Vintage Dog Food and Nostalgia

I was watching an old Johnny Carson show from the 1970s the other night when Johnny mentioned Gaines Burgers. I looked at my husband and said, “Aww, Gaines burgers! I had forgotten all about those!” Hubby, who didn’t have dogs growing up, said, “Oh, yeah, I remember those!” And then we both tried to painstakingly figure out when and why in the world they had quit making them.

Who remembers Gaines Burgers???

Let me refresh your memory.

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Gaines Burgers were a type of soft-moist dog food which were shaped into hamburger patties and individually wrapped in a cellophane wrapper.  They were made by General Mills and came out in 1961. Production ceased sometime in the 1990s.

My mother would sometimes buy Gaines Burgers for our dogs but only as a special treat. Like most semi-moist foods, they were quite expensive as far as dog food went. We had a German Shepherd in the 1970s who had a malabsorption syndrome. Poor Baron was always thin and he was a crappy eater. The vet’s advice back then was to feed him whatever we could get him to eat. Gaines burgers were a favorite of his and so my mother would feed them to him periodically because he loved them so and because she was always trying to get weight on that dog.  Sometimes, we would crumble a Gaines Burger or two over the top of his regular food so as to make it more edible.  I can still smell those reddish crumbly burgers now.

In my nutrition course in veterinary school, I learned that semi-moist foods aren’t really all that healthy for dogs and cats. Mostly because they are full of sugar (which is precisely why most animals love them). They’re also full of preservatives and dyes and some other not-so-healthy stuff. I never fed any of my animals semi-moist foods after hearing that little lecture and I advised my parents to do the same.

But I do have fond memories of Gaines Burgers.


I had also forgotten about this dog food.


Ken-L-Ration in the blue can.

I raised I don’t know how many dogs on this canned food. The veterinarian I went to work for right out of school always used to recommend this food to his clients. I can still hear him telling them to buy Ken-L-Ration, and then he’d always say, “in the blue can.”

How many of you remember the Ken-L-Ration advertising Jingle from the 1960s?

My dog’s better than your dog,

My dog’s better than yours.

My dog’s better ’cause he gets Ken-L Ration,

My dog’s better than yours.

Boy, did that bring back some memories.  And now, I’ll be singing that little jingle in my head all day.

And just as a side note, do you remember the name of the little yellow dog on the can? I had forgotten that too.  It was……. Fido! Now I know you can all sleep easier tonight knowing you have that important tidbit of information.   🙂

Gail ♥

About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
This entry was posted in Animals, Daily Prompt, dogs, Memories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Vintage Dog Food and Nostalgia

  1. Julie says:

    I remember that jingle.

  2. Vanessa says:

    I came across your blog quite by accident as I googled Gaines Burgers. They came on my radar tonight because I received a LinkedIn notice to connect with someone I work with (“you may know…”) but my company wasn’t listed under his name; he was listed as “founder” of a different company. When I looked the company name up, it turns out he bought the trademark for Gaines Burgers in 2017 and is resurrecting the brand. I’ll have to check tomorrow to see if he still works at my company. Thought you may want to know what happened to Gaines. 🙂

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