Saturday, June 15, 2024

Aafco Dog Food List 2021

Animal Numbers In Dcm Reports Received Between January 1 2014 And April 30 2019

Worst cat food brands – avoid these!

*Cats are generally more likely to develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is recognized as a genetic condition in dogs, typically in large or giant breeds, such as the Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, or the Irish Wolfhound. It is also seen in Cocker Spaniels associated with taurine deficiency. It is believed to be less common in small and medium breed dogs. We suspect that cases are underreported because animals are typically treated symptomatically, and diagnostic testing and treatment can be complex and costly to owners. FDA has observed a reporting bias for breeds like Golden Retrievers due to breed-specific social media groups and activities that have raised awareness of the issue in these communities and urged owners and vets to submit reports to FDA. Because the occurrence of different diseases in dogs and cats is not routinely tracked and there is no widespread surveillance system like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have for human health, we do not have a measure of the typical rate of occurrence of disease apart from what is reported to the FDA.

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry


Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken and Rice is one of 21 kibble recipes included in our review of the Blue Buffalo Life Protection product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Puppy, large breed, small breed, senior, lamb, fish and more

This Life Protection example derives the majority of its animal protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 27% protein, 16% fat and 50% estimated carbs creating a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

A top-rated, grain-inclusive kibble. One of The Advisors most popular recommendations.

Sample buyer reviewMy dog is a very picky eater with a sensitive stomach and this food has done wonders for him. Hes finally eating as much as he should without stomach issues and its made him almost a brand new dog. I tried a few different foods with him but this seemed to give me the best results

Best Wet: Hill’s Science Diet


  • Offers both regular and prescription wet foods

  • Multiple can sizes available

  • Brand focus on quality and safety

  • Formulated by team of nutritionists and vets

Hills Science Diet is another brand that gets the seal of approval from Dr. Frione, and its especially popular for those who prefer to feed their dog wet food. This brand offers an impressive selection of wet dog foods, including formulas for puppies, adults, and seniors, and it also has a highly regarded line of prescription foods for dogs with specific medical problems.

This brand is committed to creating high-quality dog foods, and its products all meet or exceed the nutrient profiles and manufacturing guidelines of the AAFCO and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association . The company employs over 220 Ph.D. nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists, and its safety standards are modeled after those of human food manufacturers.

Recommended Reading: Is Blue Buffalo Puppy Food Good

An Easily Digestible Kibble Packed With Probiotics


Dr. Krause recommends the brand Wellness because it has longevity and a wide selection of flavors and formulations. That includes its Core Digestive Health line, which features protein and brown rice recipes. In order to promote a healthy gut, these kibbles are highly digestible, coated with probiotics and are combined with digestive enzymes. Also worth noting is Wellness other health-focused varieties, including puppy, senior, raw and low-fat formulas.

Best Dry Dog Food For Seniors

Nutrition Tips

Typically, you might consider a senior dog food around age 6 or 7 for a large breed, and around 10 or 12 for a small, says Richardson. The right food for a senior dog depends on the specific senior and how they’re doing, says Shepherd. If they’re maintaining a healthy weight and muscle tone, their stool is well-formed, and they’re enjoying their food, you may not even need to change their diet.

That said, there are lots of dog foods tailored specifically to the needs of older dogs who may have certain health issues. “Senior diets are formulated to target some of the common ailments of older pets, such as joint health, digestive health, immune health, and possibly others,” says Swanson.

Senior dog food is usually easier to digest and may be lower in calories since older dogs aren’t always as active. Food for senior dogs may be higher in protein to help maintain their muscle, fiber to help them stay regular, and extra antioxidants to limit oxidative stress and keep their immune system healthy. You may also see omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive performance because some senior dogs suffer from cognitive dysfunction, aka “doggy dementia.”

For older dogs, a bit of extra protein is a plus. As long as your dog doesn’t have any health conditions, look for a senior dog food that’s lower in fat and calories and has extra protein beyond the AAFCO minimum of 18%.

Our senior dog food picks are protein packed and have nutritional boosters that can support an older dog’s changing needs.

Don’t Miss: Why Is Royal Canin Dog Food So Expensive

How Long Does Fresh Dog Food Stay Fresh

Since fresh dog food contains no preservatives, it must be kept refrigerated or frozen.

Storage instructions vary from brand to brand. In most cases, fresh dog food can last for up to 6 months, as long as the food package remains frozen and unopened.

Once a container is defrosted, it should be kept in the refrigerator and used within 4 days.

Aafco Nutrient Requirements For Dogs A


Growth and Reproduction Minimum



a Nutrient requirements are indicated on a dry-matter basis and are per kg of diet, not per kg of body weight of animal. These AAFCO nutrient profiles for dog foods presume an energy density of 3.5 kcal ME/g dry matter. Rations > 4 kcal/g should be corrected for energy density.

