Welcome to National Pet Food Nutrition Month. This is the perfect time to consider whether what you feed your pet is the most nutritious choice. Some pet owners buy their food by default, meaning they pick the most inexpensive option from the store shelf. However, it's important to consider your pet's species, age, and special health requirements when purchasing food. Additionally, make sure that you are aware of common marketing ploys from pet food manufacturers to avoid needlessly spending more money.
Unfortunately, pet food manufacturing is not closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any company can include words like natural, organic, holistic, low fat, or a similar term without having to prove that the contents of the food actually meet that description. All pet food in a bag or a can is processed, no matter how healthy the manufacturers claim it is. That means it contains flavor enhancers, extra fats, additives, and preservatives to enable the food to stay fresh for up to several months until a consumer purchases it.
How to Know if a Pet Food Meets Basic Nutritional Requirements
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an organization offering voluntary membership to federal, state, and local agencies responsible for regulating the distribution and sale of food for animals. Any product with AAFCO certification means that it meets the organization's minimum standards for vitamins and trace minerals. Here is some of the criteria AAFCO uses when granting certification: