How to Know Your Dog’s Food Meets Minimum Nutritional Standards
The dog food industry defines a nutritionally complete product as one that can be fed to a dog as its sole ration. In other words, it is capable of maintaining life without adding any other substance… except water.
Guidelines go on by defining a balanced dog food as one that has “all known required nutrients in proper amount and proportion”.
Now, think about how unsafe it would be for any dog food to be sold as complete and balanced… when, in fact, that product was deficient in one or more essential nutrients.
That’s what makes a Nutritional Adequacy Statement so valuable. No, it’s not perfect. But it’s the industry’s most important means for ensuring your dog food meets certain minimum standards.
The All-Important Nutritional Adequacy Statement
According to the Association of American Fed Control Officials, in order for any dog food company to print the words “complete and balanced” on a package… that claim must first have been validated in one of two ways.
The first uses a product’s recipe (or the laboratory analysis of a sample) to assume it meets AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile. Dog food’s meeting this standard usually include words like…
“(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles”
The second method not only meets the AAFCO profile… but also verifies nutritional adequacy by conducting actual feeding trials with real dogs. This type of adequacy statement will probably look something like this…
“Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition”
Now, obviously, products tested using this more rigorous method should be given extra consideration.