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Best Dog Food For Small And Large Breeds

Small breed dogs and large breed dogs have different nutritional needs. Large breed dogs are more prone to musculoskeletal problems than smaller breeds, and so they often require large-breed dog food with different balances of certain nutrients to promote musculoskeletal health, especially as puppies. Small breed dogs, on the other hand, can choke on large-sized kibble and have their own nutritional requirements that can be accommodated with a small-breed dog food. Research your dogs breed to find out if there are any additional nutritional requirements you should be aware of.

How Often Should I Feed My Dog

Best cat food brands (2021) – Jess Caticles

Swanson explains that several factors determine the frequency of feeding, such as life stage, health status, and palatability. “The most important thing is to feed a complete and balanced diet and provide controlled amounts of food. Monitor your dog’s body weight and body condition over time and adjust feeding amounts so that a healthy body weight is maintained,” he says.

Dog food labels include feeding guidelines. However, these are general recommendations. Your veterinarian can provide individualized feeding recommendations for your dog to ensure proper nutrition and calorie intake.

Free choice feeding is not recommended because it can lead to overeating. Dogs aren’t known for their portion control, so food should not be left out for all-day eating.

Many dog owners love to feed treats to their dogs. When overdone, though, treats can add lots of extra calories to a dog’s diet, possibly leading to weight gain. Treats should comprise no more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake. Your veterinarian can help you determine how many “treat” calories your dog can have each day.

Read Also: Do Dogs Need Grain Free Food

Misconception About Dog Food

Youll be forgiven if this surprises you. We fall victim to clever marketing, and pet food marketers are up there with magicians they know how to trick us.

Most commercial dog foods are grain-based, not meat-based.

Walk down the dog food aisle in any supermarket across the world, and spend time looking at every packet of dog food. What pictures are on the front? What claims do they make?

Ask yourself how many say Rich in Wheat!, Grain is the first ingredient!, Packed with rice your dog will love!, or Made with real corn!.

Any of them?

Now turn those bags around and read the ingredients. Most commercial dog foods are made from grains!

Dont be fooled by grain-free slogans either. They usually swap grains for potatoes, tapioca, or other starchy high-carbohydrate ingredients. Theyll still market it as meaty.

When you read my reviews youll find thats not the only trickery they use to make a dog food appear like the best dog food in the aisle.

Even claims like meat first ingredient doesnt mean theres much of it in the product, so dont be fooled by that one either.

What Should I Look For When Buying Dog Food

If you want to know if a dog food is nutritionally complete, with a healthy balance of protein, fat, and fiber, look for an Association of American Feed Control Officials statement on the packages reading label or on the brands website. AAFCO is not a regulatory body, but they set recommendations for nutrient content for dog food creators to use as a guideline to make sure the food has everything a dog would need, Dr. Kimmselstiel explains.

In addition to protein, fat, and fiber, a healthy, high-quality dog food should also contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids, Lori Prantil, MPS, DVM, DACVIM, with VCA South Shore Animal Hospital, tells SELF: These components are needed to build and maintain tissue and carry out biological reactions, and the necessary amounts can vary somewhat with the dogâs stage of life. If you want to know those correct amounts, again, get in touch with your trusty vet.

Recommended Reading: How To Make Your Own Dog Food

Does Aafco Test Pet Foods Or Regulate Pet Food Ingredients

AAFCO does NOT directly test, regulate, approve, or certify pet foods to make sure that they meet the standard requirements. Instead, they establish guidelines for ingredient definitions, product labels, feeding trials, and laboratory analyses of the nutrients that go into pet foods.

Pet food companies then use third-party testing agencies to analyze their foods according to the AAFCO guidelines.

AAFCO guidelines for pet food labels include:

  • Product and brand name

  • Name and location of the manufacturer

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain

Fromm Family Foods Large Breed Puppy Gold Dry Dog Food


Grain Free Adult Chicken is one of 18 dry recipes covered in our review of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, pea protein, tapioca starch
  • Other recipes: Puppy, large breed, senior, healthy weight, and many others
  • See all 18 available recipes

This Blue Buffalo formula derives most of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 17% fat and 38% estimated carbs delivering a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

Made with all natural ingredients. Contains no poultry by-product meals, corn, soy, wheat, or artificial flavors and coloring agents. A superior grain-free, fully balanced recipe thats ideal for adult dogs. Highly recommended.

Sample buyer reviewHaving a picky pooch, we are always trying to find something she will eat. We have found it with food. Her coat is looking and feeling better, she has more energy and loves feeding time.

Recommended Reading: What Is Dog Food Made Of

What Are Aafco Dog Food Nutrient Profiles

If youve closely studied your dogs food label, you may have noticed AAFCO mentioned somewhere on the bag. What is AAFCO and what does it do, though?

The Association of American Feed Control Officials is a voluntary membership association. Its a multidisciplinary group comprised of federal and state officials, veterinarians, scientists and more.

They are tasked with identifying safe ingredients, outlining pet food label requirements and building nutrient profiles based on the latest findings in pet nutrition research. States use AAFCOs guidelines as a baseline when creating their pet food regulations.

