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Complete and Balanced Failure

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  1. kelsy

    Thanks for the great article. We no longer feed any dry kibble as it is all processed dead food, meaning No nutrients and No enzymes, it only provides calories. Most kibble is about 50% cheap sugar, which also feeds any cancer cells. Big Pet Food is not required to put sugar on the ingredients in order to mislead pet lovers. A bad diet with No nutrition like dry kibble or pasteurized canned pet food (pasteurized can food kills the nutrients) can also lead to joint disease and acl ccl knee tears in the joints. When my dog’s knee joint was fully torn, the vets tried to sell painful expensive tplo or tta surgery, but we got a posh dog knee brace to support the knee till it healed and they recommended to feed or supplement our dog’s food with real frozen raw chubbs with ground up bone, joints, meat and organs. The raw must Not be pressurized, No hpp, No radiation and No pasteurization so the nutrients and enzymes stay alive for help with healing the joints. The combo of frozen raw ground up bones, joints, organs & meat and the support of the dog knee brace, my dog’s knee healed in only a few short months and was walking normally and is now running and playing with No surgery ever. We still feed the raw frozen food with frozen green beans or frozen mixed veggies for fiber for firm poop. As we want to keep our dog’s joints healthy. Its a good idea to at least supplement your dog’s diet with some frozen raw and or a raw organic whole egg.

  2. Janice

    As Susan’s earlier article cited above points out, the 2006 Nutrient Requirements text was partially funded by the pet food industry. It is good to investigate this, but that fact alone does not mean that its conclusions are biased. I think the scientists might have something to say about that, and it would be good to hear from them. But in any case, I have found that even foods that are supposed to be complete and balanced only roughly conform to the NRC recommendations. You can check this by comparing the nutrient profile of a dog food (IF the manufacturer will provide that) with the NRC tables. It doesn’t take a math genius to do the calculations, and it is worth it for the sake of your dog. Another problem I have found is that the recommended amount of food by most manufacturers is more than my dog needs to maintain his weight (and his thyroid is monitored and he does get exercise), so only a high quality food relatively low in calories will provide the necessary amounts of required nutrients. Reducing the amount of a higher calorie food to keep him from becoming obese would deprive him of adequate nutrients (I have done the calculations, and this applies even to many high quality moist and frozen dog foods). This is especially important now, given the dilated cardiomyopathy problems that may be related to taurine deficiency and possibly inadequate amino acids, especially methionine and cystine.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Agree with you that feeding directions are an issue. Currently regulations do not tie feeding directions to the nutrient profile. Here is a post I did explaining that concern: And I expressed the concern with AAFCO Pet Food Committee and they dismissed it.

      1. Janice

        It is disgraceful that the AAFCO committee dismissed the concern that you so carefully expressed in your post. Perhaps given the issue of dilated cardiomyopathy and its apparent relation to food and amino acid amounts (taurine, as well as methionine and cystine which are needed to make taurine), AAFCO will take a second look? Regardless, this underscores the need for all pet parents to know exactly how much of each nutrient their own pets need and how much of each nutrient they get from their food. As stated by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, a consumer should be able to ask for any nutrient in the pet food and get the exact amount. That is, the manufacturer should be able to provide a complete nutritional profile and not just a “guaranteed analysis:

  3. T Allen

    I think that the pet food companies should be held responsible because when they get dragged into court (hopefully a class action lawsuit) they will immediately implicate AAFCO as the source of incorrect nutrition guidelines. If they are smart they’ll sue AAFCO but will they bite the hand that feeds them? Only time (and lawsuits) will tell. In the meantime we need to educate people to supplement their pets diets with real food and don’t feed just one commercial diet!

  4. Dave Horchak

    It’s a marketing gimmick if the incompetent federal government doesn’t set standards and fine liars

  5. judy acedo

    Recently read some disturbing facts about Aafco.
    Sounds like a good ol boy network, most I feel dont have much knowledge of what is needed in pet food, or dont care where its sourced from. Euthansia drugs found in pet food? I find it increasingly difficult to trust any company or manufacturer. Thanks for your diligence Susan.
    The public NEEDS people like you.

  6. Peter

    Good reporting. Among the many critics of the lax, functionally inaccurate, and even deceptive AAFCO “complete and balanced” standards developed by ad hoc committees composed of industry representatives (with a vested interest in influencing AAFCO decision-making) is one of their own panel experts, stating: “although the AAFCO profiles are better than nothing, they provide false securities.” (JAVMA: 1993).

    1. Peter

      “Because the public has become comfortable with the idea that commercial pet foods can provide complete and balanced nutrition for the life of the animal, basic diet is no longer generally considered an important source of disease. Pet owners and veterinarians have literally been trained to look elsewhere for causes and treatment options.” –Susan Wynn, World small animal veterinary association world congress proceedings, 2001.

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