AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles


The following items represent some of The Dog Food Advisor’s most frequently asked questions about AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles.

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 in the United States.

What are AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles?

In order for a dog food to be marketed as “complete and balanced”, it must meet the nutritional standards established by AAFCO.

These nutritional adequacy standards are defined by two nutrient profiles based upon a dog’s stage of life…

  • Adult maintenance
  • Growth and reproduction

What does growth and reproduction mean?

Dog foods rated for “growth and reproduction” are designed for puppies and pregnant or lactating females.

How can a manufacturer claim a particular product meets one of the two AAFCO nutrient profiles?

In order for any dog food company to claim a product is “complete and balanced” for a specific life stage, that claim must first have been validated in one of two ways…

  • Laboratory analysis only
  • Laboratory analysis plus actual feeding trials

How can a consumer know which method was used to verify AAFCO nutritional adequacy?

The first method uses laboratory analysis of a sample to verify the food meets AAFCO nutritional standards. The label will read…

“(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles”

The second not only uses laboratory analysis but also proves that nutritional adequacy by conducting actual feeding trials with real dogs. This type of adequacy statement will probably read…

“Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition”

What if a dog food cannot meet either of the AAFCO nutrient profiles?

Any product that cannot meet either the AAFCO adult maintenance or growth and reproduction standards must state…

“This product is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only”

In other words, a product not intended for long-term use.

How can I tell if a particular dog food is OK for my puppy?

Any dog food that claims to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for either “growth” or “all life stages” should be fine for your puppy.

Is it OK to feed a puppy a dog food claiming to be suitable for “all life stages”?

AAFCO only recognizes two dog food nutrient profiles

  • Adult maintenance
  • Growth and reproduction

However, manufacturers are permitted to market a dog food as suitable for “all life stages” so long as it meets the more stringent guidelines for “growth and reproduction”.

In other words, any dog food suitable for “all life stages” is also suitable for puppies, too.

  • Anne Kelly
  • Betsy Greer

    Wikipedia says that the company was named after Paul Iams who founded it in 1946. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iams

  • Toni Tippin

    I’ve been trying to find meaning of Iams dog and cat food.
    Would anyone happen to have an answer?
    I believe S means Science or Scientific.

  • ricky

    I have a American bulldog mixed with a can corso
    He itches himself a lot .. I switched food from chicken to salmon kibble, and currently on

    Still has the same problem. Could it be anyway possible it might just be the shampoo that’s causing it.

  • disqus_NsXk2VlHov

    Down with the krapple.

  • Shawna

    Bwahaha, I totally missed that!

  • Cyndi

    & I would expect you to do just that & you did it VERY well!! Lol!

  • theBCnut

    I’m just exploiting the situation!!

  • Cyndi

    I’ve learned the hardway too, you should ALWAYS proof read before you hit “post”. LOL! Thanks for the laugh, even though I’m sure you didn’t do it on purpose…

  • Cyndi

    I thought it was YOU who made the typo, but just realized it was up a couple comments, lol! Still made me LOL, so thanks, I needed that today! ;)

  • Cyndi

    Lmao!! “Incest” repellant? Typo of ALL typos!!

  • theBCnut

    One of those silly cures-incest repellant.

  • Shawna

    I think a lot of “cures” have been attributed to ACV that seem a bit silly. But it only makes sense that it helps with the digestion of proteins by increasing the acidity in the body of the stomach which in turn activates pepsin which digests protein. That same acidic value does kill certain bacteria and fungi just as probiotics in the colon creating lactic and butyric acids helps for the same reason.

  • Jenny

    Apple Cider Vinegar – a holistic cure all. Purportedly good for arthritis, digestion, UTI’s, growth/fur conditioner, antibacterial and fungal infxns, skin flaking, incest repellant, prevents food poisoning, muscle fatigue, itching, cold temp adaptation, calluses, ear infections. You get the picture. No scientific proof that it works.

  • theBCnut

    There is NOTHING in puppy food that is inappropriate for adult dogs. All Life Stages foods are puppy foods. AAFCO recognizes two profiles Growth and Maintenance. If a food qualifies for Growth, the company may choose to label it All Life Stages.

  • Guest

    I woud reconsider finding some thing suited for all life stages and something directed towards your pets current age and breed. A puppies needs are much different than a adults/ seniors and vice versa. You wouldn’t be feeding a teenager baby food would you?

  • theBCnut

    Which parasites, specifically, are you worried about?

  • Shawna

    Hi dogwhisperer,

    That is actually a misconception that many hold but in an otherwise healthy dog is not a concern.

    Dr. Meg Smart is a veterinary nutritionist and taught clinical nutrition for over 30 years. She writes
    “I see a benefit in feeding whole
    foods whether cooked or raw. Genetically the dog and the anatomy of its digestive tract are closely aligned with that of the wolf. So we can use this as a dietary model when designing diets for the domestic dog.” http://www.angryvet.com/angryvet-nutrition-interview-drs-joseph-wakshlag-and-meg-smart/

    She discusses and recommends raw on her blog too http://petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com/2012/08/an-evidence-based-rebuttal-to-avma.html

    I can give the names of at least 20
    vets, off the top of my head, that recommend a raw diet that are easily verifiable online. Like Dr. Karen Becker and Dr. Martin Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein is known for his successes in treating cancer patients. Dr. Barbara Royal recently created a raw diet made by Darwins for dogs with kidney disease and another for dogs with liver disease.

    Dr. Becker has a video/article on
    the topic titled “Raw Meat: The Completely Healthy ‘Pet’ Diet Your Vet Probably Vilifies” http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/02/15/raw-meat-the-best-and-healthiest-diet-for-pet-cats-and-dogs.aspx Lots of good info..

    Of course if I bought some contaminated meat from the store and let it sit so the bacteria could repopulate and then fed it to an immune compromised dog, there would be consequences. But no more so than these poor dogs who have been affected by contaminated kibble.

    I’ve fed raw for about 10 years now
    to over 30 dogs (including my foster dogs) and have yet to have an issue.

  • dogwhisperer

    please reconsider feeding raw, you may be missing parasites in the meat that can be killed with high temperatures.

  • theBCnut

    NutriSource is an easy to switch to food with a good price point.

  • theBCnut

    My 12 year old couch potato is a very trim 12 lbs, she was fat on kibble. She also showed signs of arthritis on kibble. In the wild, canids puncture the stomach and spill the vast majority of the contents on the ground, they do not magically swallow it whole. And even that fails to consider that wild animals would not be feeding in grain fields naturally, so a wild canid would get next to no grains.

  • Shawna

    Hi Tony,

    Interestingly, they have demonstrated that dogs on high protein, and low carb, diets are able to lose weight quite efficiently. Here’s a research paper in the Journal of Nutrition discussing it http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/6/1685S.full There is additional research as well.

    They have also debunked the notion that high protein leads to joint and bone issue. It is not protein but rather over feeding in general as well as excess calcium. They discuss it here at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California – http://www.lgd.org/library/Optimal%20feeding%20of%20large%20breed%20puppies.pdf

    They state – “The same group went on to
    investigate the individual dietary components and demonstrated that dietary protein level had no effect on the development of osteochondrosis (Nap, et. al,1991). For some reason, dietary protein level continues to be incriminated by some owners, breeders, and veterinarians, despite the lack of supportive evidence”

    Some vets, like Dr. Karen Becker, feel that crystals form due to high carbohydrate diets — at least struvite crystals. The amino acid methionine (found in protein) was and may still be used to treat struvite crystals.

    Per AAFCO, Waltham, Purina and many other sources, dogs have absolutely no nutritional need for carbohydrates. If you look at the AAFCO guidelines, a diet can be complete and balanced without any grains or carbs of any kind. Fiber can come from other sources, such as bone, veggies etc. I would agree that grains might be eaten from an herbivores digestive tract but as you said, they have been fermented by said digestive tract first. Fermenting grains changes the nutritive value of said grain. Not to mention that the herbivore eating that grain would not eat it in the form we feed it. They would eat sprouted grains as the enzyme inhibitors and other anti-nutrients in non-sprouted grains make them much less nutritious for man and beast.

    I have eight dogs, the oldest is a 16 year old Chihuahua eating about 45 to 54% protein and no issues as yet (she’s been eating this way for about 10 years). My pup born with kidney disease is also on a high protein raw diet and will be eight years old this coming June. Science has proven that protein does not harm the kidneys too.

    Protein really isn’t the enemy. However carbs (specifically grains) can be quite problematic, especially to some.

  • Tony

    That’s an awful idea Shawna, without the exercise high protein diets will just settle onto a dog in the form of fat, hurting your dog. Especially as puppies, if you feed your dog too much protein their joints and bones with grow disproportionally and cause hip dysplasia and joint issues later in life, especially in larger breeds. Another factor is going to be the fact that when someone feeds a high protein diet they forget that a dog needs grains and replaces said grains with a protein source. People may say that in the wild a dog does not eat grain but they actually do. When a wolf kills a prey, which may be a grazer, he goes straight for the organs and stomach which contain naturally processed grains which the wolf then consumes. This grain is essential for fiber which will keep your dog (which is eating too much protein) lean in the way that the insoluble fiber will regulate his system and his soluble fiber will keep him full. Dogs should receive no more than a 28% protein throughout their lives, even if they are a very active dog. Don’t be shocked if your dogs have crystals when they get older and you are forced by a vet to put your dogs on a prescription dog food from a bag with a low protein percentage.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Equidae7 –

    Humans and dogs are two different species, therefore the dietary requirements of each species aren’t necessary going to be comparable – especially when you consider the fact that dogs are facultative carnivores while humans are omnivores. By the way, per the USDA, the recommended protein intake for adult humans is about 50 grams per day (slightly more for men and slightly less for women) – not 5 to 6 ounces which would be 140 – 168 grams as you state (just an fyi).

    Could you provide some researching showing that protein is, as you say, “killing” dogs? It’s known that consumption of protein in healthy dogs beyond the dog’s dietary requirement is not harmful.

    Per Small Animal Clinical Nutrition:

    “Feeding protein above requirements or recommendations for healthy dogs does not result in toxicity because the excess amino acids from the protein are carabolized and waste nitrogen is excreted.”

  • Shawna

    Interesting opinion. If protein should be lower in the diet, the only way to do this is to increase fat or carbohydrates. Which do you feel is healthier for the dog and in what form (such as saturated fats or soluble or insoluble fiber etc)?

    For full disclosure, I advocate high protein foods and I feed HIGH protein raw to all my dogs.

