What should I feed my dog?
That is a question that every veterinarian receives on a daily basis and may be difficult to answer. Nutrition is complex and must take into account patient size, species, life stage and any concurrent systemic and metabolic needs. There are, however, guidelines that can be followed.
- When evaluating food brands, look for ones that meets AAFCO standards. The AAFCO Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food Labeling Guide was developed in collaboration with feed control officials from different states. The labeling guide provides information on the AAFCO Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food as well as a uniform and consistent way of looking at claims on pet food labels. AAFCO does not regulate, test, approve or certify pet foods in any way. AAFCO establishes the nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods, and it is the pet food company’s responsibility to formulate their products according to the appropriate AAFCO standard.
- Follow WSAVA feeding guidelines: WSAVA stands for World Small Animal Veterinary Association. WSAVA is a global community of more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide drawn from our 105 member associations that includes board certified nutritionists. Attached are feeding guidelines that are provided by WSAVA. Also review WSAVA’s guide to learning about nutrition on the internet.
- The large food companies; Purina, Hills, Eukanuba and Royal Canin not only meet AAFCO guidelines but have the resources to run food trials with large sample of dogs and employee veterinary nutritionists on their staff to help formulate their diets to be nutritionally complete and balanced.
These are some basic guidelines. As always if you have questions, please schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians and have a conversation about what food may be best for your dog.
Dr. Maria Belu
Ebenezer Animal Hospital