Finding the right dog food can be confusing. Here’s how to find the perfect formula:
Look at the label. There are strict AAFCO requirements for dog food formulas to carry these labels. Here’s what they mean:
Example: Beef, Chicken 'n Liver Dog Food.
What this means: 95% of the food must be made of the named ingredient. If there’s more than one ingredient in the name, there has to be more of the first ingredient than the second.
25% or "dinner" rule.
Example: Beef Dinner for Dogs, Chicken formula Dog Food
What this means: 25% of the product must contain the named ingredient. "Platter," "entrée," "nuggets" and "formula" are names that also use this rule. If more than one ingredient is named, then only 3% of each ingredient must be added.
3% or "with" rule.
Example: Dog Food with Beef
What this means: Only 3% of the ingredient must be in the product. This label can be easily confused with the 95% rule label. For example, "Beef Dog Food" will contain at least 95% beef, while "Dog Food with Beef" could possibly contain only 3% beef.
Example: Beef-flavored Dog Food
What this means: There’s no specific percentage required under this rule. However, the product must contain an amount sufficient to be detected by animals trained to prefer that flavor. It could have any substance that gives that flavor impression.
Look at the package.
The minimum levels of protein, fiber and fat in the food. Depending on your dog’s health and activity levels, these can help you gauge if they are within the range of your pet’s needs.
The ingredients list. The order of ingredients as they are listed is based on their percentages in the food, from greatest to least. Protein can come from a variety of sources, including plant matter, so make sure the bulk of the protein in your dog's food is derived from meat and poultry products.
Consider your dog’s life stage or breed. Many dog food manufacturers offer specific foods that meet the unique nutritional needs of your dog based on age/stage, activity level, size or breed. There are also specialty formulas for sensitive stomach, weight loss, spay and neuter:
Puppy. Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for growth and gestation/lactation.
Adult. Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for adult dogs.
Senior. Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for senior dogs.
Consider brand reputation.
Because nothing on the label can tell you how fresh the ingredients are, trusting the dog food brand is very important. Brands that offer a money-back guarantee or brands recommended by your veterinarian are great places to start.
Here are the primary changes:
As our business has expanded, our family of online stores has become more active. We have expanded the disclosure regarding the types of information that you may provide when making purchases through our site or one of our affiliated sites.
You may have noticed that we have expanded our business to offer you a wider variety of services for your pet and different ways to interact with our sites. We have clarified that information about you may be collected from interactive forums, social networks, and other functionalities on our sites; and that your location information may be collected.
We have clarified how we and our affiliated companies may use information collected through our site.
We have added disclosures about do-not-track technologies and the collection of information through our sites by third parties, in accordance with recent legislation.
We have clarified that, in the event of a merger or acquisition, the information collected through our sites may be transferred to our acquirer. In addition, we have clarified that there are other circumstances in which we may disclose information to third parties; for example, to comply with a legal process, enforce our agreements, protect our and others’ safety and security, or to complete a transaction for you.
Finally, we have expanded the ways in which you can contact us to include our phone number and address.