  • Amy Lungu

    Pugs are known for shedding. I brush my Tobi(pug) once a week. I use this silicone/rubber thing that looks much like an oversized silicone sponge with cone like tips. Here is a link to a similar one. http://www.petco.com/product/118845/Petco-Curry-Bathing-Brush-for-Dogs.aspx
    I use it in the bath with shampoo and it really helps remove the loose fur and control the shedding.

  • Equidae7

    Ok, gotta vent – any capital letters in this post are for emphasis only, I’m not shouting! First thing – if you love your dog, please do NOT feed it like a wolf. Wolves and wild dogs need these high levels of protein because they do NOT EAT EVERY DAY! For wild dogs and wolves, it could be days or weeks between meals – that’s why THEY need high protein. The domestic dog eats once or twice a day and at the levels of protein needed by a wolf, that is too much! Think of how much protein you eat in a day and the fact that the USDA has set the human requirement for protein to 5 to 6 OUNCES per day. That’s about 10% of the diet. Bodybuilders are careful to restrict their protein intake to less than 20% per day. Now think about how much bigger we are than our dogs. Dog food manufacturers are killing our pets with protein! The excess protein initially makes dogs seem healthy because they’re bouncing off the walls from the energy level. But deep inside, they’re dying. However, the amounts and ratios of nutrients the dogs really need to be healthy are not disclosed. For example, the ratios of iron, zinc, manganese, and copper need to be 4:3:3:1. If these ratios are not present, deficiencies develop because these minerals compete for absorption and these imbalances may be deadly. Too little iron, and there is not enough hemoglobin, too little zinc, and the dog will overreact to stressful situations, too little copper and tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues will suffer, too little manganese and the dogs’ joints cannot make the lubricating (synovial) fluid that protects their joints! And PLEASE avoid any foods with added Omegas unless it is balanced with additional vitamin E. Omegas are fats and have a cumulative oxidizing effect and the body needs the additional vitamin E to clear the oxidation. Also, do not rely on the AAFCO seal as a sign the dog food is balanced. AAFCO only provides minimums, not maximums, and dog food manufacturers can still add excesses to create a shiner coat, higher energy, or anything else at the expense of our dogs organs and health.

    I know what you’re thinking, which dog food does all this and I don’t have an answer for you. But we will never have a healthy, affordable option to feed our dogs until we demand that dog food manufacturers lose the catchy wolf slogans and romantic wild notions and just make a dog food that is balanced for the health of our pets!

  • Julie Wallace

    I have a puggle, nearly 2, who lives in Provo, Utah. He is an indoor dog, who goes outside for brief periods. He sheds more than anyone can imagine and it didn’t get better during the winter. Any ideas? What’s the best food for this and anything else?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I have seen large dogs that were gobblers have kibble fly out of the corners of their mouth, but their problem really was that they needed to be slowed down rather than the size of the kibble.

  • LabsRawesome

    Now that I have a small dog, I like tiny kibble, it’s great for all size dogs, small to large. I don’t see a reason why a large dog would have trouble with small kibble, but my little guy did choke and cough up the foods with bigger kibbles occasionally.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Have you tried adding enough water or canned food that the pieces start sticking together? I can’t say that any of my large dogs has ever had problems eating small kibble, but it does seem kind of backwards to make a food specifically for large breeds but make it tiny.

  • Jennifer Murphy Burke

    I am not sure about the law, but this is my problem. I buy large breed dog food for my Great Dane and the pieces are so small the she cant eat them. I would like to find a high quality dog food for my great dane with proper size pieces. Any suggestions?

  • Sandymack

    I have a 9 year old Rat Terrier with an enlarged liver and high liver enzymes. Vet recommended a low protein dog food/diet… can anyone recommend one?

  • InkedMarie

    I’m so sorry.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Thank you, Shawna!

  • Shawna

    Prayers and cyber hugs to you all!!!!!

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Thank you, Patty, for hugging our hearts. I lost a very beloved cat to lymphoma three years ago – he died in my arms less than 15 minutes after I called to have my vet come to the house to keep him from suffering more. My husband was in Afghanistan so it was very hard on me. Now, I feel for my husband, on his own with his girl, and for the decision he’s made (the vet felt it would have been best to let her go this past Tuesday), but he knows he’s doing the right thing. We’ll get through it together (thank God for FaceTime).

  • Pattyvaughn

    Oh Sharon, I’m so sorry!! Cancers like that have no symptoms at all until you notice that your dog gets out of breath easier than they used to, by then it’s already too late. I’m glad all of you found out in time to be able to spend some special time with her, but I’m so sorry this is happening at all. Please take care of yourself and make sure your husband is taking care of himself for the next few weeks, I know how hard it is to go through. I wish I could hug you both.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Don’t know why, just seemed right to let you know that our Sunset (in Korea with my husband) was diagnosed a week ago with thoracic carcinoma that has rapidly metastasized into her lungs. How do we not know this is happening until it’s too late? She has tumors on her neck that are constricting her airway. My husband will be letting her go on Friday afternoon, about 11 pm tonight our time. He took her to a ski resort to play in the snow one last time. She loved it even though it took a toll on her breathing. I puppy-sat over FaceTime last night while my husband went into his office for a couple hours. She still responds to me, even over the Internet. She would have been 11 on March 16th. We’re devastated.

  • Pattyvaughn

    With blood, it always looks worse than it is A little goes a very, very long ways. So Mystery can was as thorough as a cat too, good to know if you are contemplating raw.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The carrying a mouthful all over the house was actually when I only fed kibble, but since I would randomly find kibble pieces, who knows how old, in the corner of a chair, under couch cushions, etc, it was still gross.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Betsy, when I said I was grossed out it was in response to Patty’s note about her dogs carrying raw food around the house (I wasn’t entirely serious). Mystery’s blood all over the place, well, that didn’t bother me so much. Strange, huh?

  • Betsy Greer

    Oh no! I’m sorry! I clearly misunderstood.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Mystery recently lost a nail along with a guesstimated pint of blood. Nothing was spared – his crate, the wood floor, vinyl scrap in front of his crate, the vet’s waiting area, the exam room, walls, our clothing, pretty much everything. Despite all the blood loss, he was Mr. Happy to see everyone, tail wagging, rolling on the floor. By the time we got home from the vet, he was covered in it. He was pretty drugged up so we carefully helped him potty and then put him in his crate for the night. I don’t know what happened while we were sleeping but by morning the blood on his face, legs, body – all gone. A real mystery!

  • Pattyvaughn

    LMAO!! I’ve only had the dogs get bloody legs once. I gave them marrow bones with quite a bit on meat still on them and they chewed on that for a while before even trying for the marrow, which had started melting, and was a bloody mess. Fortunately, Border Collies wash themselves like cats.

  • Betsy Greer

    Girl! What did you feed him? He didn’t lick up every last drop? LOL!

    I love to feed Darwin’s for this reason – it’s neat and clean, but I do like to feed RMB s outdoors (weather permitting).

  • Sharon Buchanan

    OK. I’m officially grossed out. I’m grateful that the short side of Mystery’s 42″ crate tray fits into the kitchen sink for an easy washing. Think I’ll start with a meaty bone to see how much of a mess he’s going to make, especially to his creme colored coat.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’ve had too many dogs that would carry a mouthful all over the house for me to leave crate doors open with food inside. That would be really gross with raw!!

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Thanks, Patty. Since he’s still a pup, I feed Mystery in his cage, kinda-sorta. The food is in the crate but I leave the door open. When I make the switch to raw I think I’ll start closing it, to keep the cats out as well as the food contained.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I have 3 dogs and to avoid even the possibility of a fight, I have always fed in their crates, but raw presents it’s own challenges. Now, if it fits in their bowls and they can just eat it, I put it in their crates. If it takes a lot of gnawing, like a big turkey neck, I give it out in the backyard, one dog at a time.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Thanks, Patty. I get most of my supplements from Swanson and have even purchased one for Mystery. I understand soil-based organisms are very good so I’ll look for those with my next order. One lingering question… where do you feed your dog? I have visions of a bloody mess all over the dog and my keeping room floor. Maybe inside his crate?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I feed kefir, found in the yogurt aisle, it has 10 different strains where yogurt typically has 3. I rotate probiotics from a few different places, too. Swanson’s has some that are very inexpensive and I really like their Soil Based Organisms and Dr Stephen Langer’s. I also use Mercola’s and a couple different ones from the local health food stores. I use both human and pet probiotics. And I feed tripe once a week.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    I’ve been doing a lot of homework on raw feeding now that Mystery is almost a year old. Dogs Naturally has some of the best articles I’ve read on how to balance nutrition when feeding raw (though ca/ph ratio still perplexes me). Some breeders have suggested feeding yoghurt in order to add probiotics to a dog’s raw diet, but Dogs Naturally recommends adding probiotics to the diet as a supplement since most yoghurt is pasteurized, killing beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Are you adding probiotics to your dog’s food and if so, what brand have you found effective?

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Thanks, Sandy. We’ve had anywhere from three to six furry members in our clan over the past 28 years. Two of those were cats that moved from the states to Korea, back to the states, to the Netherlands, Germany and back to the states again in the 18 years they lived. We’ve been pouring kibble into sealed containers the entire time and have never had any food related issues with either the crappy food we fed before we knew better and the better food we feed now that we know – only two exceptions: the Blue dog food recall and an issue with a single bag of cat food that all five current cats vomited after their first feeding out of a brand new bag before it was poured into a container. If you’ve been keeping up with this thread, you know I’m obsessive when it comes to cleaning the containers between bags, but I also don’t add more than one 15 lb bag of cat food or one 30 lb bag of dog food to a container at a time. Each lasts a little less than a month. Still, I appreciate the link as there seems to be no limit to just how obsessive I can get. :-)

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy
  • Pattyvaughn

    Thanks Aimee!

  • aimee

    Here is a link to results of probiotics in food to compared to what was listed.


  • Pattyvaughn

    I used to always dump the bag in my container and throw the bag away when I had multiple large dogs and went through a bag in about 3-4 days, but I’ve been caught by too many recalls. I save all bags now.

  • Pattyvaughn

    They say(I don’t know who “they” are) that most probiotics added to kibbled food are already no good before you even get the bag because of improper storage in warehouses.
    Since you have large dogs, I imagine you go through a bag much faster than you would need to worry about. And since you wash the container between bags, you don’t even have to worry about the oils that stay behind. I just added the extra info for anyone who might read this thread and need to know.

