The choice of what to feed your pet can be a difficult decision to make due to the sheer volume of dog food and products available. Coupled with the amount of information being given by the food companies themselves, as well as independent websites, choosing the very best diet for your pet can be made difficult to say the least. This is where the AAFCO Dog Food Standards come in.
They are set by a group of voluntary officials who, although they hold no regulatory power, they offer a set of guidelines that are adopted in most states.
The volunteers consist of state officials who can enforce the guidelines in accordance with their own state or federal position.
Other members include people from the feed/pet food industry such as Pet Food Institute and the National Grain and Feed Authority.
The AAFCO Dog Food Standards aim to bring regulations to the feed and pet food industry by setting the minimum and maximum levels of nutrients allowed in the food. These are the levels that will prevent the dog from getting ill from either too much or too little nutrients. The spectrum is wide but once you have acquainted yourself with their initial guidelines it will be a lot easier to discount certain foods before looking into the specific food that is best for your pet.
Not only are there choices between puppy, junior, adult and senior foods but also hypoallergenic dog food, ones for sensitive digestion and skin, low calorie and high or low protein. The options are endless and on top of all that you have the price range. No one wants to pay over the odds for their food but then how much should a decent pet food cost and why does it cost so much?
For example cheap dog food. Although the blurb on the packet may be convincing, they can usually be discounted straight away. Anything that can be bought for a few dollars in large quantities is highly unlikely to contain the level of protein, meat and vitamins needed to maintain the health of your dog.
Looking up pet food reviews is an excellent way to get real feedback from real people and can really help determine what pet food will be right for your dog.
It is also essential to do your own research as, for example, two years ago Natural Choice Dog Food Lite, although a highly respected dog food, found itself not in compliance with the AAFCO Dog Food Standards guidelines. Its calorie limit exceeded those set down by the association. There had been no guidelines for ‘lite’ food when Natural Choice Lite was brought out thirteen years previously, but the National Advertising Division stepped in to recommend that the pet food immediately stopped being sold under the heading ‘lite’ until they had conformed to the AAFCO’s specifications.
Nutro, Natural Choice’s manufacturer, agreed to the terms and now sells it’s ‘lite’ food in accordance with the AAFCO Dog Food Standards.
In situations such as these the AAFCO becomes an invaluable tool when deciding what dog food to buy because until the AAFCO stepped in it was unlikely that people realised they were feeding their dogs a higher calorie ‘lite’ food than Nutro’s competitors.
Price is obviously a factor when deciding what dog food to buy and therefore searching the web for a dog food coupon can bring up vouchers that will allow you money off brands such as Acana dog food.
Acana and Canidae dog foods are a high quality feeds that ensure your dog gets the right nutritional diet. The quality of the food is reflected in the standard of ingredients that are used. Both companies use human grade meat, fish and vegetables and this reflects in the price. This is why their dog food coupons are highly sought after. Buying in bulk will also save money over time as long as you have the room to store it.
All in all the best food for your dog will always be the one with the highest quality ingredients. However, a lot of companies now abide by the AAFCO Dog Food Standards guidelines and less expensive foods are available that meet their requirements and give your dog enough nutrients and vitamins to sustain a strong immune system.
Remember good food makes for a happy pet!
For more information about Dog Food Dangers and Dog Health, check out the highly recommended The Complete Guide To Your Dog’s Nutrition today!