Dog Chow Military Support
Our Military Commitment Runs Deep
Like you, we at Dog Chow are humbled by the bravery and sacrifice of our country’s active military and veterans. Which is why, throughout our nearly 100-year history, we’ve made it our mission to support these heroic men and women and the dogs who love them.
World War I
In 1918, Purina founder William H. Danforth took a leave of absence from Ralston Purina to support the U.S. Army during World War I. Danforth supervised the YMCA’s delivery of food, first aid, and comfort items to troops in France. Danforth’s leadership, courage, and organizational skills were lauded by soldiers, officers, and his fellow volunteers.
How “Chow” Was Chosen
When Purina created its first dog food in 1926, it was named “Purina Dog Chow” in a nod to the “chow lines” that sustained American service members during the war.
Admiral Byrd‘s Antarctic Expedition
Rear Admiral Richard Byrd was an American naval officer and explorer famous for his polar expeditions during the 1930s. To feed Byrd’s sled teams, nutritionists recommended Purina Dog Chow after testing several brands of dog food to determine which would work best under the “severe Antarctic conditions” his dogs would encounter during the two-year voyage. Byrd and his crew took 100,000 pounds of Purina Dog Chow to feed the expedition’s 160 sled dogs. After the expedition, several of Byrd’s dogs participated in a promotional tour for Purina Dog Chow.
Food For Victory Crusade (World War II)
World War II created an enormous demand for food products and increased agricultural production. American farmers had to quickly and significantly increase their productivity to feed the 16 million American soldiers who served during the war. Purina responded with the Food for Victory Crusade, sending its salesmen and dealers to over 500,000 American farms to examine farm conditions and advise farmers on ways to improve efficiency and sanitary conditions, thereby increasing their production of food. Purina research personnel also helped the U.S. military develop rations that fed Allied troops, providing nutritional analysis and expertise to extend the shelf life of rations.
Dogs for Defense (World War II)
Purina Dog Chow also supported the war effort by funding a series of ads for Dogs for Defense, a volunteer organization that recruited dogs for military service. Dogs were trained for a variety of duties, including work as sentries, coastal patrol, attack dogs, messengers, sled dogs, scouts, and search and rescue helpers. Over 18,000 dogs were “volunteered” for service, joining the millions of American men and women who also served their country.
The Dawn of Dry Food
Dry pet food was not widely accepted by consumers until World War II, when rationing of meat and metal limited the availability of canned food. Purina Dog Chow was a convenient, cost effective, and nutritionally complete solution for feeding dogs. Consumers were advised, “You will be rendering a patriotic service” by feeding Purina Dog Chow.
PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act Legislation
Purina Dog Chow was a fervent supporter of the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act (HR4305) which was designed to create a pilot program in the VA to give veterans access to treatment derived from working with service dogs. The bill also included grants for organizations to help get more service dogs for veterans who want them. Purina not only helped advise on the new legislation based on our work with service dogs and our understanding of the human/animal bond, but Dog Chow also actively promoted the bill on Capitol Hill. After passing in both the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support, the bill was signed into law in August of 2021.
Supporting Those Who Support Our Nation’s Veterans
Since 2018, Dog Chow has donated over one million dollars to organizations that match veterans with service dogs, allowing more veterans suffering from PTSD and other post-combat injuries to get the help they need.