  • InkedMarie

    I do this, leave it in the bag, clipped shut, in a dog food container. I used to dump the food in until I knew better and I need to have the UPC’s/ingredient list, just in case.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Good idea. I’ll have my husband send me the list of brands but I think they’re even more limited than the dry. I’ll have him try boiling a chicken thigh in a veggie broth (no onions), to see if she might find that agreeable. My 9 month old Mystery finds it a very motivating training reward.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    I’ve have friends who use containers to hold the opened bag – never made any sense till now. I’ll have to add ingredient degradation time to my list of things to research.

  • losul

    Yeah i guess being in Korea would be very limiting. Maybe some canned food sometimes?

    I was just looking at some of the regular canidae formulas. They have both sage extract and rosemary extract listed right in the middle. Not a good idea for seizure dogs.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Thanks for the reminder about sage but as with Rosemary, I don’t know if it is the process of extraction or the means by which it is extracted but it is only the extract that is a concern for humans with seizures. When it is listed, we move on.

    We tried feeding Sunset a home cooked and raw diet while living in Prague several years ago. She wasn’t biting, not even boiled chicken. After the Blue Buffalo fiasco we decided to try a commercially prepared raw diet but she wouldn’t have any of that either (nice to know it wasn’t my cooking).

    After spending three years in Afghanistan without her, my husband now has Sunset in Korea with him – his brand choices are limited. For now, it all boils down to what will do the least amount of harm.

  • losul

    If you’re girl is seizure prone, you will probably want to avoid foods with sage extracts also. It’s related to rosemary, and contains thujone. There’s only a few dog foods I’ve seen with sage extract, off hand some of the canidae formulas have it, but not the pure formulas. You can google sage extract, thujone, and seizures.

    It’s going to be very hard to avoid some rosemary in naturally preserved dog foods, it’s not listed as in ingredient, when it’s in meat meals. When a manufacturer adds it, it has to be listed. In that case I would look for it only as the very last ingredient.

    Or better yet, feed fresh!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Pouring the food out of the bag exposes all of the kibble to air which starts to degrade the fat, probiotics, and whatever else is sensitive to air, humidity, and light. The best way to store dog food is to leave it in the original bag, roll down the top and squeeze all the excess air out, clip the top closed, and if need be, seal in a container, store in a dry, cool, dark place. I use a metal trash can with a tight fitting lid. It will easily hold multiple whole bags. My dogs, cats, etc. can’t be trusted either. I haven’t seen the Buddeez, I’m going to look it up.
    You are very welcome about the forum, but HDM is the one who deserves the thanks there.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    I can’t imagine leaving food in a bag after opening, even if the bag has a built-in ziplock. Aside from attracting bugs, my cats have really sharp teeth, especially Falkon, my 5 month old poly Coon. We’ve used different containers over the years, the Buddeez is by far the best with an included measuring cup and dedicated slot for the cup in the lid. Someone had their thinking cap on when they designed it. BTW, thanks for pointing me to the forums. Good to see I’m not the only one paying attention to LB calcium studies. Wish more food companies were.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If you aren’t going to leave the food in the bag, then you have the best solution I can think of. And in some cases OCD is a good thing.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    Beginning in 2012, I started taking photographs of the lot number and expiration date of every bag of cat and dog food I open. It leaves no room for doubt if I’ve already fed a recalled product to my furry ones or when all five cats vomit after eating from a newly opened bag (which the company replaced even though they’d not heard from anyone else about problems). Food goes into Buddeez food containers which get washed between bags. You could say I’m a bit OCD when it comes to my babies (my children and grandchildren would tell you I’m a bit OCD about everything).

  • Pattyvaughn

    Very good!! I’ve been caught flat footed before and I don’t like knowing I’ve been feeding recalled food weeks past when the recall went out. I personally think these companies should have to pay for prime time public service anouncements to inform us about the recalls since the news organizations can’t be counted on to understand how important these stories are to many of their viewers.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    I’m currently receiving recall alerts (as well as a plethora of food related information), from Susan Thixton’s Truth About Pet Food newsletter.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Hi Sharon
    Have you signed up for email alerts for recalls. It’s one of the options in the left margin above.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Over on the forum side there is an excellent thread on the issues feeding large and giant breed puppies. It’s under the Diet and Health Issues heading. Hound Dog Mom, who has Bloodhounds, did the research on all the 4 and 5 star foods to put together a list of foods with the proper calcium levels. Here is her latest update of the list.


  • Sharon Buchanan

    We have a Golden that has been having seizures since she was two. Unfortunately, years of feeding Blue Buffalo only contributed to the number of incidences, including during the recall that we never heard about – our vet never asked us what we were feeding her during the recall period when she also had diarrhea and severe vomiting.

    Anyway, I don’t know what the “twitching” is, but I’ve come to find out that rosemary extract can exacerbate seizures in humans. The Blue Buffalo recipe we were feeding our girl has rosemary extract in it. Hmmm…. We’re no longer feeding Blue.

    As for what to feed, start by weeding out the junk ingredients like unnamed meat and fish meals, look for foods that contain no synthetics or preservatives and don’t buy anything that is farmed, processed, or manufactured at any stage in China. Be wary of vets pushing vet diets from companies like Purina since they get “incentives” to sell that food.

    I hope your girl gets better. We still have to give our Golden Phenobarbital, but now in smaller dosages.

  • Sharon Buchanan

    And remember that exceeding the requirements may mean actually lowering the minimum of an ingredient – as should be the case with calcium/phosphorus in large breed puppy food. And yet, the AAFCO and 99.9% of manufacturers think it would be okay for my English Creme Golden to eat more than twice the amount of calcium per cup he should have in order to help prevent bone disease. Calculate how much calcium that is when he needs 3-5 cups a day.

    I found only two companies that properly exceed the minimum – the first participated in the study and now has the lowest calcium content of any brand but all other ingredients are junk, synthetics, questionable, etc. The other is Innova which had recall problems this year. While I know there are better foods on the market than Innova, I won’t be switching until my large breed puppy’s body is able to properly absorb the amount of calcium in those foods. And by then I may have him on a home cooked/raw diet.

    Breeders of large dogs and owners should start by reading this concise report:http://www.bestfriendsvet.com/pdffiles/bonedevarticlewa.pdf followed by more detailed research.

  • Betsy Greer

    I second Patty’s recommendation for Brothers Complete. It’s part of my rotation as well.

    I’d also recommend Canine Caviar. Personally, I have had amazing success with it and the kibble size is very tiny.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I really like Brother’s Complete. It has really small kibble too.

  • Betsy Greer

    I’m partial to Nature’s Logic. It contains millet though, which is a gluten free pseudo grain. It’s a great product with no synthetic vitamins or minerals added and it uses only whole foods and sources no ingredients from China. The kibble size is tiny… perfect for your little dogs.

  • Tanisha Breton

    I need some help I am looking for a QUALITY all life stages kibble for really small dogs (yorkies) grain free. With a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus and also omega 3 & 6. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Elsie


  • Cindy J

    You can find the AAFCO nutritional statement on the Earthborn website at the bottom of the ingredient list of each formula.

  • Jaki

    I need food suggestions for my Puggle who is always hungry by nature. Anyone has a Puggle that can offer input? He’s 1 1/2 yrs old. I was thinking of trying Blue kibbles and Top with sardines?

  • Pattyvaughn

    AAFCO doesn’t rate dog food, but calling the company and asking questions is a great way to find out more about a dog food and its ingredients.

  • Charlie’s Mom

    I just wanted to understand your comment about Blue Buffalo. Are you saying that it is a bad food because it has onion powder in it? No where on the list of ingredients on the package is onion powder listed? According to AFFCO it is rated a 5, I believe? I will be phoning BLUE for confirmation. Thanks for the info. but I need clarification as I am sure you understand?

  • Judy Turner Miller

    I think she meant Blue Buffalo, Or Diamond hee hee. At any rate Sheryl gave excellent advice. Check out the dog food ratings also they help after all the other stuff is done.

  • Judy Turner Miller

    Thank you. I was trying to figure out the words to tell people out there that the standards are very low and it takes very little of anything to make the scales meet the standards and people just don’t realize it. Your post really does get down to the nitty gritty and lay it out for people. Amen to that. Please people look at the food ratings. You will be very surprised! and yes some foods have had problems that they needed to fix. But you can start with the ratings first. It sure does make me cringe when I see people buying kibbles and bits or Ole Roy etc. Look at their ratings.

  • Judy Turner Miller

    Nutro is only rated a 3 and you can get a better dog food than that. Earthborne is a very good dog food and I highly recommend it. Look up the dog food ratings and you will be very surprised.

  • Brooke Mcalinden

    my veterinarian told me its normal for a dog to have allergies to chicken and beef. It’s not that uncommon as you think. New veterinarians and new studies suggest other wise. Limited ingredients are always the best and yes “grain-free” is a marketing tool just like Blue

  • Brooke Mcalinden

    I found out from a veterinarian that it’s a bad dog food brand. They have onion powder in it that is toxic to dogs. They are just really great at marketing. quit using it! try earthborn :)

  • Vinny

    Hills is more than happy to show results of studies they have done to demonstrate the success of the c/d diet. Here is a brief summary of some of their clinical trial results: http://www.hillsvet.com/pdf/en-us/FINAL_-_Clinical_Studies_(layout)_4-24-08.pdf

  • Vinny

    http://www.iams.com/pet-health/dog-article/aafco-statements-explained ; AAFCO does release publications every year, and sets standards and nutrient profiles that are updated routinely based on National Research Council publications. Their standard regarding feeding trials for companies to follow has regulations to monitor an animal for a set amount of time (the longer the company performs the trial, the better, as you can see the prolonged effect of feeding that specific diet) “The AAFCO Protocols mandate factors such as the length of the trial, the number of animals, the feeding procedures and the diagnostic tests which determine if the feeding trial was successful”. There is also a label for those that meet the minimum values needed, but this is different from those that perform clinical trials, confirming that a diet is “complete and balanced”. Please remember that animals require specific nutrients, which these diets are providing. Unlike us, who feed based on ingredients :). I hope this helps people more on understanding AAFCO’s purpose! Here is a good journal article as well about proper nutritional assessment: https://www.aahanet.org/Library/NutritionalAsmt.aspx

    Happy feeding!

  • hayley

    look on dog analysis (website) that lists both dry and wet dog food rated 5 and below (5 being the best). Do not buy any dog food sold in supermarkets, including wal-mart. Go to Petco, Petsmart or Pet Supplies Plus for best deals or go online. Natural Balance (DVP), Merrick, Nutro (with no grains is better if possible). These or the ones rates 4 and 5 are the most healthy. IAMS is owned by Proctor and Gamble, so there formula has changed drastically and rated low. Hope this helps

  • InkedMarie

    Are you in Maine? Where a bouts? I’m in central NH and I have a sheltie too!

