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A chance happening on an English quayside late in the 19th century changed the lives of pets throughout the world. That single moment has been followed by more than 100 years of constant progress and improvement for the prepared pet food industry's purchasers and consumers.
Today's pets owe a great deal to Mr. James Spratt who lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, towards the end of the 19th century. But for Mr. Spratt, pets might still be having to survive on unbalanced meals of scraps from their owners' tables.
When James Spratt took a sea voyage to England his purpose was to sell lightning conductors to the British. But, by the time he returned home, he had embarked on a new career.
The turning point in James Spratt's life - and in the lives of countless millions of pets - came when his ship docked in England. His attention was caught by the sight of dogs scavenging for discarded ships' biscuits on the quayside. James Spratt, in that moment, saw the need for specially prepared food for animals and turned his efforts to the production of dog biscuits.
And so the prepared pet food industry was born. Later, American companies produced canned food for dogs, followed on a commercial scale by Chappel Brothers in the United Kingdom who began canning a meat and cereal dog food.
Nearly 100 years later on, more than half of all owners in Europe feed their pets on prepared pet food and, as the benefits are increasingly recognised, the trend continues to grow.