Best Dog Food Ingredients – Are They Misunderstood?

Best Dog Food Ingredients – Dog food consumers are being misled by the ingredients listed on the dog food label.  Much of the confusion is being caused by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). 

AAFCO is the organization charged with the responsibility of providing definitions of pet food ingredients.  They are responsible for bringing clarity to the dog owner in purchasing its food.

Chicken is listed as the first ingredient on many dog food labels.  But according to AAFCO, chicken or chicken meal can consist of only chicken bones and skin.  According to the AAFCO definition, chicken or chicken meal does not have to be human grade quality.  It could be food that humans would never consider eating.

Chicken meal is the chicken with the water removed.

Based on the label, the consumer doesn’t know what is being purchased.  You don’t know if the chicken is muscle meat only (this is desired) or muscle meat and  bones and/or skin.

Reputable companies will display the grade of the chicken, chicken meal, or other meat products.  That is, they will say if the food is human grade.  If they do not do this, this raises a major red flag.

Here is the only way to know if the meat product in the pet food is human grade or some junk ingredient that humans would never eat.  The pet food must have APHIS certification.

APHIS EU stands for Animal Plant Health Inspection Services European Union.  All pet foods exported to Europe must have this certification.  European law requires that all pet food imports must be human grade quality.

So if the pet food has the APHIS certification, it is human grade.  If it doesn’t, you are taking a big chance in feeding the food.

I read an outstanding article on the topic of the best dog food ingredients – particularly, as it relates to the confusion caused by AAFCO.  It is entitled “Is there Chicken in Chicken Pet Foods?” by Susan Thixton.   Here is a quote:

Problems with this pet food ingredient definition…
#1  This ingredient (which includes all types of poultry including chicken) can be “a combination thereof” of any part of poultry.  This means that a pet food, proudly claiming Chicken as the #1 ingredient, can include ONLY chicken bones and/or skin (left over from the human food industry).

#2  “It shall be suitable for use in animal food” means that animals rejected for use in human food for reasons including (but not limited to) disease and drug residues are approved for use in pet food.  This we can thank the FDA for.  Federal Food Safety Laws should make it illegal for pet food to include whole or parts of diseased or rejected animals, but FDA Compliance Policies tell pet food it is acceptable to use diseased and drugged animals in pet food (“it shall be suitable for use in animal food”).

Ms Thixton goes on to say:

Pet food regulations are not currently designed to provide petsumers with much information or protection.  Regardless of what the television commercials say or images on the pet food bag/can portray, what is inside the bag or can is the information you need to know before you feed it to your pet.  These questions will give you a wealth of information and a great start to learning exactly what you are feeding your pet…

What is the grade of meat used in your pet foods?  What cut of meat is used in your pet foods?

If they don’t respond or can’t tell you – that speaks volumes.

This is an extremely important article that Ms. Thixton has written.  You can read the complete article here.  I highly recommend that you read it.  The author is extremely well respected in the pet food industry.

The Life’s Abundance dog food is AAFCO and APHIS certified.  That means it is guaranteed to be of human grade quality.  It meets the highest quality standards in the world.  And it comes at a very reasonable cost per serving.

Have you ever researched the best dog food ingredients, specifically as they relate to human quality or junk that we would never consider eating?  We owe our pets the time and effort needed to make sure they are getting quality food.

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2 Responses to Best Dog Food Ingredients – Are They Misunderstood?

  1. carolyn smith says:

    is there a consumer guide that shows other brands of dog food and their certifications? we use Precise and now I am worried that we may be using a poor quality of food. thank you

    • admin says:

      I don’t know of a consumer guide that can give you a honest opinion of dog food quality. There are some sites that claim that they can do this, but I would not trust them. You cannot judge the quality of food by looking at the label. There are many other things that must be considered.

      I have seen websites recommend certain brands of dog food and then see that brand of food recalled a few months later. They obviously do not have the interest of the pet at heart.

      If you trust the manufacturer of the Precise brand of food, then you should probably stick with it. Let me know if you have any questions.

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