Why you should consider buying only AAFCO complied dog food
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Why you should consider buying only AAFCO complied dog food

What is AAFCO?
AAFCO is an acronym for the Association of American Feed Control Officials. AAFCO is a non-profit organization that sets standards for both animal feeds and pet foods and drug remedies in the United States. AAFCO also establishes standard ingredient definitions and nutritional requirements for pet foods. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) was formed in 1909 to establish a framework for uniform regulation of the feed industry including pet food industry. Although not a government agency, AAFCO operates within the guidelines of federal and state legislation including laws administered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

What does AAFCO do?
AAFCO establishes standards or models for regulations aimed at ensuring that manufacturers provide clear, accurate, and consistent information about animal feed, including pet food. Every year AAFCO issues an official publication called the AAFCO Manual. This manual, in addition to listing ingredient definitions and feed terms, addresses labelling issues such as label format, ingredient lists, nutrition claims, and guaranteed analysis.

Why following AAFCO is important?
AAFCO nutrient profiles have 37 nutritional parameters for dogs and 44 for cats. These nutritional parameters have minimums and sometimes maximums, plus different life stages (puppy or adult: Puppy has different nutritional requirements than an adult dog) require different ratios and amounts of nutrients. Also, certain ingredients common to human foods are toxic to pets and micronutrients, such as selenium, are required in extraordinarily small amounts but any more than that level is toxic.

The ingredients a person or organization may select for formulating a cat or dog food will have certain amounts of certain nutrients, but the preparer should be careful to include ingredients that provide all of the required nutrients and in the correct ratios that the animal requires for its particular stage of life. Following these guidelines ensure that the dog who eats the food gets all the essential nutrients he/she needs to lead a healthy life.

How the claim can be made?
The “AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy or purpose,” also called a “nutrition claim” or “complete and balanced statement,” identifies which life stage and/or lifestyle the product has been approved for. Under AAFCO regulations, this statement must be substantiated by the manufacturer.

AAFCO recognizes three methods for substantiating the claim:

  • Laboratory analysis – The finished product is compared to minimum nutritional values established by AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for dogs or cats.
  • Feeding trials - The finished product that has been laboratory tested is fed to dogs or cats according to AAFCO protocols.
  • Analysis comparable in nutritional adequacy - The laboratory analysis of the finished product is compared with nutritional values from a similar product fed to dogs and cats according to AAFCO protocols.

Does AAFCO approve any petfood?
AAFCO does NOT directly test, regulate, approve, or certify pet foods to make sure that they meet the standard requirements. Instead, they establish guidelines for ingredient definitions, product labels, feeding trials, and laboratory analyses of the nutrients that go into pet foods. Pet food companies then use third-party testing agencies to analyze their foods according to the AAFCO guidelines. Following AAFCO is compulsory for all the petfood companies in the US but responsible pet food companies of other countries follow these guidelines too to ensure the nutritional adequacy of their products.

AAFCO guidelines for pet food labels include:

  • Product and brand name
  • Species of animal that the food is intended for
  • Net quantity
  • Guaranteed analysis
  • Ingredient list
  • Life stage (puppy or adult)
  • Nutritional adequacy statement (complete and balanced statement)
  • Feeding directions
  • Name and location of the manufacturer

With Freshwoof you don’t have to worry about the nutritional aspects of the food at all. Freshwoof has been lab tested to provide all the essential nutrients a dog needs, following American (AAFCO), Indian and European (FEDIAF) nutritional guidelines for adult dogs. And just like a homemade food Freshwoof is made with real human-grade ingredients without any nasties like artificial preservatives, harmful chemicals, by-products and artificial colors and flavors. Just healthy and complete dog food made with love in a safe & hygienic FDA-certified facility. 

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