  • Pattyvaughn

    The only Blue Diamond we have been able to find is the nut company.

  • Seadogs

    Buff blue is a pretty reputable company & gets 4-4.5 stars on their dry food. I have 4 SHELTIES ages 10 to 3 yrs old, who are on longevity & they get merrick canned (5 star) to add to dry food. They’re weight is healthy & they don’t have allergies or hot spots.

    Blue diamond dog food use to be sold in the Maine area, I don’t know if they’re still in existence.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I think the majority of dog food companies don’t do feeding trials. Ones that do have a statement like this on the bag: “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition”

  • Bette

    Go to beagle freedom rescue.. They rescue dogs and sometimes other animals from labs after they are “done” with them. Otherwise they are killed. I am trying to find a dog food made by a humane company that doesn’t keep dogs penned up their whole lives!

  • Linda L MacRae

    My little Pom/Chi mix has been on Blue Buffalo for small breed for 3 1/2 yrs. with no problem. He was a rescue and was on IAMS when I first got him. Didn’t like it very much so I switched to Blue. He loves it but I give him Blue chicken/rice canned as well. I mix a spoonful with his dry at night and just the dry in the morning. He is thriving. What does your vet say the problem is?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Maybe I’m not understanding you, because the law doesn’t care what size the kibble is and AAFCO doesn’t either. If they are putting the wrong kibble in the bag, and don’t care that that is a problem, I’d stop buying their food.

  • Linda Hallinan

    I have been buying the Large breed of Natures recipe for over 3 years. In the past year ever since they stopped making the 35 pound bags an only doing the 30 pound bags I have seen that the small breed bites are being sold with in the large breed of Natures recipe. I have called the company an there doing nothing to fix this matter. So when you buy your dog food with in the is brand you need to look at your bite sizes for the Large Adult bites sizes are really the small bites sizes an you as a customer are not getting what you pay for. this company should not be aloud to be selling a product that states LARGE breed an you get small breed bites. Petsmart company’s are not aware that this is going on with this type of doge food. They state it has to be AAFCO approved so who is inspecting the bite sizes with in the large breed of dog food of Natures Recipes bags. It seems there only adding more of the small bites to the adult large breed bags to make up the legal weight different.

    It is illegal to sell small bite sizes dog food with in a adult large breed bag.
    Thank you legal matter

  • Lilliana212

    Totally agree, that’s why I’m supplementing with fresh foods..
    Any idea when will they update?? If current practice still adheres to the 1985 version, that’s a little TOO outdated, isn’t it?? It should be reflected ASAP for all the kibble eaters out there!!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Not yet, but please remember too, that AAFCO is minimums to keep your dog alive, not optimums so that your dog can thrive.

  • Lilliana212

    Thank you, very useful.
    I have a question: you said commercial manufacturers adhere to AAFCO standards. I dug a bit and realized that AAFCO standards are based from 1985 NRC publication, is this true? Also, NRC released an updated recommendation in 2006, with big differences in protein requirements (only 5.5% fat and 10% protein vs. 1985 version of 5% fat 18% protein). Did AAFCO update their requirements based on this new update?

    Thanks so much for your help!

  • ngrrsn

    We switched to Taste of the Wild salmon with the lab we rescued who was having skin issues. Made a huge difference! We got two more dogs, one of which had diarrhea the whole time he was on ToW. Switched to another (and less) protein source and he is doing great. One dogs treat is another dogs poison!

  • Jennika Ella Wasilewsky

    I was getting that impression too. The vet wants my dog to go on C/D saying it will help control the PH, I looked at the ingredients, I don’t see anything special that would do that. Any other resources you can think of to check. It’s not that I object to buying the food, I’m just not convinced it’s necessary. Any one else with Bladder Stone issues/experiences?

  • Cyndi

    I totally agree!! but let’s be nice about it, lol!

    Oh & Hare-today.com :-)

  • Raw meat and bones

    mypetcarnivore.com, a book, a scale, a knife, some gloves, and a freezer you idiots!

  • Love my dogs!

    Try Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Brown Rice dry dog food. All three of my dogs are females as well. Read my entry posted after yours.

  • Love my dogs!

    My rat terrier was tested and it was confirmed that she has numerous allergies to everything including foods. Her allergies are under control largely through her diet. We have two other dogs and all three of them tolerate Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Brown Rice dog food very well. We buy the small bites even though we have one medium sized dog. All three of them seem to prefer the small bites more so than the other bite size. We have had very good luck with this dogfood and have used it for five years. I hope this helps.

  • John Leone

    I just switched to taste the wild wetland formula. my dog was having some digestion problems and he is doing great now

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yes, your vet is wrong. It sounds like your dog has an intolerance or allergy to one or more of the ingredients in the foods you have tried. Sandy gave you great advice. Keep track of the ingredient lists for the foods you have tried that don’t work. You should be able to compare them and figure out what ingredients to avoid in the future.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Your vet didn’t find any kind of skin infection? Did he do a skin scrape? Blue Buffalo works for some dogs and not for others. Your dog might have an intolerance to a particular ingredient like chicken or grain or other. Try something with fewer ingredients like Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diets, Zignature, PureVita and other limited ingredient diet for a while.

  • Hope

    Can anyone tell me a good dog food for Chihuahua s? I used to buy Iams but my smallest chi began twitch so bad she created sores all over neck. I then switched to Blue Buffalo and the same thing and the I switched to Blue Buffalo Basic and… you can guess… my little girl has sores all over. My vet said Blue Bufflo should be fine but could he be wrong?

  • Dana

    Avoid these 6 poison s in dog foods ,,, Artifical Preservatives found in dog food that causes cancers and death . They are ,,, Propylene glycol , Ethoxyquin , BHA , BHT , TBHQ and Propyl gallate .

  • Dana

    Not Sure ,,, But I have had BullDogs before and they do eat alot . Ask Your Vet .

  • Dana

    There are 6 poison s in some dog foods here is the list of artifical preservatives that causes dogs to have cancer and die of earily age ,,, Propylene glycol , Ethoxyquin , BHA , BHT , TBHQ , and Propyl gallate . Avoid these as much as possible !

  • InkedMarie

    You’re probably pretty correct there, for lots of dogs but I do know for a fact that I have a dog who gets ear infections with certain ingredients and now, humidity. This is not emotional on my part but fact.

    This part here is JMO but I think most dogs who are itchy & paw lick are not allergic to food but an environmental issue or habit. Now, the same dog I posted about in the first paragraph here does get itchy and paw lick but since he does no damage, I ignore it. If he didn’t have ear infection issues, I’d be alot more lenient in his diet. Ear infections, if they continued, can cause other serious issues so to me, it’s important to keep them at bay. Him itching and paw licking? It’s not serious, for him, so I almost don’t care.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Of course the owners use them interchangably, their vets do too. No, actually, they don’t use them interchangably, because they don’t use intolerance at all. Every dog that ever came into all six clinics and hospitals that I worked at that had an intolerance was told it was an allergy. I knew there was a difference, but never heard until coming here what the difference was all about. Dog’s just had allergies or severe allergies or life threatening allergies

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I think GMOs are playing a HUGE role in the increased frequency of allergies. You may have already seen this but for anyone else that hasn’t, here’s a link to Genetic Roulette – a documentary on GMOs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBlp_thTq0Y

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Just found this:

    “According to Richard Markham, DVM, PhD, of Hill’s, A food composed of shoe leather, motor oil, vitamins, and minerals will analyze (in a lab) to meet AAFCO nutrient recommendations for dogs or cats, but obviously would not be a good diet for dogs or cats. Thus, the claim ‘balanced’, ‘complete’, ‘adequate’, or ‘guaranteed to meet or exceed all AAFCO nutrient recommendations’ has little meaning.” [http://kcregap.org/health/nutrition.php]

    I agree it would be interesting to know the exact percentages of dog that have actual allergies to specific ingredients – I think food intolerance are far more prevalent and many owners mistakenly use the terms interchangeably.

  • ngrrsn

    True. I concur with you. Sticking a bunch of vitamins in a candy bar is not healthy, and I may be wrong but I would be shocked to hear AAFCO would find it acceptable. :) I wish the books would report the actual percentages of allergies. If, for example, 1 out of 10,000 dogs is allergic to chicken, then the % of cases is only about .00001 or .01% of dogs have an allergy to it. People would not be so terrified or worried about their pets diets and would focus on the quality of the company or perhaps pay more attention to exercise, grooming, play, and regular check-ups. I just want people to relax a little about all the food “issues” with pets and focus on the pet instead.

  • Pattyvaughn

    When you look at allergies and intolerances as a percentage of the whole population, they are rare. I’ve owned about 30 dogs in the last 48 years and had probably 50 or 60 more in for training and only 3 have had intolerances of any kind. None have had true food allergies. I just happen to have 2 of them right now. Yes, most dogs do not have to have grain free, but if you look at some of the concerns with feeding high GMO grain inclusive foods, I think having alternatives is good. And for my 2, it is vital. There were 2 different people just today with posts that sound like their dog is either chicken or grain intolerant. Changing foods for these dogs is a whole lot better than a life of steroid use. I do wonder if intolerances are becoming more common, maybe due to environmental pollutants challenging the immune system, IDK.

  • ngrrsn

    Try Fromm Four-Star Gourmet. Excellent company. They have 4 different grain free foods you can serve your dog until you find one that pleases her.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I agree with you that grain-free kibble is based a lot on marketing and that a grain-free food isn’t necessarily superior, however I don’t agree that I food is “fine” as long as it meets AAFCO standards. If a candy bar had the appropriate amounts of synthetic vitamins, minerals and amino acids added so that it met a person’s nutritional requirements do you feel that this would be “fine” to feed your child in place of real food? I certainly hope not. Nutrition is the foundation of health and a healthy diet is based upon whole, minimally processed foods appropriate for the species. Additionally, pertaining to allergies, while true food allergies are rare – of the dogs with food allergies, chicken allergies are one of the most common. Per the Merck Veterinary Manuel the most common allergens for dogs are chicken, beef, eggs, dairy, corn, wheat and soy.

