What this has to do with you and what you can do about it
When choosing a food to feed your pet, there is a plethora of information to be found. Some are good, others not so good.
I have tried to sort it all out for you here, although it wont be totally complete, it should give a place to start.
Some other things to consider when choosing a dog food are:
1. The animals environment, life stage, use or activity level
2. Food company that has a nutritionist on staff
3. Food company that has been in business for a while
4. food company that doesn't make absurd statements / claims
5. food company that has feedback number for notification of potential problems
6. food company that conducts research to further our knowledge of nutrition for pets
First off, make sure any food you purchase has a statement from the AAFCO:
What is AAFCO?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) was formed in 1909 to establish a framework for uniform regulation of the feed industry. Although not a government agency, AAFCO operates within the guidelines of federal and state legislation including laws administered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
AAFCO recognizes three methods for substantiating the claim:
- Laboratory analysis
—Finished product is compared to minimum nutritional values established by AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for dogs or cats.
—Label states: "ABC Dog (Cat) Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog (Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles for (appropriate life stage)."
- Feeding trials
—Finished product that has been laboratory tested is fed to dogs or cats according to AAFCO protocols.
—Label states: "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that ABC Dog (Cat) Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for (appropriate life stage)."
- Analysis comparable in nutritional adequacy
—Laboratory analysis of finished product is compared with nutritional values from a similar product fed to dogs and cats according to AAFCO protocols.
—Label states: "ABC Dog (Cat) Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for (appropriate life stage) and is comparable in nutritional adequacy to a product which has been substantiated using AAFCO feeding tests."
Please, when shopping for a dog food, make sure there is an AAFCO statement on the bag. Many foods call themselves SUPER PREMIUM but they have not met AAFCO standards for dog food. They will tout “ALL NATURAL” or “HOLISTIC” or even “ORGANIC” but if they cannot back up those claims, there is no way to know if your dogs food is complete and balanced.
Although the AAFCO is not perfect, it is currently the best method we have for regulation of what we feed our dogs and what is in those foods.
Our list is of foods that we have found to be premium foods that follow the AAFCO protocol for complete and balanced.
Keep in mind that some of the below listed foods meet AAFCO standards by conducting feeding trials. Others have “formulated to meet standards set by the AAFCO”.
We do not recommend feeding a dog food that does not have one of these statements on it.
We are not necessarily telling you that these are the best foods out there. We are simply supplying a list of foods that are easy to find and that have done AAFCO feeding trials to show that their foods are complete and balanced.
We encourage you to educate yourself and feed what premium food your dog does best on.
Chicken Soup For The Dog Lovers Soul
**** There may be dog foods who meet the AAFCO standards and didn’t make it to this list due to oversight.