurred such as:
- The release of a new Joint Mobility formula to combat canine arthritis
- The creation of a probiotic canine supplement called FortiFlora
- The development of personalized dog food called Just Right
Nestle Purina Petcare: Looking to the Future
The brand has over 80 years of experience taking care of dogs (and cats). More than 18,000 people work for the company. I was impressed to learn that hundreds of nutritionists and scientists work at creating the best products for all canines.
You’ll find Nestle Purina Petcare products in over 70 countries. So, even if you emigrate to another country, you’re still likely to be able to give your dog the food they’re used to.
I’m intrigued to see how the next 80 years are going to pan out for Purina. Aren’t you?