  • ngrrsn

    I know this may rile up sensitive readers who know more that most because of Google postings, but my vet said the whole “grain free” thing was a human emotion based marketing tool and that grain allergies are very rare, and intolerances are rare. I checked with another vet who said the same thing. Dog food is being marketed to cater to human emotions and diet perceptions, not dogs’. The both said chicken allergies were also rare, and fish even rarer. Our labs used to get kibbles as treats; the rest of the time they got leftovers, scraps, and whatever they could catch on the farm. They lived to healthy old ages. I think a lot of dog food advising is based on marketing, not fact. As long as the food meets AAFCO standards, grain or not, it should be fine.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I just looked up Activa, I had never heard of it. While I would avoid the “Meat Base” formula, the others don’t look horrible. They’d probably all rate between 3 and 4 stars. The grain-free formulas are pretty potato heavy, unfortunately. I’ve never heard of Blue Diamond dog food either – I’ve heard of Blue Buffalo dog food and Blue Seal dog food and I’ve heard of Diamond dog food and and I’ve heard of Blue Diamond almonds, but never Blue Diamond dog food lol. Everyone will have a different answer for what they look for when picking a dry dog food for me it’s not really one thing, it’s a combination of things. I first look at the general analysis – if the food has under 30% protein it’s a no go. I then look at the ingredient list – if the food contains any colorings, synthetic preservatives, unnamed by-products/meat meals/fats, wheat, corn, soy or significant amounts of plant protein boosters it’s a no-go (I might have left out some other ingredients I don’t like, but these are what came to mind at the moment). I then look into the company – where the food is manufactured, customer service, recall history, etc.

  • Jorge Herrera

    Sending a message to see if someone can help me or give advice for a grain free dog food for my 2 1/2 pomeranian, I just adopted her about 1 month ago. She was being fed Iams mini bites at the shelter but I notice her skin was getting dry and she was itching alot. So I discontinue the food, figured it was an allergic reaction. Already tried Natural Choice and Natural Balance, she doesn’t like it. Any advice anyone?

  • InkedMarie

    I cant find a food called Activa. I can’t find a Blue Diamond food either

  • Sheryl

    I went to buy my dog Blue Diamond and when I picked it up the store clerk said “try this it’s as good as Blue Diamond but made here in TEXAS” I don’t see it on the list. What’s the #1 thing to watch out for when choosing a dry dog food? By the way the name of the food is ACTIVA.

  • Storm’s Mom

    If you’ve got a store that sells NutriSource Grain Free, I’d recommend starting with NutriSource Grain Free Lamb Meal. It’s a great value, and a great food at that! It’s also one that a lot of dogs transitioning from grain-inclusive or generally lower quality foods seem to handle really well, and since your dog is already eating lamb, that should help as well. If lamb is an issue as well as wheat, though (possible, but I doubt it), this will be a good one to find out from for sure! :-) From there, you can transition to other NutriSource Grain Free ones, or another food entirely. I’d recommend staying away from foods with potato as well, though.

  • AllisonBarry

    Jack is my oldest baby! He has been here for me through both my pregnancies, when my husband was working, so when it comes to feeding him I want him to be healthy and happy! Money for feeding him isn’t a huge concern I just need him to be well again! I live In Rhode Island,USA . There are pet stores and wal-mart’s very close to me! If there are any suggestions on foods that would be wonderful! Thank you for the information on the pumpkin. I will do pretty much anything for my Cracker Jack!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Canine Caviar and Nutrisource claim to be non-GMO.

  • Betsy Greer

    Like Storm’s Mom said, I’d definitely add probiotics and digestive enzymes starting right away. His gut flora is severely lacking after eating the same good for so long ~ which is probably why he’s developed allergy / intolerance issues. If he’s having some trouble with the transition to a new food, the addition of a spoonful of plain, canned pumpkin to his food will help a lot with loose stool.

    Your long term goal should be to try to pick several different foods that your dog does well on and you can rotate through them with each new bag. This will avoid prolonged exposure to a specific protein and undesirable ingredients that could result in the development of allergy / intolerance issues.

    Short term however, I’d make a baby step up to a slightly better quality food and once he’s transitioned to that give him some time on it (along with the probiotics and digestive enzymes) and then look to upgrade to an even better food. I choose to buy the best food within my means.

    If you’re on a budget, and have access to Wal-Mart, I might suggest Ol’ Roy’s newer product, Pure Balance as a mid-grade, 3.5 star, budget friendly food. It would be a step up from the Iams. You might also take a look at Pure Balance’s canned foods, in particular their 95% varieties ~ which are very good quality, a little chicken heavy, but still make a nice kibble topper or a complete balanced meal on their own. Another food I love that’s very well tolerated in NutriSource Adult Chicken & Rice. It’s a grain inclusive four star food, but it’s very well tolerated by most dogs, even those with sensitive stomachs.

    Do you have a budget, shopping requirements (what store versus shopping online) or any other nutritional needs?

  • Storm’s Mom

    Pick something from the link below that’s easily available to do (remember you can order online with free shipping at wag.com and others if you live in the US!), and within your budget:


    ..you might want to stay away with ones with potato, too, if possible…

    ..and then get some canned pure pumpkin, a probiotic and digestive enzymes, as this will all help immensely to strengthen his gut, which is important to do because he’s been on the same food for so long that his system is likely out of whack.

    Once you determine the new food you’re going to switch to, slowly transition adding 1/4 new food to 3/4 old food until his poop is firm (a few days to a week, normally), and then add a bit more new food (say 1/2 and 1/2) keep feeding that until his poop is firm, go to 3/4 new food and 1/4 old food, and then finally all new food.

    Hope this helps!! Keep us posted on what you choose to go with as the new food and how it goes! ..and if you have any questions, let us know! Good luck!!

  • AllisonBarry

    We have an 8yr old Chocolate Lab. He has been eating Iams lamb and rice forever! All of the sudden he has developed an allergy to wheat. His ears get infected and he gnaws at his paws! I was told to use veggie oil in his food and I did. It helped for a little while, but now we are right back to where we started. Can someone please recommend a food to help him and how to transition him because he has a sensitive tummy also! Thank You!

  • LabsRawesome

    No Rachael Ray dog food has not been recalled. If you want, you can sign up for recall alerts by email here. http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recall-alerts/

  • Kath

    I have been hearing that Rachael Rays dog food has been recalled?? I just bought it yesterday as my dog is either having problems with his diet or possible Cushings, I’m praying its his old food..I’m trying to find a dog food with out corn/gmo products…I see all these rr recalls, but when I go to the sites Nothing?? Any advice would be great..Thanks KSP/E

  • Pattyvaughn

    They aren’t required to report that.

  • Laney

    This fascinating article gave me pause…http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/what-is-aafco/

    “An AAFCO feeding trial takes place in a testing facility/test kennel. Food consumption may be measured and recorded. Test subjects’ body weights, as well as hemoglobin, packed cell volume, serum alkaline phosphatase and serum albumin are measured. If these are all within normal ranges (although the dog may lose 15% of his body weight during the study), and six dogs have survived for six months on the food, the formulation will be determined as nutritionally complete.”

    How many dogs have NOT SURVIVED such trials as these?

  • Pattyvaughn

    What breed of dog? How much does he weigh now? How much do you expect him to weigh at maturity? How many calories are in the food, per cup or per kg? Cut down on the treats until you know how much food keeps him at a healthy weight, unless your treats make up less than 20% of what he is currently eating or you’re using a balanced dog food as treats. Without knowing more about your dog, it is impossible to answer your question. The calculator doesn’t take into account puppy growth patterns, so you need to use an adult weight in it. Even then it is only a guideline.

  • j

    ey got a 9 almost 10 week old pup the breeder has us using TLC whole life food. the calulator is wrong cause when emailing the company they say 1.5 times what it or the bag says. well the pup just wont eat more then a cup sometimes 3/4 or less. thinking he can not be getting enough for an whole life stage food from a breeding or multi dog home this makes sense. but hes our only dog. so how many calories does he need, e use lots of healthy treats and fortifies nylon bones for pups.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Try NutriSource. Dogs usually transition to it pretty easily. It’s made by a company that has so far proved themselves to be trustworthy. And it is a good quality food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

  • crashnaj

    Hi everyone

    I have two new family additions and I really could use some help finding better food sources for both I like the idea of an all life stages formula as an option because they are both so varied in age Max is my 6y in Jan English Springer Spaniel he has been on Purina Puppy/Dog Chow his whole life I am not a fan of this food for many reasons but I also belive Max may hve some allergy issues he gets hot spots on one front leg every year
    Panzer is my 2m Rottweiler and he’s was on Beneful at the breeders I transitioned him to Blue Buffalo puppy I can’t lie he did well on it but I don’t care for the shadiness I find with with the company I’ve also tried the Simply Nourish from PetSmart he’s not transition ed as well with that
    I’d really like to get something for both

  • Brinny

    Thanks for the input. We feed ours so much hay to make up for lack of grass right now. The pastures are just mucky from all the rain we’ve been getting.
    We also feed buy feed that is made locally and we buy in bulk so it does have to be stored in bins.

  • Jacquie Hails

    Thank you Storm’s mom :)

  • Pattyvaughn

    The best thing for horses is to wander around all day eating a bite here and there of grass, so I get as many different kinds if hay as are available around me and spread them out all over the place. I feed almost as much hay as they can eat in a day. For the ones who don’t keep on enough weight with just hay, I feed a low starch feed, as little as I can get away with and keep their weight up. I have one that actually needs some grain to maintain weight and I use a mix from our local feed mill. The mill is owned by an animal nutritionist, specializing in horse and cattle feeds. My mix is made custom for me and is primarily oats, but has some soybean, corn and other stuff enough to balance it, and a vitamin/mineral mix that is specific for primarily grass fed horses.

  • Storm’s Mom


    This is a list that Hound Dog Mom – the large breed expert around here, really – came up with, of foods that are appropriate to feed a large breed dog, from puppy to adulthood.

  • Brinny

    I have horses as well and I haven’t really thought about Purina’s ingredients in their horse feed being crappy. I am not familiar with horse feed nutrition, however.
    What do you prefer to feed your horses?
    We have a local feed store around here that makes their own horse feed.

  • Jacquie Hails

    Hello again, I was wondering if you were able to come up with a dry dog food that is lower in calcium that would be a “hands down” for puppies as well as dogs 60+ lbs. Also, at what point due you think puppies should switch over to adult dog food?

  • Jacquie Hails

    When you say lower calcium levels, such as what brands (in your opinion) would be “hands down” for puppies as well as dogs 60+ lbs

  • Jacquie Hails

    American and European boxers, 10 and 11 mod

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Jacquie –

    Merrick – hands down. Blue’s quality and integrity are questionable (imo). What kind of puppy do you have though? If you have a large breed puppy (expected to be 60+ lbs. at maturity) neither are appropriate, you’d have to find a food with lower calcium levels.