Nutrients In Canine Maintenance Products

Of the 20 products labelled for canine adults or all life stages, 12 were produced in North America and eight in Europe. Four products met all AAFCO recommendations for adult maintenance, one met all FEDIAF recommendations for adult maintenance at a lower energy intake and two met all FEDIAF recommendations for adult maintenance at a higher energy intake .

Recommended Reading: Large Breed Puppy Food Best

How To Shop For The Best Food For Dogs

One of the most important steps in figuring out the best dog food is through the ingredient list, said Freeman, noting the first three are the most critical. This will help you determine if the formula is vegetable-based with things like corn and rice or meat-based with chicken, fish, or lamb, said Freeman. While each dog is different, they generally do best on a protein-rich, meat-based diet, she added.

Next, analyze what type of meat is within. Look for brands that specifically name the type of meat, like beef, chicken, or lamb, said Morgan. She noted that meat, bone meal or meat byproducts could come from any animal. Similarly, poultry meal signals any bird, she said.

The ingredients will also highlight some of what you want to avoid. Freeman suggested avoiding dog food that includes: dyes , sugar and high salt , as well as other solvents and preservatives like propylene glycol, BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.

What Goes Into A 4 Star Dog Food Brand

5 Best Dog Foods in 2021

A 4-star dog food brand may not offer the same quality as a 5-star brand, but it is still a great option for your dog. In order to be labeled complete and balanced by the American Association of Feed Control Officials , dog food must meet certain minimum requirements.

These requirements can be met using low-quality ingredients, but that wont be the case for a 4-star dog food. A 4-star dog food will still be rich in protein and healthy fats with limited carbohydrate content.

The main difference between a 4-star and a 5-star dog food is that a 5-star dog food may contain more supplements but are not inherently dangerous for dogs.

When it comes to protein, a 4-star dog food will be rich in animal-based proteins like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. A high-quality source of protein will be listed first on the ingredients list with supplementary proteins as well as healthy fats and digestible carbohydrates making up the rest of the top 10 ingredients.

A 4-star dog food may contain grains, though they should be digestible forms like whole brown rice or whole grain oatmeal, or it could be grain-free, made with starchy vegetables, beans, or legumes as alternative carbohydrate sources.

The recipe should ideally contain at least one source of animal-based fats, though there may be supplementary fat sources that come from plants such as plant oils or seeds.

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Best For Puppies: Purina One


  • More affordable than Purina Pro Plan

  • Brand employs team of nutritionists and vets

  • Products made in USA

  • Limited number of products

The brands above all offer high-quality puppy food, but another top choice for puppies is Purina One. Similar to Purina Pro Plan, Purina One is a science-based food that offers premium nutrition for growing dogs. This brand offers three puppy-specific foods, including a regular dry food, large breed puppy dry food, and wet food option, and you can typically find these products at big name retail and grocery storesnot just specialty pet stores.

Like other Purina brands, Purina One formulas are created by the companys team of nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists, and they provide balanced and complete nutrition for growing puppies. The food follows AAFCO guidelines, and its made without any unnecessary filler ingredients.

Best Overall: Carna4 Chicken Dog Food

  • Real Meat – Contains Meats In…
  • Safe – Every Batch Of Carna4…
  • Convenient Easy-To-Serve…

Topping my list of vet-recommended dog food brands is Carna4.

This recommendation has come from my research and stumbling upon The Tattooed Dog Trainer. She is a pet nutritionist and has years of experience in both pet nutrition and dog training.

Carna4 is a Canadian company and has been a forerunner in quality control and AAFCO nutrition standards since 2010.

It has an amazing nutrition panel and is completely synthetic-free.

Many companies sacrifice profit over nutrition with how the kibble is processed.

When manufacturers process kibble, they use extremely high temperatures which sucks out the nutrients.

Then cheaper, synthetic replacements are put back into the kibble to replace what the high heat took out.

Their kibble is also slow baked which is great.

Now, this option is definitely more on the expensive side so we’ve found more affordable options if price is an issue.

Lastly, the owners of Carna4 are an independent company, which means they are much more stringent on what they put into their food.

Also Check: Dr Marty Nature Blend Dog Food

Nutro Ultra Dry Dog Food


Nutro Ultra Adult is one of 9 dry recipes included in our review of the Nutro Ultra product line.

  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain sorghum, whole grain barley, whole grain oats
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Other recipes: Beef, duck, lamb, fish, small breed, large breed, puppy, senior and more

This Nutro formula derives most of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 24% protein, 15% fat and 53% estimated carbs which creates a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

Available in a wide range of flavor and recipe options. One of our top value picks.

Sample buyer reviewI have 5 dogsranging in different sizes and breeds. This is the ONE food I can get them all to eat without having to buy a bunch of different brands or formulas. Thank you Nutro!

This Go! Carnivore formula derives the majority of its animal protein from chicken, turkey and salmon meals, as well both chicken and turkey. Our dry matter label analysis reveals the recipe contains 38% protein, 18% fat and 36% estimated carbs resulting in a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Free of GMO ingredients and loaded with meat. A rare find. Highly recommended.

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