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Should My Pet’s Food be AAFCO Approved?

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  1. Josh

    This is a great article! You explain it in a very clear manner that I think most people will understand (those who may not do this kind of research on a regular basis). You boiled it down to the most important points and I feel if I recommend it to people to read, most will actually finish it and walk away with some valuable knowledge. Once again, great article!
    Fearless K9

  2. Debbie Daniel

    Well said and so glad you put this out. I have never been a fan of any of those companies. AAFCO, FDA, USDA…etc etc. Even human foods arent regulated. Us humans are dying of cancer every day. we have to be vigilante and find a way around all the garbage in foods. fast foods,..a big no no. A Raw diet from pasture/grass fed animals is the best…that means humans and pets. We need to rid the FDA of everyone in it and start new with good people that CARE and CAN do there jobs. Apparently this country stopped caring a number of years ago. It saddens me and makes me furious too.

  3. elizabeth

    Well, Susan, as you know, I’ve been venturing into the realm of homemade dog food (I don’t have confidence enough to do catfood yet), and it’s been hit and miss, but granted he’s a picky dog. But, I think, too, it was a shock to his system to be eating real, natural food. To transition him, and as this article addresses, my concern about being brainwashed that his diet’s nutritionally incomplete (vitamins, other nutrients), I have been alternating his old food with my home cooking. So far, I feel better about it, and I am getting better. I find the cost is no different, and can be cheaper than processed food as I get better at making batches and freezing for later use. I am requesting taurine as my Christmas present, and a food processor, so I can spend Sundays making everybody’s food for the following week, and breaking free from AAFCO and the 4 Ds and other disgusting things in commercial pet food.

  4. Angela Himmeroder

    I don’t really care about the American
    AAFCO regulating our food in Canada, I think each country should monitor and regulate their own pet foods. With ingredients sourced from the country where the food is made

  5. TNReedy

    In the context of an imperfect world in which most people live, what one buys as feed or food is largely defined by what one can afford. Understandably, this means some pet owners and caretakers will buy their pet ‘food’ at their local grocery store/s and discount/mail order stores, some will buy at farm-and-home stores, some at pet stores (Petco, Petsmart, etc), some at specialty pet ‘food’ stores; while some forsake all commercially prepared products for human-grade food lovingly prepared at home. Most of the time, the thing that defines which choice is made concerning what ones family and animals eat is simple economics–the family budget. The economic axiom that I follow and suggest to others is to buy the best grade, quality ingredients that one can afford while respectfully remembering that everyone in the family, human and non-human, may not (can not, should not) eat the same food. As with most things, the one-size-fits-all concept rarely if ever works. Bon Appétit

  6. Karla

    Superb article, Susan. We pet owners are incredibly grateful that you are providing such excellent information. If only our government agencies could do half as good a job as you do at educating consumers!

  7. Jolie Cosette

    I finally decided to go primarily raw after seeing months of a Persian (doll face, not extreme) breeder’s YouTube videos. Ten years of healthy, active, mischievous, intelligent cats meant more to me than six months of AAFCO trials.

  8. KJ Long

    Thank you for preparing these articles for us. I like to think humans are slowly evolving to consider pets and their diets are as important as ourselves but one thing not approached is chemicals in water sources. In the Atlanta area water that sits in a pets bowl more than a day leaves a reddish chemical residue. Shouldn’t we check this out too? Can simple sink or pitcher water purifyers take these chemicals out? And homemade diets used to be the answer but now it is revealed rice is high in lead so what grain carb do we use now that is safe? Used to be rice and chicken or rice and beef – and meats need to be chem. free too! Used to be dogs lived longer and with less cancers – how can we solve all this?

  9. Gitta

    There is another issue with feed designed for livestock: carefully selected ingredients for maximum weight gain in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of money spent. Because these ingredients are so cheap, they have found their way into pet food and into human food on a very, very large scale and all financed by tax payer funded subsidies. Now we seem perplexed that not only livestock gets fat and get fat quickly but that pets and humans do so as well. But now we are told we are just lazy gluttons eating too much and moving too little.