  • Jacquie Hails

    What are your thoughts about Wilderness vs Merrick for puppies?

  • Hound Dog Mom


  • Bully lover

    need to know how much bill jack should a 5 month old English bulldog eat

  • susanne

    yes I tried a very gradual switch with Acana and used honest kitchen perfect form but stopped as I thought it was just masking his diarrhea and as soon as I stopped he would go back to having it again. Shouldn’t a very gradual transition not require any digestive enzymes or pumpkin? I was feeding him 2 cups ideal balance and 1/4 cup acana and he had very loose stools. With the hills ideal balance he was fine on it right away. Is it possible that he just requires a food that has a higher percentage of grains? I am looking into simply nourish as it has good ratings on this website.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Did you do a gradual transition? Did you try supplementing with probiotics and digestive enzymes and adding a spoonful of plain canned pumpkin during the switch? Loose stools are to be expected when switching foods, especially with puppies, often a very gradual transition and the addition of the supplements I mentioned can help.

  • Susanne

    I chose the science diet because that is what the breeder had him on when I got him and he did fine on that so that is what I went back to but I tried Fromm Gold Holistic Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food, and Horizon Complete LB Puppy. I bought a sample bag of the Acana chicken and burbank potato but that gives him very loose stools like the others. I really want to have him on a good food but am not sure if trying so many new foods is better than just keeping him on the ideal balance. I saw that it gets 3.5 stars from dogfoodadvisor.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    You say that “the only food I could find that his stomach can handle is Science Diet Ideal Balance Puppy” – what other foods have you tried besides Orijen?

  • Susanne

    I originally had my lab puppy on orijen lb puppy but his stomach could not handle grain free. The only food I could find that his stomach can handle is science diet ideal balance puppy but I do not really want to keep him on this brand. I know acana has the chicken and potato formula that is labeled adult/all life stages. Should I try and switch my 6month old puppy to the acana or stick with ideal balance until he is older?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mrskappy Jane Kapitan


  • Pattyvaughn

    Not that I disagree with you, except that it isn’t two different recalls. It’s one recall that was expanded TWO more times. That is the way recalls work.

  • leo

    EVO is excellent. weight mgmt is 52 % protein .. unheard of. low carb. no grains etc. but just recalled for the 2nd time in one mo. bought out by proctor r and gamble…. problem? the hi prot keeps them feeling full longer..deciding if should switch due to recalls…???

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Meagan –

    A food that’s labeled as “All Life Stages” or “Growth and Maintenance” has met the AAFCO’s more stringent nutrient requirements for growth and is, therefore, acceptable to feed to any age of dog. Fromm Classics would be acceptable to feed to a puppy, however, it’s pretty low in protein (23%) – hardly over the minimum requirement for growth (22%). If you go with a food this low in protein I’d suggest adding a high quality canned food topper to boost the protein levels.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Yes. Growth covers the puppy stage but this food is also for adults and even when your puppy turns into a senior.

  • Meagan

    Mike would growth and maintenance be ok for a puppy? That is what Fromm Classics states.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I think they are slightly more reputable, but still cheap. Quality is not their biggest concern.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    Yeah, gotcha. I had this idea that somehow PMI was more reputable, but I still wasn’t totally confident. I appreciate your opinion.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yeah, my gut tells me don’t try it. These are people who believe ingredients don’t matter, only nutrient analysis, so I have to assume that they use the worst quality ingredient that they can get away with. Not to mention that it is against my morals to support a company like that.

  • Pattyvaughn


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    Hey Patty, Does your gut tell you the same thing about Purina Mills? I tried Infinia with good success and was thinking I might try some of the other Infinia varieties, but am just getting hung up on the Purina name being part of the equation.

  • Kate

    I did a search and the only thing that came up was Alpo prime cuts. Blah.

  • Pattyvaughn

    In general, when I hear the name Purina, my automatic answer is no. But I can hope that they come out with something good finally. Is it new? I’ve never heard of it. What are the ingredients?

  • jane

    Purina Prime (turkey Is it good quality

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    Hi Nina,

    There are lots of great foods that are inexpensive. You’re making a great decision moving away from the Purina products you’ve been using. I recently convinced a co-worker to switch from Purina to NutriSource. While the bag of NutriSource originally cost more, my friend quickly realized that the NutriSource was going to be less expensive for her to feed because she’s feeding less of it.

    NutriSource and Earthborn are two of my favorite budget friendly foods. Dr. Tim’s is a bit more than the other two, but still affordable. People are talking a lot about the new grain free 4Health food available at TSC. Start your search by taking a look at the four and five star food lists and compare prices at an online retailer ~ I frequently shop at wag.com and petflow.com.

    Ideally, you should fine two or three foods that your dogs do well on and rotate between them to avoid prolonged exposure to less desirable ingredients and to round out exposure to varying protein sources.

    Puppy food is a growth formula and is recommended to be used until your puppy has achieved at least 80% of their adult weight. However, “puppy” food really isn’t necessary ~ foods that are labeled all life stages and meet AAFCO guidelines to be labeled as such are appropriate for puppies as well as adult dogs.

  • Nina

    I”m trying to find a dog food for my two dogs. I have a year and a half lab/american bull dog mix who is an extremely difficult eater. She does not do well with chicken based foods. I also have a 19 week old husky. They were on Purina but I noticed that my older dog was having a hard time going to the bathroom where as the puppy had horrible gas and stool. I switched to the exclusive brand and they have been on it for a few weeks but it’s been giving them runny and soft stool. Are there any not so expensive brands that are good that I can try? And how long should my puppy be on puppy food?

  • losul

    It likely has a different mineral profile in it (mostly higher) and especially sodium and chloride.

  • Pattyvaughn

    No, puppy food is good for all life stages. Puppy food is usually made to higher standards than adult food.

  • blessedmae

    We have 4 toy poodles, 2- just about 3 yrs old, 2 4 mo. old. We feed them all puppy food – good stuff, Is this bad for the older
    ones ??? Please advise. Thank you

  • JellyCat

    It’s only rated one star because it is made of corn, corn by-products and soy. There is virtually no meat in this food and what there is slaughter house waste. In addition, this food contains 4 artificial food colors, and menadione sodium bisulfite complex, all of which are proven to potentially cause negative health effects.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Belinda –

    Dad’s hasn’t been recalled for anything to my knowledge.It’s rated 1 star because it’s an extremely low quality food with many questionable ingredients.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ibdogluvr091 Belinda Mosteller

    i buy my dogs dads bite size and was wondering why i havent seen any recalls or anything bad from this food has there been and why is it only rated one star?

  • aimee


    This is likely not the best definition but how I understand it. Systematics is the field of science which classifies, studies and defines relationships between species. Systemalists are those scientists in that field.

    Yes coyote are carnivores as they are in the Order Carnivora. However most members of Carnivora are omnivores. There is no taxonomic classification Omnivora : )

    As that classroom activity I linked to points out, coyotes are classified as omnivores. Their dentition, like that of the dog, is classified as non specialized. (Isn’t that your criteria of  what constitutes an omnivore?)  The pic I linked to awhile back elucidates this.

    Sigh.. yes corn starch is a fractionated component from the corn kernel and that required processing to separate it out. By raw I meant non cooked. She ate it straight from the ARGO box. And yes she did shuck and eat corn right off the cob too, when she stole it off the counter and that starch in whole corn was just as highly digestible. Coyotes also eat corn.

    Raw (uncooked) rice is highly digestible as well ( over 90%) NRC 2006.
    Again losul I’m not the one who is saying dogs are omnivores I’m only reporting what the experts have classified them as. Honestly, I don’t have anything else to say about the subject. 

  • losul

    respectfully Aimee

    I haven’t a clue of which “systemalists you speak of.

    “Considering my dog was raised on raw cornstarch I know things don’t have to be processed to be well used.”

    What is raw cornstarch????  Honestly Aimee, you must have the world’s smartest dog if it goes and picks his corn on the cob, shucks it, removes from the cob, and then does the following to it;

    The corn is steeped for 30 to 48 hours, which ferments it slightly. The germ is separated from the endosperm and those two components are ground separately (still soaked). Next the starch is removed from each by washing. The starch is separated from the corn steep liquor, the cereal germ, the fibers and the corn gluten mostly in hydrocyclones and centrifuges, and then dried. (The residue from every stage is used in animal feed and to make corn oil or other applications.) This process is called wet milling. Finally, the starch may be modified for specific purposes.[3]

  • aimee

     Ok then.. In the “losul system” of classification  dogs coyotes and jackals are all carnivores. It isn’t how systemalists currently classify animals but who knows maybe your system will catch on : )

    Yes they found 2-15 times as many copies but then they looked at gene expression and that is where I got the 28X’s from. It seems to be intrepreted as 28X more amylase in the pancreas ???

    “Specifically, dogs carry extra copies of the gene for amylase—an
    intestinal enzyme that cuts starch into maltose—and now produce 28 times
    more of the protein than their wolf counterparts.” The protein being amylase.


    Considering my dog was raised on raw cornstarch I know things don’t have to be processed to be well used. Similarly, fruit needn’t be rotted to be well utilized.

  • losul

    Aimee, not trying to confuse.

    I’m not calling a coyote an omnivore. I’m just saying that they can and do have a more omnivorous diet than wolves. I have no problem calling a coyote a facultative carnivore.

    But I do have a problem calling a wolf or even a dog a facultative carnivore. While wolves and dogs are able to process to limited extent some rotting fruits like apples and berries on their own, I think left to their own devices, they would have a great deal of difficulty processing things like raw potatoes, sweet or not, other tubers, carrots, corn, grains and alfalfa, brassica like broccoli and cabbage, leafy greens, shrubbery, lichens etc. In the absence of humans to grind and pulverize, cook, etc. IMO, dogs would be forced to revert back to more wolfish ways or perish. So I would have a real problem calling dogs facultative carnivores. Maybe in enough time, with humans by their sides preparing their plant material, and with natural selection doing it’s thing, dogs will more the way you wish.

    I brought the article up because it does strengthen your argument, but I didn’t read it exactly the way you did. I read it as of the dogs tested, they had between 2X and 14X the copies of a gene for pancreatic amylase production vs the wolves tested;

    “The change is at least partly the consequence of dogs having multiple copies of a gene for amylase, an enzyme made by the pancreas that is involved in the first step of starch digestion. Wolves have two copies; dogs have four to 30.””As it happens, amylase “gene duplication” is also a feature of human evolution. Humans carry more copies of the amylase gene than their primate ancestors. People also produce the enzyme in saliva, which allows the first steps of digestion to occur while food is still in the mouth. That, in turn, rewards chewing and increases the palatability of food.””In dogs, however, the increased amylase activity occurs only in the pancreas. The enzyme isn’t at work in their mouths, probably because the food doesn’t stay there long enough. Dogs may be able to eat human food, but they still wolf it down.”

