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AAFCO Talks Pet Food


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  1. keith

    My senior dog has improved greatly as the vet recommended feeding raw ground turkey and frozen or fresh green beans. The high protein with all the enzymes has increased his energy and improved his walking, improved alertness, etc.. Banana slices and apple slices for treats. Another words, all real food and raw uncooked food contains necessary enzymes for canine health and feline health.

    Never feed big commercial pet food as the food is from free sick, diseased, cancer animals and killed pets from animal control are picked up to use for protein in big commercial pet food. Read the book Pet Food Pets Die For to understand more about the free dead shelter pets that are picked up and ground into big commercial pet food for protein. Very sick to feed your pets other pets that were killed necessarily at animal control. All the cities and counties have plenty of tax money and can provide jobs and work to care for healthy pets without killing them and provide pet care jobs in the community to care for unwanted over population pets.

    Buy real meat, veggies and fruits to feed your dog. You can supplement with ground flaxseed and kelp with NuPro Silver canine supplement that tastes great and my dog loves it.

    Try the difference, my dog improved greatly getting off of big commercial pet food to real raw meat, veggies and fruit.

    1. Yvonne McGehee

      The diet mentioned here has a serious lack of calcium. All homemade diets need calcium added in correct amounts. This diet has no calcium source at all, including the NuPro supplement. Eventually, dogs fed this way will get in trouble due to lack of calcium in their diet. Dogs need more calcium per pound of body weight than humans do. There are probably other vitamin, mineral, and micromineral deficiencies in this rather haphazard diet as well. For example, the Omega-3s in flax are not digested by all dogs, and an animal source of Omega-3s is better for dogs. When feeding Omega-3s, be sure to include antioxidants such as Vit E and/or selenium. UC Davis has a homemade diet page, and a supplement that includes minerals and microminerals. Do some homework before feeding a bunch of stuff from the store.

      1. Hope Williams

        Yvonne–please check again. Nupro does include calcium in it’s formulation. If the person above feeds his dog recommended amounts per day they should be good. I’m curious as to why you don’t think Nupro had calcium?

        1. Sage

          I agree that raw meat and green beans alone are NOT a well balanced diet for dogs (or any other living creatures) BUT RAW (or even lightly cooked) meat and green beans are an excellent base and NUPRO’s All Natural Dog Supplement appears to supply the other much needed nutrients including Calcium, if fed correctly. The excellent ingredients of this product are listed here

          The CALCIUM in NUPRO is CITRATE as described on their website:
          Calcium Citrate – Calcium is best absorbed in an acidic environment, hence calcium citrate is the best absorbed supplemental form of calcium – it does not require extra stomach acid for absorption. Intended to provide nutritive support for healthy bones, teeth and nerve function.

          This website makes an excellent point about VARIETY and CALCIUM under the heading THREE BASIC RULES:

          Feeding a homemade diet is not as complicated as it might seem. There are only three rules:
          1. Variety
          2. Balance over time
          3. Calcium
          1. VARIETY means feeding lots of different foods, such as beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, eggs and dairy. Vegetables, fruits and grains can also be added in limited quantities. Variety also means feeding different parts, such as muscle meat, heart, liver and other organs. Different types of meat and different cuts of meat all have different nutrient profiles, so you provide a wider nutritional range by varying what you feed.

          It’s fine to have a few staples but you should not feed just one or two foods to the exclusion of everything else.

          2. BALANCE OVER TIME When you feed a homemade diet, it is not necessary that every meal be “complete and balanced,” as the commercial dog foods are. Just as with our own diets, it’s only important that the diet be balanced over time, with nutritional needs being met over a period of days to weeks.

          It is only when you feed the same food every day that you need to be concerned about that food alone supplying everything that your dog needs.

          3. CALCIUM It is IMPERATIVE that all homemade diets provide the right amount of calcium. The bones in most raw diets will supply all the calcium needed. If you feed A DIET THAT DOES NOT CONTAIN EDIBLE BONES, you WILL NEED TO ADD CALCIUM SUPPLEMENTS.

          Our upcoming article on cooked and raw diets that do not include bone will provide detailed information as to how much calcium you need to add to your dog’s home-prepared diet.

      2. Jerry

        You should read the label to Nupro sometime as it says right on the label it contains .5%-1.5% calcium. The Nupro silver includes all the nutrients in their gold plus joint support.

        1. Mary

          Nupro All Natural supplement is designed for dogs eating a complete and balanced commercial diet. It will not provide enough calcium or other nutrients needed to balance a limited homemade diet.

