AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO is a non-profit institution that specifies benchmarks for animal feeds and pet foods in the United States. The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles are the primary guidelines pet food companies follow while manufacturing their products. This AAFCO created Nutrient Profile is available in the AAFCO Official Publication. These AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles are the nutritional standards pet food companies use to ensure that their products are healthy.
What are the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles?
The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles are the pet food company’s standards and are part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) act. For marketing a dog food, as “complete and balanced”, the dog food needs to satisfy the nutritional parameters set by AAFCO. The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles outline the minimum amount of nutrients present in dog food.
AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles are divided into the standard profile and the complete and balanced profile. The standard profile is used for most companies and is just a basic guideline, and the complete and balanced profile is the standard that should be followed by the companies certified as AAFCO-approved.
How the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles Created
The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles are created based on the nutritional needs of dogs. It is prepared by a committee of experts in canine and feline nutrition. The committee comprises a group of veterinarians, nutritionists, and scientists who are experts in the field. The committee then uses the nutritional needs of dogs and cats to create a list of nutrients necessary for their health. They then make a list of nutrients that are optional for the animal. It is then up to the manufacturer of the food to decide whether or not they will include these optional nutrients in the food.
How to use the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles
The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles are a list of standards for the nutritional requirements of dogs. This is an excellent guideline for pet owners who need to know what nutrients their pet needs to thrive. The AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles can be found on the AAFCO official website. The profiles are categorized below based on the dog’s life stages.
|AAFCO Nutrient Profiles For Dogs||AAFCO Symbol|
|Growth and Reproduction||G|
|All Life Stages||A|
Growth and Reproduction
Dog food products marked as Growth and Reproduction(G) are formulated specially covers nutrients needed by a growing puppy, pregnant and lactating females and females in whelping.
Dog food products marked as Maintenance(M) are basically designed for the healthy adult dogs.
All Life Stages
“All Life Stages(A)” dog food products can be considered for all dogs and puppies as well.
When a dog food product cannot complete either the AAFCO adult maintenance or growth and reproduction standards must specify that the dog food product is planned for Supplemental(S) feeding only.
It means that the dog food specification is Unspecified(U) on Product’s Webpage.
How can a Dog Food Company demand a specific product that meets one of the two AAFCO nutrient profiles?
For any dog food company to declare a product is complete and balanced for a specific life stage of a dog, the declaration needs to be validated in one of two way
- AAFCO compliant feeding trials
- Nutrient content analysis
If a dog food product cannot fulfill either of the AAFCO nutrient profiles?
As per AFFCO, when any dog food product cannot complete either the AAFCO adult maintenance or growth and reproduction standards must specify that the dog food product is planned for periodical or supplemental feeding only, i.e. the product is not intended for long-term use.
This article is a good overview of the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.