  • aimee

     Nah…losul… The kids exercise wasn’t a jibe. Just what came up in google search. : )

     The changes in the perio skull are pretty darn impressive!

    I have to say I think you just like to confuse me! LOL
    To recap, you believe that omnivores don’t have any specializations. Yet you classify coyotes as omnivores, even though they have all the specializations that you listed which you say make a wolf a carnivore.

    I read the full text article in Nature. If I’m understanding it right dogs make 28 times more amylase as wolves???

     How about you call a dog a facultative carnivore which is essentially saying they are omnivores without using the “O” word ; )

  • losul

    Hello Aimee,

    I said previously that i would tend to agree with you more if we were talking foxes or coyotes. They do obviously have an omnivorous diet. Coyotes and foxes are adaptable survivors. They have been able to adapt and survive massive human hunting, urban spread, etc., against the odds. They still survive in great numbers throughout their original range. Wolves have not been so lucky. they have not been able to adapt near as well to a more agricultural surroundings, and life near humans. They have been wiped out through much of their original range.Was the kid’s exercise put out there as a jibe? hehe.Likewise, I have very much enjoyed our chatHere is the skull of a dog with periodontal disease just for the heck of it;http://www.skullsunlimited.com/record_variant.php?id=4774

  • aimee

     Hi losul,

    Yes Coyotes and Jackals, Maned wolves are all taxonomical classified as carnivores. All have specializations to capture and eat prey.

    By your criteria, they are all carnivores. Yet these species all eat a significant amount of plant material. “Jackals are *********. They eat 54% meat and 46% plants and have a very
    varied diet.”  http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/golden_jackal.htmYou would fill the blank with carnivore because they have specializations to capture prey. I would fill it in with omnivore which is the original text : ) So yes we will have to agree to disagree : )I’m only providing information, the experts whose job is to classify judge by different parameters, some of which I have previously posted. I’m not saying dogs are omnivores the experts are.

    Here is a link to a kids science exercise to tell the difference between herbivore, carnivore and omnivore based on skulls. http://www.desertmuseum.org/center/edu/docs/3-4_Hunters_skulls.pdf   I’ve very much enjoyed chatting with you.

  • losul


    these are what i would call carnivore specializations n wolves

    1) Obtaining the food-Cardiovascular system designed for endurance. Jaw structure designed for biting, gripping. Specialized vision system to aid proficient hunting by detecting motion. Heightened smelling and hearing for tracking prey. Social pack animals for the purpose of cooperative hunting.

    2) Eating the food-jaws hinged to move in vertical plane only. dentition designed for tearing, ripping, shredding.

    3) Digesting the food-Very large elastic stomach (about 60% of the total digestive system) to enable engorgement of a kill. Strong stomach acids and enzymes for digesting meat-carbs/starches do not even really begin to be digested until reaching the small intestine.

    As I feel that dogs are not so far removed from wolves in adaptations, I maintain that dogs are still mostly carnivorous by design, whereas they have become a bit more omniverous by intervention. That’s about as much as I can give up, sorry. I just can’t quite feel comfortable calling a dog an omnivore. Aimee, I think we’ll probably just have to agree to disagree!

  • aimee


    You didn’t answer the question ; ) What  “carnivore specialization” do wolves/dogs possess that cause you to classify them as carnivores vs omnivores as the coyotes and jackels are classified?

    I really think that emotionally people just have a hard time saying the dog is an omnivore because they think the classification will be used as “evidence” that dogs SHOULD be feed carbohydrates and that goes against their beliefs. JMO   

    Losul, It isn’t me that is saying the dog is an omnivore, it is the phylogeneticists,  molecular systematic ecologists, systematic ecologists, evolutionary biologists…Heck I don’t even really understand well what those fields are! But those are the people whose fields of study are to classify. I’m only reporting what I have read. I’m comfortable saying the dog is an omnivore.

    “Cats originate from a family comprised only of strict carnivores whereas dogs are omnivorous” NRC 2006

     I haven’t seen it reported that to be classified as an omnivore a species has to be able to ingest/digest all types of plant material. The Maned Wolf for example takes 50% of it’s diet from one type of fruit. Dogs can digest fruits without processing.  Will they get much out of grass?? No but then again either would I : ) 

    I don’t know in absolute numbers what percentage of species are carnivores, again I’m not the one classifying them, but among mammals, felids, mustalids, seals, and killer whales come to mind. 



  • losul

    Wow Aimee,

    I’m beginning to feel like a single dog separated from the pack and trying to take on a Polar Bear, hehe.

    I would think you would have to concede that dogs, without human intervention, have a great deal of trouble digesting most plant matter. By human intervention, I mean grinding, pulverizing, cooking, freezing, separating, treating, adding enzymes, etc.

    In your previous posts, you seem to believe that dogs ancestors were more omnivorous and time and environment has adapted then to become more carnivorous. I see it just EXACTLY the opposite.

    If we were to completely disregard all the herbivores, it seems to me that you would classify 99.9% of all the remaining species as omnivores. Which was a point I brought up earlier in the thread.

  • aimee

    Ok…I’m still getting stuck on your proposal that omnivores don’t have any specializations.  So I’ll ask what are the carnivorous specializations that the wolf/dog have which separate them from Coyote and Jackals which are omnivores?

    Then there is this: “Dogs also possess a posteriorly recurved coronoid margin to the
    ascending process of the lower jaw, which all wolves lack, except for
    the Chinese C. l. chanco known from Mongolia and China. This form of the coronoid is characteristic of omnivorous CARNIVORES (bears, raccoons, etc)”


    Yes Polar Bears eat a carnivorous diet but does that make them a carnivore or are they simply omnivores ( as are all the other bears) who don’t have access to vegetation by virtue of their environment.  I think they are the later. The Inuit eat very little plant matter, but they are still omnivores.

     Look at how this zoo feeds it’s Polar Bears. ”

    At the Zoo, just one of our polar bears can consume one to five pounds
    of mackerel and ground meat and four pounds of omnivore biscuit (a chow
    specially formulated for bears) a day.
    Forage foods are also provided and can include apples, raisins, peanut
    butter, honey and dehydrated fruit.”  

    Are wolves true carnivores or are they metabolic omnivores, as dogs are, who by virtue of their environment eat primarily meat? I have seen it written that wolves would likely eat a much more varied diet if they weren’t restricted to the areas that we have restricted them to.
    More food for thought?

  • losul

    hehe, and i am sorry I missed yours. ( well maybe not too sorry after reading Kateicy’s post today with this link, so I’ve softened my thinking somewhat). Very good article I think.


    No, i don’t believe real omnivores have any specializations one way or the other.

    I still don’t think that dogs are so far removed from their ancestors that they don’t retain much of the wolves carnivorous specializations. Dogs (feral) left to fend for themselves will still often form packs and hunt  prey (and scavenge as neccesary for survival). A dog can still quickly digest animal matter, whereas plant matter and carbohydrates, especially raw, can be a real challenge. No doubt they have adapted somewhat to living with humans. I’d have to think about more.

    Polar bears eat an almost absolute carnivorous diet, so I wouldn’t call them an omnivore. Perhaps brown and black bears have evolved more to a omnivorous diet.

    So I agree that dogs certainly have some flexiiblity in their requirements, but not very much without human intervention. To me, a dog is still basically a carnivore.

  • aimee

     Hi losul,

    Sorry I missed your reply.

     Interesting way of approaching it. Does an omnivore not have any specializations  for eating plants and animals or do they have specializations for consuming both plants and animals?

     What do you consider to be specialization?  Is the large canine tooth is a carnivore specialization?  Bears, a poster child omnivore, have large canines.

    So sure dogs have “specializations”  for  eating prey. But does this make them specialized? The dentition of the cat is considered specialized while the dentition of the dog is considered non specialized.

    The take home message is that dogs have flexibility in their requirements. They are generalists, whereas cats are not.

  • losul


    I had no idea you could do that, tried it and thanks, very helpful.

  • losul

    This would’ve been a great place to have this discussion;


  • losul

    Hello Aimee,

    As usual, you bring excellent and interesting points to the discussion.

    Nevertheless, I would tend to agree with you more if dogs were more closely related to coyotes or foxes rather than wolves.

    Regardless of any taxonomic classifications (dogs and wolves are classified as carnivores), I prefer to think in terms of these definitions;

    1) A Herbivore is an animal that has specializations/adaptations for eating plant matter.
    2) A Carnivore has specializations/adaptations for eating animal matter.
    3) An Omnivore has no specializations for eating either plant or animal.

    Which begs my next question;

    Do you believe that dogs (or wolves) have no carnivore specializations?

    P.S. I really wish there was a way to move the entire discussion to the proper place. I find the topic fascinating, especially when discussing with you.

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    All you have to do is look at the higher rated foods here. And you can find some of these foods fairly easily. Ordering online is easy and you can find free shipping, but if you must go to a store PetCo carries a few of ‘em.

  • Ibdogluvr091

    i have a question to ask being dads dog food is only rated one star is it good for dogs and why is it every dog food has corn and corn gluten in it which is bad for dogs so what kind of food is safe and doesnt have these things in it?

  • aimee

     Hi Pattyvaughn,

    I’m glad you found the post interesting. It is another way of looking at the issue.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I think that’s what I did.  It just took me all day long to think to try to find it that way:-}  One of these days I’ll learn…

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    you can also go to “comment history” and see more posts that way.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’ve been looking for this post all day because I couldn’t remember which thread we were on and it finally occured to me after 9:00PM that I could look at my posting history to find the thread.  I,ve been trying to remember that I wanted to come back here and reply to this post because I wanted to say that this argument for dogs being omnivores is the best one you have come up with yet and I enjoyed reading it very much.  Even when I don’t agree with you, I love to learn from you, and I respect you.  Who knows, with a little more time to ponder, I may come to agree with you, but I still know my dogs have done best eating like carnivores and I’ve fed both ways, mostly for omnivores. 

  • aimee

     Hi losul,

    I likely take a more evolutionary approach than others. I classify dogs as omnivore with carnivorous bias based on the retention of omnivorous traits.

