Archive

An Important Tip When Reading Pet Food Labels


With all the pet foods on the market, it can be difficult to know which one to feed your critters. There are brand, flavor and ingredient considerations, but then there’s your pet’s response to what you’re feeding. Ultimately, pets respond differently to different commercial diets, and some actually do best on more basic pet foods.

One important detail to look for on any pet food label is the AAFCO statement. The Association of American Feed Control Officials is a non-profit organization that sets the quality and safety standards, and establishes standard ingredient definitions and minimal nutritional requirements for animal feed and pet food in the U.S. When a manufacturer makes a pet food, it usually follows the AAFCO ingredient list and therefore can put the following claim on the bag or can: “…formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Food Nutrient Profiles.”

However, diets that have this claim were not fed to animals prior to being marketed, so their safety and efficacy were not established prior to hitting the store shelves. This can be disconcerting, so manufacturers that go through the effort of actually conducting feeding trials prior to selling a product to the public allows them to make a more substantial AAFCO claim on their label that documents that the food is truly complete and balanced: “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that [name of diet] provides complete and balanced nutrition...”

This doesn’t mean that foods lacking the AAFCO feeding trial claims are unsafe foods. But it does show the manufacturer’s level of commitment to the product, and that’s certainly something to make note of.

Let us know if you have questions about your pet’s food, and learn more at www.aafco.org.

1 Comments

Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
May 29th, 2012

Posted in:

The case of the anorexic guinea pig. . .


Although the majority of pets we see are cats and dogs, there are many other species that come through our doors in need of help. This guinea pig’s appetite had declined, so we needed to carefully examine her teeth as part of her evaluation. Dental problems are often the trigger for hunger strikes in guinea pigs, and although this girl was sweet, she wouldn’t give us a good look in her mouth. In this picture, her head is placed in an airtight cone which contains anesthetic gas. We chose this approach because we weren’t sure how sick she was, and if we gave her injectable sedatives, she might not fully wake up for hours. Using the gas is very helpful in many exotic species because the effect wears off very quickly once you stop giving it. This pig got rather dopey after a minute of breathing the gas, and that allowed us enough time to look thoroughly through her mouth. We didn’t find any glaring issues, so we focused on what she’s been eating since guinea pigs and other exotic pets can get very sick if they’re not fed an appropriate diet. For example, like people, guinea pigs can’t make vitamin C, and they need to get it from the food they eat. Peppers (like red or green) have a very high amount of bioavailable vitamin C and are a great way to meet a guinea pig’s daily requirement. For this pig we recommended feeding 1/8 of a medium sized red pepper once a day to help provide vitamin C. If all goes well, she’ll soon be back to the food dish with reckless abandon!

0 Comments

Posted by:
raycahill

Posted on:
May 2nd, 2012

Posted in: