A Guthrie vet discusses how to understand pet food nutritional statements and select a good pet food brand.
All pet food diets have to meet specific standards set up by the Association of American Feed Controls Officials (AAFCO) to be able to manufacture and sell within the United States. A Guthrie vet says that all pet foods must be complete and balanced and it must specify for a life cycle the food is intended to be feed. These two items and reading the AAFCO label are far more important than looking at the actual ingredients. Ingredients are important but you must realize that not all ingredients can be utilized by pets as in people.
There are three ways for a diet to be declared complete and balanced. Laboratory analysis on the actual pet food, a mathematical calculation based on nutritional information or a feeding trial where the food is fed to animals over a period of time. Just because a diet has been formulated and says it is complete and balanced doesn’t guarantee that the pet is benefiting from the ingredients. A Guthrie vet says the best foods to feed are foods that have been determined complete and balanced by a feeding trial! The method of determination is always stated on the AAFCO statement which is somewhere on the bag.
The second important aspect is to determine which life cycle category is appropriate for your pet and to feed that type of food. The four life stages that have been determined by AAFCO are adult (maintenance), growth (puppy/kitten), reproduction (pregnant animals) and all life stages. There is no profile for senior or geriatric patients that has been determined by AAFCO. Food that is labeled senior/geriatric is a gimmick used for marketing terms. Many dog foods fall into the all life stages category, which means that it is appropriate for all stages. These foods have to meet higher requirements in order to sustain the growing and pregnant animals and therefore contain more than needed for an adult animal. A Guthrie vet says it’s better to tailor the food to each individual animal based on their actual life stage and feed for growth, maintenance or reproduction instead of all life stages.
Here are a few other facts by a Guthrie vet to keep in mind. I know a lot of people switch brands of foods, so if you do this it is important to feed according to the guild lines on the bag of food because calorie content can vary 200-300 kcal/cup between different diets. It’s best to feed according to the guild lines on the bag of food. The amount listed is a range that is to be feed per day. I also recommend staying away from pet foods containing dyes as these serve no nutritional value for your pet and only makes the product look more appealing to us fur parents. There is no documented health benefits to feeding a grain free diet. Grain free does not mean that it is low in carbohydrates. These diets are usually substituting a lower quality carbohydrate to meet energy requirements. All natural is not the same as organic. To be listed as organic there are very strict guild lines that have to be met. There are over 50 dog and cat food products currently on recall lists, so please check the AVMA website for a current list of recalled products. If you store your food in another container always keep the product code and lot number of the food for recall purposes.
Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients as family. Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but our very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.