          For example, the amount recommended for a 20-pound dog (4 scoops/teaspoons daily) would provide 147 mg calcium, while NRC recommends 681 mg daily for a dog that size. The amount recommended for a dog weighing 40 lbs (1 large scoop/3 tablespoons) would provide 330 mg calcium, while NRC recommends 1,145 mg calcium daily for that size dog. The amount recommended for dogs weighing more than 70 lbs (2 large scoops/6 tablespoons) would provide 660 mg calcium, while NRC recommends 1,742 mg for dogs weighing 70 lbs, which increases for larger dogs.

          If a supplement does not explicitly state that it is designed to balance a homemade or “all meat” diet, then I can guarantee it will not have enough calcium to do so. If it did, it would not be suitable for dogs being fed complete commercial diets, which already have sufficient calcium.

        2. Karen Mitchell

          lol. Of course it does.
          I would like to know in what form, what source.
          The best source of calcium is bones! They deliver calcium and everything else a dog and cat requires. Raw eggs are grey too, shell and all!

          1. Jeanette Owen

            I don’t trust “vitamins” “minerals” in pet food! Too Much, too little, crappy stuff, cheap stuff, weird stuff, not real stuff – stick with real food – yes bones etc are the best. These pet food companies & there are a lot of them, I don’t trust – minimum wage paid employees, yuke! They are in it for the money.

      3. Debi Cohen

        Make sure it is calcium citrate as this is absorbed better then the other calcium supplements, that being said, any calcium is better then none, I use 1,000 mgs for every lb. of raw, I use the Solaray plain calcium citrate capsules, order them on Amazon or Lucky Vitamin, are kind of hard to find with nothing else added, never use any product that adds Vit. D as it is poisen to dogs in large amts., do not know about cats.

    2. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      AAFCO is a shill for big pet “feed” manufacturer’s! Why in the world did they even include Susan as an advisory member?, when CLEARLY they are not even taking ANY of her advisory advise or requests for clarification of terms!!!! This is NOT ACCEPTABLE AAFCO! You are letting down the consumers you are “supposed to” be protecting!. You are rude & dismissive to Susan who is giving legitimate feedback to incorrect information you are posting on your website for consumers.

      Susan, is it true what this post says (by Keith) about that pet “feed” manufacturer’s getting euthanized animals from our kill shelters & using them for use as ingredients in pet “feed”?!!!!!! WTH!!!!!!?

  2. Jeanette Owen

    Yes raw improves an animals health sooooooooo much – it’s the real enzymes they need, what God intended. My friends 17 yr old cat on lifetime of cheap kibble was peeing all over the house, furniture & even owner! I got him to just feed raw chicken – & that cat stopped all of this peeing!!!!!!!!!!!! Even jumped the brick wall a few times. He went on to live about 2 more yrs & died around 19! Pretty good eh! He would have died without this change in diet. True story.

  3. Stephen GOO

    Kudos to Animal FOOD Advocate Susan T / Truth about PET Food !

    And Thank You for your TireLess Advocacy / Pressure to let “The Club” know that PET Parents are Pro-Active Health Consumers .. not only for ThemSelves / their Families, but their Furry Friends as well.

    Speaking of FOOD …

    YES .. Buy real Meat, Veggies and Fruits to feed your Dog.
    YES … You can Supplement as You deem appropriate.

    But Friendly Reminder …

    When it comes to Itchy / Paw Chewing / Gunky Ear / Hot Spot > Mis-Wired Immune System Allergy DOGs …

    “The” Itchy Elephant in the Allergy Room is Enviro ( 80+%) Vs FOOD (4%)

  4. Lucy McKernan

    I feed my cats Radcat raw lamb and turkey. I also feed them Primal raw turkey, and sometimes the beef, but that contains raw fish I minimize. I also feed only Party Animal organic canned and Fromm canned and dry only.

  5. Valerie Noyes

    It would be a very cold day in hell before I ever looked to AAFCO for pet advice of any kind. I’m as disgusted with them as I am with Big Pet Food, Big Food, Big Pharma….big everything. I just wish everyone would take an interest in what they and they’re pets are eating and become self educated to make good decisions.

    1. Karen Mitchell

      If that is the case with you as you say, then you should be feeding an all natural raw balanced diet!! Nuf said

  6. Gitta

    The real problem as I see it: AAFCO pretends to be a consumer watchdog. Some consumers know better. Most do not. And therein lies the issue. If you are an uninformed consumer – who do you believe? AAFCO or “some blogger”? Yes, it is obvious to us that AAFCO is simply using another avenue to continue the deceipt of the consumer. Why? Well, it seems more consumers are starting to ask questions. So, another website was needed to continue the deceipt of the consumer. Good news: AAFCO and their industry buddies felt the need to act. Bad news: it is harder to convince the new wondering consumer that they should not trust this “watchdog”. I don’t know if AAFCO would be able to use plain, ordinary English in trying to explain ingredients. But they can’t, because people would stop buying. Safer to explain nonsense with nonsense.