    I haven’t found anything that talks about “essential carbohydrates” in the canine diet. Yet, we stuff them to the gills with mostly cheap carbs which just convert to sugar.

    All AAFCO approved.

    A bit dated, but still very good

    Many humans have proven that one can survive even longer than 6 months on a purely junk food/fast food diet. If one stops this experiment just in time before measurable health problems surface it too can be labelled a complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages. Just a matter of timing.

    1. Peter

      Well, despite the impact that carbohydrate-loaded foods hold on pet health, The Official Publication of the AAFCO specifically discourages the use of the word “carbohydrate” anywhere on a pet food label. Perhaps that is recognition of the importance of starches in modern, profit-driven manufacturing? From AAFCO manual, (2003, p.178): “Carbohydrate guarantees are no longer considered as necessary or meaningful for purchaser information, therefore, their use is discouraged.” And go check your shelves: very, very few manufacturers list calorie counts on the cans/packaging.

      1. Jolie Cosette

        “Carbohydrate guarantees are no longer considered as necessary or meaningful for purchaser information, therefore, their use is discouraged.”

        Unbelievable. It’s generally recognized that carbohydrates should comprise no more than 10% of a cat’s diet. Obligate carnivore means exactly that; cats’ digestive systems have not evolved to adequately process carbohydrates.

        I switched primarily to raw when I couldn’t get answers from pet food manufacturers–premium, “indie” companies–about the carb load of their foods and the dry matter analyses. I’d add up the guaranteed analysis numbers on the back of cans–rarely did those numbers reach 100%. I’d subtract the moisture, do some calculations, and realize that a “quality” food had 20% or more carbs. From that, I’d figure out the calories.

        If a manufacturer doesn’t list the calorie count on the cans or a website, or doesn’t respond to my request for information, I won’t use that food. I don’t want to play a guessing game with my cats’ nutrition.

        Thanks for bringing this AAFCO “suggestion” to our attention, Peter.

  10. […] }); Susan Thixton is a very ctive pet food advocate. I found this article interesting. Should My Pet’s Food be AAFCO Approved? | Truth about Pet Food Chris, owned by Minni the diva, and "Sugar" Ray the ever hungry. DH to Ellen , DD […]

  11. Mike L

    @ Angela Himmeroder

    You said:

    “I don’t really care about the American
    AAFCO regulating our food in Canada, I think each country should monitor and regulate their own pet foods.”

    Canada has no governmental agency regulating pet food/feed made here in Canada. Nada, zilch, devoid of guidance of any sort, period. Our government, in it’s wisdom, has chosen to allow the Canadian pet food/feed manufacturers to monitor themselves. You might want to consider caring about the American AAFCO because most, if not all, Canadian pet food/feed manufacturers happily boast on their packages that they meet the AFFCO’s guidelines.

    So what that means is that Canadian pet food/feed manufacturers ARE using the same guidelines as set forth by our friends south of the border.

    Mike L

    1. Gresham

      @ least one Canadian agency has a person(people?) sitting on numerous AAFCO committees. Judy Thompson at the Animal Feed Division of CDIF (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) is one I know is from CDIF. Aaron Price, Terrence Field, Jennifer Kromos and Anna Lamberti all sit on AAFCO committees and are Canadians, although I do not recall which Canadian agency they are with.

  12. pa pooch

    AAFCO does not recognize Omega fatty acids as essential, as foods that add or include ingredients that contain them, are listed on the Guaranteed Analysis with an Asterisk stating

    “Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.”

    It is alarming, when they are a necessary nutrient for dogs, because they cannot produce it by themselves but AAFCO doesn’t see it as essential.

  13. John Rowe

    Read the AAFCO manual before believing anything you read . After writing two Animal Nutrition books based on common sense and 50 years of raising and training labs and English Setters I challenge anyone to find credibility with an organization who approves the use of proven carcegenic food preservatives(euthoxquin and Bha/Bht) plus by-products with little or no nutritional value. You will find questionable. at best, the AAFCO protocols for the testing of pet food.

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