Social media
Contact information

The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NH



Please watch our pet food animation! You can also scroll down for more background detail.  

We hope it explains everything about how cat and dog food is made but if you have any additional queries please do contact  


Optimum Nutrition

Studies have shown that pets can live longer if fed correctly (Richard D. Kealy et al., JAVMA, Vol 220, 2002 Richard D. Kealy et al., JAVMA, Vol 220, 2002)

Sourcing and Regulation

Pet food production in the UK is regulated by law, in the same way that human food is.

PFMA members must only use ingredients that are legally permitted and sourced from registered suppliers. The Feed Hygiene Regulation (183/2005) requires feed business operators to be registered with the enforcement authorities. Individual companies may also require their suppliers comply with their own Supplier Approval Schemes.

Typical pet food ingredients include protein sources such as poultry, beef and fish plus vegetables, cereals, vitamins and minerals, combined for a balanced diet. 'Ingredients' is a general term used for raw materials and additives used in pet foods. 

Animal-based ingredients are by-products of the human food industry and are also strictly regulated by law to ensure safety. Farmed animals are primarily bred for the human food industry however those parts that are not required can be utilised as nutritious ingredients for pet food. For example, whilst some cultures shy away from offal as human food, others use it as everyday food or even regard them as delicacy.

Production of Wet Pet Food (for cats and dogs)

To make wet pet food such as cans, pouches and trays...

  • Ingredients are carefully weighed and measured and minced together.

  • This mixture is then cooked as a loaf or cut into chunks
    There are different methods of cooking (heath processing) for wet pet food, including extrusion, baking, steam-heating, heat-exchange or boiling. This is normally followed by sizing or cutting into the final chunks. Some other formats of wet pet food are mousse and flakes.

  • And mixed with gravy or jelly
    Gravy and jelly are terms used for the liquid portion of wet pet food which are made of water and a thickening agent/and or palatants.
  • The mixture is filled into a range of containers to provide a variety of formats and packaging for different pets.

  • The containers are then sealed and cooked at a defined temperature to keep safe and wholesome during shelf-life.

  • After cooking, the containers are cooled
  • ...and packed, ready for distribution!

Production of Dry Pet Food (for cats and dogs)

Dry pet food, is made in a similar way, but this time most of the moisture is removed.

  • Ingredients are weighed and mixed together.

  • Water and steam are added to the mixture to form a dough and increase the temperature.
  • The mixture then goes through an extruder where it is fully cooked and pushed through a die plate to form various shapes and sizes, known as kibbles.
    In the extruder, the product produces its own friction and heat due to the pressure generated and is fully cooked, and pushed through a die plate. A die plate is a steel disk with an opening the size and shape of the intended cross-section of the final extruded product. Extrusion dies can be made to form an array of shapes and sizes to form various shapes and sizes, known as kibbles.
  • These are dried to reduce moisture, and sometimes coated with a combination of animal fats and gravy to help ensure palatability. More information can be provided on types of coating and colourings on request. 
  • Kibbles are then cooled and packaged to maintain quality during their shelf-life.

Quality Checks

For both wet and dry pet food, quality checks take place throughout the whole process. Every manufacturer has documented quality checks in place throughout the entire process. This is based on common best practice within members of the PFMA

This ensures nutritious food, safe for our pets; the fundamental aim of PFMA members.

Share this