    Their greatest fear and greatest threat is the educated consumer who refuses to buy crap. Their ideal consumer is like a mushroom. Kept in the dark and fed manure.

    1. Jeanette Owen

      Yes, blindly, people don’t know. My sister once said “the pet food is good – they put so much research into it.” She also blindly believes western medicine vets who are so out in left field when it comes to nutrition.

    2. Samantha Cuellar

      Gitta, I have been trying to inform one particular neighbor of mine (among many) about Beneful that she’s been giving to her MinPin, Lola. I became aware suddenly that this doggie owner didn’t want to listen, and maybe cares, but can’t care too much because she “buys whatever is the cheapest on the market”. She can’t afford to buy, not even close to, the best. So, when I texted her the most recent article I saw about Beneful, she didn’t respond, by texteze or otherwise. I know she doesn’t read the ingredients list, so, maybe she doesn’t care. So sad.

      1. Karen Mitchell

        For the life of me I cannot understand a lot of people. When will they understand that feeding your pet the right diet will eliminate vet bills in the second half of the pets life!?
        They feed their pets this commercial crap, THINK they look good and performing well, IF they are lucky, most ethers suffer skin problems through their life. If they took a step back, looked at feeding a natural raw balanced diet and applied it, they would see a huge difference in the pet!!
        The commercial pet foods certainly have people wrapped around their little d=fingers with they false advertising!!!
        Even if she did read the ingredients, it doesn’t tell them enough. They don’t know what half of the ingredients are. If they were to look them up, they would be gobsmacked!!!

        1. Samantha Cuellar

          And, unfortunately, Karen, this min-pin, Lola has been suffering from a skin condition which makes her scratch it continuously and shows signs of some type of dandruff. When I try to suggest that it’s more than likely what she is feeding Lola, she doesn’t respond or tells me that Lola only suffers when the weather is hot. I just can’t make her understand…my advice/suggestions just fall on deaf ears.

          1. Stephen GOO

            Many Pet Parents move their Itchy / Paw Chewing / Gunky Ear / Skin Issues DOGs to special Diets with the Hope / Belief that their Animal’s Symptoms are FOOD Allergy Driven.

            YES .. Good / Nutritious / Varied FOOD = Important …

            But, when You look to the Data, you find that after Flea / Skin Mites are Diagnostically Ruled Out …

            80+% of our Itchy DOGs = Allergy to the Same Enviro Pollens, Dust Mites & Molds that Us Humans Suffer From.

            Suggest address the Itchy Enviro Elephant in the Allergy Room first.

          2. Lucy McKernan

            Yes! When we took our 8 YO Henry in for blood HESKA allergy testing, results came back as top worst our vet has ever seen. VERY allergic to dust and storage mites (found in dry food, so if we feed dry, it is sealed in fridge!), highly allergic to many pollens/grasses/trees/oaks/maples, etc. We have done the following to mitigate: HESKA under the tongue drops formulated specifically for HIS sensitivities to the above; bought a Bissell pet vacuum and do top to bottom each week wherever rugs or bedding is; hot water bedding wash twice per week; lay down cotton only bedding on top of rugs where dust mites might be hiding; vaccuum all rugs and esp. UNDER bed areas; store all dry foods in fridge immediately after opening; feed at least half his diet raw; close windows on windy days; open them at night for fresh air and fun window “hunting” (NOT ALLOWED OUTSIDE); and THIS MUST BE DONE CAREFULLY, we have also used aloe vera juice directly on his miliary dermatitis BUT IF HE LICKS IT OFF HE THROWS UP SO HE HAS TO WEAR A SOFT, FLEXIBLE COLLAR UNTIL IT DRIES. On this last point, we have had to add duct tape to extend the length of his collar b/c he can reach down to the lowest regions of his lower abdomen and chew. Many trial and error things have gone into managing poor Henry’s severe allergies. BUT I REFUSED TO GET MORE THAN ONE OR TWO INITIAL “DEPO” “ALLERGY” “ANTI ITCH” or otherwise cortisone/steroid injections OR pills. I absolutely OPPOSE these, as they cause spinal weakening/stenosis, organ — especially kidney — damage, and do NOT address underlying issues. I also did not rule out emotional disturbances, as this allergy kicked in not long after Henry lost the only other male in the cat household, our beloved Sylvester who died at unknown age of kidney failure. Henry has a litter mate sister who we adopted along with Henry, and another unrelated sister Shannon, who he terrorizes. For that, I’ve used Dr. Bach’s Flower Remedies.

          3. Stephen GOO

            Well Done Lucy …

            No one can Dispute your Determination to Help your Itchy Henry.

            And Yes …
            Pharma only Masks Symptoms, producing nasty Side-Effects / leaving the Disease intact to exacerbate unabated…

            Your focus on building Immune Tolerance to Henry’s Enviro Allergies ala Under the Tongue Drops, should begin to produce the first signs of Skin & Coat Improvement by the late 1st Month. These early signs are External Indications that Henry’s Internal Tolerance / ReTraining has begun.

            But You still have a Ways to Go …

            It is in the 2nd Month that You should begin to see appreciable abatement in the major symptoms of Enviro Allergy i.e. Constant Biting / Itching …

            By the beginning of the 3rd Month, Henry should be near approaching his “Old Self” ..with lingering Bad Itchy Habits still lingering.

            But Do Not be Fooled !

            Allergy is a Nasty / Tenacious / Entrenched Mis-Wiring in the Immune System.
            Even though you are SEEing Henry’s Allergy Habits beginning to Abate, it is Important to Stay the Course to all the more suppress Henry’s Allergy Fire to Internal Embers.

            Then, once Henry’s Allergy Status has been brought under Control i.e. approx. 90+ Days, because Allergy in Humans and our Dog’s is really Never Cured .. it is Important to Continue building Internal Tolerance ( reduced amounts ) to keep the Internally Suppressed Allergy Embers from being ReKindled Back into and External Flame once again.

            With regard to your Impressive House Keeping Measures …

            Please Don’t be soo Hard on YourSelf, regardless of Measures it is virtually Impossible to “Protect” yourself / Henry from the Omni-Present Enviro Allergy Sources that “Float” in our Environment ( especially Dust Mites ).

            The Only Strategy to Fight Your / Henry’s Enviro Allergies is from the Inside > Out …. by building Internal Immune Tolerance to the extent that External Symptoms are not Triggered.

            Wishing Your Animal a Healthy GOO Glow

          4. Hope Williams

            Stephen–nothing personal but I get notices of all comments on Susan’s post here and you’re starting to sound like you’re using this forum for marketing. Not it’s original purpose. Please don’t at least from my point of view. You can ask the person originally posting to contact you at your email address and go from there. Many thanks.

          5. Stephen GOO

            I can Appreciate / Fully Understand your Comment …

            From my Human & Canine Allergy ViewPoint, the Marketing / Business Side of Things are taking Care of Themselves i.e. I am not HESKA

            And while I do not wish to Diminish / Undermine Susan’s incredible Truth about FOOD Battle with the FDA / AAFCO … in Any Way …

            And while I fully Recognize the FOOD Focus of this Org …

            I am responding from a ProActive Health Consumer / Allergy ( Human & Canine ) Viewpoint.

            After reading Postings & Lucy’s Battle with Henry’s Itchy Allergies, it Echoed a level of Frustration often hear in Pet Parents, and stirred me to Comment / Share with the Readership some Important Canine Allergy Facts that are often Not Shared with Pet Parents.

            Namely …

            [] Skin Trauma / Gunky Ears / Hot Spots are often the Direct Result of the Cumulative / Progressive Allergy SnowBall Rolling in our Dogs.

            [] ( once Flea / Skin mites are Diagnostically Ruled Out ) 80+% of our Itchy Allergy DOGs = Allergy to Enviro Sources ( FOOD Allergy = 4%) .

            [] Pharma only Masks Symptoms Short Term, leaving the Allergy SnowBall Intact to Roll Bigger & Bigger

            [] Pharma achieves its Itch Relief Status by suppressing the Animal’s entire Immune System .. which in an Itchy Allergy Dog = Open Wounds > Becoming Infected = Antibiotics = Bad Bug Dominated GUT-Biome = Slippery Slope of Health Issues > in addition to Allergy.

            The Only Strategy to Address Human or Animal Allergy is to build Internal Tolerance ( think ReCaliberate ) such that External Allergy Symptoms are not Triggered.

            Because this Readership is made up Pro-Active Health consumers for Themselves / their Families, as well as their Animals … it is my Goal to share some Important Points for their further Review / Consideration.

            How this is Acted Upon is up to each PET Parent ..

            At the End of the Day …

            Our Animals are part of Us ..
            They take Care of Us and We take Care of Them …

            In Trusted with this great Responsibility, many PET Parents are always open New Information …

          6. Pacific Sun

            Okay, I’m going to put my comment in this spot, but it’s really to address “Stephen Goo” who has not provided any “Reply” option in spite of lengthy analyses.

            So I will be shot out of the skies for making this comment no doubt, but here goes anyway. Yes it’s possible that “Henry” has a very specific allergy condition and this response is not to disparage the loving treatment he is receiving from his very devoted owner. Although there is something to be mentioned about a pet owner “anxieties” being manifested in a pet. However reading about this situation shouldn’t discourage others from dealing with their own pet’s condition without so many complications.

            I disagree that most allergies are from the external environment, because people equate what’s happening to their pets as they think about their own human “hay fever” or “dust mite” problems. If that were the case dogs in the wild would never, ever survive, if they succumbed to every external stimulus out there. Rather it has to do with artificially contrived commercial PF diets, ones that over time lower the animal’s immunity and tolerance thresholds. Such irritants keep stressing the dog’s system. They just aren’t natural. By contrast when a pet has been eating a healthy, highly bio-available diet long term, the pet’s tolerance threshold is strengthened and fortified. So let’s say a dog has “gunky, gooey” ears, it’s usually from developing a sensitivity (or weakness) to one or more particular ingredients in commercial PF. Know that there are countless artificial and synthetic additives in PF. Not too mention the origin of main ingredients are also questionable (mycotoxins in grain for example). The intolerance can be from a whole protein like chicken (and there are a lot of allergies to chicken!) or to a grain or to whatever is the combination of all those ingredients. It means that irritant has to be totally eliminated (if it’s chicken, then don’t forget to eliminate chicken fat or by-products too).

            The best way is by going back to a zero based diet and gradually adding one variable at a time and by keeping a food journal. This is time consuming, sometimes expensive, and very tedious. But patience pays off. If you don’t believe in a simple raw diet to begin with, then you start with a single (ideally home cooked) protein and a binder. (True, don’t forget the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio). In some cases dogs can benefit from a holistic oil/fat, but for others, not so much. That’s why an ingredient-by-ingredient trial needs to be done usually by feeding it for 3 weeks at a time, and noting physical reactions, especially the condition of the stool, skin reactions and so on. But it does begin with DIET.

            Besides having personal experience with asthma, chemical and food allergies (which I corrected through diet and elimination) I have also taken my dog to a Vet Specialist in Allergies. He did a blood test on my dog, and the result was (curiously and conveniently!) environmental too (so of course) a regular regime of desensitizing vaccinations was prescribed. A decade ago, the test alone was $300, compiling a very specific vaccine antidote was more, plus ongoing office visits were more fees. I declined. But the Vet never, ever addressed diet (and that was the first red flag). Why would a Vet not address everything my dog was being exposed to? Besides that we lived in a very urban city (with hardly any greenery) and my dog lived in the house 80% of the time. Living on the Coast we enjoyed daily fresh, clean breezes (no smog, no lingering pollens in the air) and the house was easily kept clean, no fleas (maintained with natural boric acid treatment).

            Unfortunately what happens is because these Vets are practicing a Specialty (with a reduced or niche clientele) they have to stay in business, and regularly scheduled (expensive) in-office treatments ensure the continuing client-professional relationship! In fact owners become dependent upon them! I watched my Cousin spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars treating her Dalmatian for an “itchy” ankle, (while the dog ate ProPlan and canned soup!) when in the end he was never any better or worse. It was no doubt a bad habit (from boredom or comfortable) repetitious licking. But she spent hours going back and forth for these treatments believing he couldn’t do without. And would never even discuss his diet! A dog eats “dog food” …right?

            Ho’kay. so just a thought being put out there!

  7. Lucy McKernan

    I apologize if my post about my pet’s holistic health came across to you as marketing. My gut tells me there’s more to it, though.

    Stephen: To your point re: the HESKA desensitization drops, I actually used them for one year. We just misplaced the final, FINAL bottle “c.” I wasn’t going to use them, though, as they recommend, for life anyways. One last point about this. I want to say that only the most dedicated pet people could consistently put 2 drops under a CAT’S tongue twice per day for a year, then wait 10 mins. before feeding, while the cat follows around begging and hungry. Not sure exactly how that could be marketed. Most people are lazy and will just take the easier, softer way and give their pet organ- and immune-damaging/destroying steroids, as if the animal somehow deserves less than the same consideration — nay MORE because it is completely dependent on us for its decisions. Again, meds, foods, whatever, are all part of holistic care.

  8. Lucy McKernan

    One more clarification: I thought that my post re: Henry’s allergies was, indeed, a reply to another relevant post. I feel really put off now, disgusted.

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