     As animals become more and more specialized in their diet they lose metabolic pathways for which there are no pressures to maintain. Carnivores eat a nutritionally complete diet and so have maintained fewer metabolic pathways than a dietary generalist, the omnivore.
    Metabolically dogs are flexible which is a trait of omnivores.  Dogs can synthesize Vit. A  from carotene, they can convert tryptophan to niacin, cysteine to taurine etc. All pathways lost in the carnivore  the cat.

    Dogs can up regulate and down regulate protein metabolism allowing them to adjust to various dietary protein levels. Carnivores, always eating a high protein diet have lost this flexibility.

    Carnivores, always eating a complete diet had no evolutionary pressure to maintain the ability to select diet based on nutritional adequacy. Cats can not select a diet based on need. They readily will eat a diet devoid of protein when given a choice between a diet with adequate protein and one with no protein at all,  they can’t discriminate. Dogs when offered diets of differing protein will select and choose to eat about 30% of calories as protein, same as the omnivore the rat.

    Dogs can detect sweet allowing them to choose easy sources of energy and they preferentially choose sweet foods. Sweet foods are usually “safe” foods to eat. Cats didn’t maintain this ability to detect sweet, no pressure to maintain it as they don’t select a varied diet as omnivores do.  Dogs intestines are rich in enzymes which break down carbohydrates as opposed to carnivores .

    Omnivores are expected to have various detox pathways in the liver to degrade plant based toxins. Carnivores don’t encounter such toxins. Dogs have a pattern consistent with other omnivores whereas cats, a carnivore have few.

    But dogs have lost some omnivore traits which is why I say they have a carnivorous bias. They don’t detect salt well and they don’t synthesize Vit. D

    So I see the dog as having drifted a bit away from a omnivore prototype but maintain far too many omnivore traits and abilities to classify them as a carnivore.

  • aimee

     Hi Pattyvaughn,

    Yes dogs do lack all of those things….. so do bears which are omnivores.

    These pics hopefully will illustrate what I mean by flattened molars in dogs vs pointy ,molars in cats. 

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    I believe a dog is a carnivore with omnivore tendencies. Everything about them points to carnivore, but they have been known to eat fruits and vegetables in the wild. 

    What some people refuse to understand is that there are different types of carnivores. Just another example of people living in a black and white world, and ignoring the gray areas.

  • losul

    Oh boy, this conversation we should have took to the forums.

    Would it be more right to say a dog is a carnivore with some omnivorous tendencies, or a dog is an omnivore with some carnivorous tendencies?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Hi Aimee

    Dogs lack all these things not just one.  Your dogs teeth may be flattened, but mine aren’t, they all are pointed and have no pockets that food can rest in to be crushed in chewing.  And herbivores don’t need to produce cellulase if they are designed to carry the bacteria that break down cellulose, that has nothing to do with omnivores.  I also know that it doesn’t matter what I or anybody else here says, you believe dogs are omnivores.  I disagree, they have too many exceptions to the things that define an omnivore.  I haven’t heard any evidence of anything that contradicts the definition of a carnivore.

    I think you have an incredible knowledge base and I really respect your ability to apply that knowledge, but that doesn’t mean I can agree with you.  So we will just have to agree to disagree.

  • losul

    I don’t have any argument with that, my argument is that you’re calling a dog an omnivore, when they are primarily carnivorous by design.

  • aimee

     Hi losul,

     I have posted here before about deer eating birds and rabbits eating lizards as examples of why I don’t think it is valid to classify an animal as herbivore omnivore or carnivore solely based on what they are seen to eat.  

  • losul

    But Aimee if you want to call dogs omnivores with a dietary slant, you just as well call ALL animals omnivores with dietary slants one way or the other, don’t you think? What is a carnivore then? Or maybe there should be a reclassification for dogs to a cornivore? Bad joke I know.

    Would you call a deer, an omnivore with a plant based dietary slant? They are known to occaisonally root through gut piles for fat, possibly even bone tidbits. Some have been reported to eat eggs out of nests, and it’s well documented that they sometimes even eat the wings and legs off birds, especially males that need more calcium. Even so, I wouldn’t call them omnivores with a plant based dietary slant.

    Speaking of deer, many animals considered herbivores or primarily herbivores will chew on shed deer antlers for the mineral content. Shed antlers never last long in the wild.

    Antelope will occaisonally eat lizards and rodents. The same with squirrels.

    Some parts of the world, especially where phosphorous is deficient in soils, cows have been known to chew on animal bones and carcasses to satisfy that craving for phosphorous and/or protein, even though they sometimes die from botulism, or other disease they weren’t really able to or meant to cope with. And what about the bugs they eat along with the mouthful of grass?

  • aimee

     To say dogs are not omnivores because they lack salivary amylase implies that salivary amylase is a criteria or a trait of omnivorous animals. It is not. All omnivores do not have salivary amylase.

    Ditto for the argument that they are not omnivores because they lack significant side to side lower jaw movement. Most omnivores have a simple hinge joint.

    Dentition can be seen as mixed, as the molars are flattened.

    True, dogs do not produce cellulase but then again herbivores don’t either.

    Many omnivores have a bias toward either a plant based or animal based diet. Dogs are omnivores with an animal based dietary slant.

  • LabsRawesome

     Toni I think you meant obligate carnivore not “obligatory”.

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    Dogs are not “true” omnivores. Just because they CAN eat fruits and vegetables, does not mean they can live off of them. Being an omnivore means one can live off of either animal or plant-based foods, not that they can “do alright for a while as vegetarians”.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Seriously?  Dogs are not omnivores.  They lack salivary amylase to start the breakdown of starch in the chewing process, oh wait, they lack the teeth to chew plant matter at all.  They also don’t produce cellulase, which is necessary to break down plant cell walls.  They can survive on the plant material in kibble because of how it is processed, not because dogs were made to eat plants.  Remember how scientist, doctors, and nutritionists are always telling us to stay away from processed foods because they are unhealthy for you?  Kibble is about the most processed food in the world.  Dogs are carnivores and made to eat meat.

  • Toni

     Do yourself a favor and switch to Blue Buffalo.

  • Toni

     Dogs are omnivorous, and can do alright for a while as vegetarians, but should have meat in their diet. Cats on the other hand are obligatory carnivores which means, “they MUST eat MEAT.” They should be restricted in their carb intake, and fed as close to pure protein as possible. This is not routinely done, and it is probably why we see so many sick cats.

  • Toni

    Yeah, read “Food Pets Die For” by Ann Martin. You WILL find it GROSS what is done to not only our animal pets, but the food chain in general. It is only a matter of time before people in the US start contracting BSE.

  • Jrandall1258

    I read a lot about that and wondered why our three dogs never experienced any problems.   They had been eating California Natural Lamb and Rice for over five years at the time that Proctor and Greedy bought Naturapet.  I recently very slowly transitioned them to grain free chicken and rice and haven’t seen any problems.  My long term goal is to feed my dogs regular food. I’m currently reading “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs” The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals by Lew Olson, PhD.  We should all feed homemade and put the greedy corporations out of business.

  • LuvCowDogz

    A word of advice. Evo is owned by Proctor & Gamble now. They bought out Naturapet a couple of years ago. They said they weren’t going to change anything prior to the take over, however I’ve read reviews from long time buyers of some of the foods they now own saying their pets have GI issues, gas, etc. So just be aware of this. Always look at the legal documentation to see who “really” manufactures the diets.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Dogs have no carb requirement at all.  People have been feeding low to no carb diets to dogs for many years and they thrive on it.  Yes, they can survive on a vegetarian diet, but I can survive on a diet of candy bars.  That doesn’t mean that is what I should eat or that I’d be particularly healthy on it.

  • BryanV21

     No, because dogs are primarily carnivorous.

  • Cworthen12

    Is anyone concerned about the fact that dogs are primarily omnivorous, and must have a carb:protein ratio of 2 or 3 to one? They can even do well on a vegetarian diet (tho might get a bit gassy).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000708587919 Suzanne Patterson

    Is there a no salt/very low salt dog food I can try for my 11 yr. old Boston.She also loves treats,are there any that wouldn’t cause problems with her congestive heart failure ?

  • Annette

    my dog’s eat blue basics. has any one heard of calcium build up, from this food?

  • BryanV21

     I didn’t mean to imply you didn’t know, just wanted to add that to the conversation as it seemed to fit.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yes, I’m aware of how to calculate the carbohydrate content of food. :)

    What I’m saying is calories in a food are comprised of three components: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. A food has to have a high protein and fat content in order to have a low carbohydrate content. Moisture and ash levels are fairly similar from kibble to kibble so for comparative purposes it’s quickest to compare protein and fat levels.

  • BryanV21

    The good Dr. here has a formula for figuring out the carb level of foods. Add up the protein, fat, moisture, and then add 8 for the average amount of ash in a dry food (he says 6-8%, but uses 8). Take that amount and subtract it from 100, and that is the carb content of the food.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    John –

    The following foods have the highest level of protein that I know of for dry foods (could have missed a food, but I think this list is pretty accurate):

    Wysong Epigen 60%

    EVO 42-52%

    Premium Edge Healthy Weight I 44%

    Artemis Fresh Mix Maximal 42%

    Pinnacle Peak Protein 42%

    Nature’s Variety Instinct 35-42%

    Solid Gold Barking at the Moon 41%

    Wysong Optimal Performance 40%

    Orijen 38-40%

    I agree with Storm’s Mom that checking out raw and canned foods will increase your options. All dry foods are going to be fairly carb heavy – even the higher protein ones. 

    Generally the higher the protein level the lower the carb level, although fat levels need to be considered as well. Protein, fat, and carb percentages comprise 100% of a food so, for example, if two foods have the same exact protein content the food with the higher level of fat will have less carbs.

  • Storm’s Mom

    You’ll find a lot of the higher-protein (though not necessary low carb) ones here:


    You might also want to check out the Best Wet Dog Foods, too, as wet food is much higher in protein than dry food, so you could feed a lower protein dry food and top it with a wet food to get an overall higher protein meal.  

    Hope this helps!

  • John

    I really appreciate this site, but I have found 1 flaw with it.  I wish there was a way that you could search the dogfoods by what your looking for.  I have been hunting for almost a full day trying to find a “low carb” high protien food. If anyone has a suggestion please let me know.

  • Diuhfvj12

     Purina One Beyond

  • Sue

    Try Canadian Naturals…..

  • Elba16roig

    After several problems with treads make in China, I am trying to found some Sweet Potato with chicken or turky that is make in USA and where to found it.

  • Bob K

     jim – What  are the leading dog foods are you looking for?  Can you name a few brands?  Hills Science Diet?  Iams?  Blue? Taste of the Wild?  Pedigree?  Old Roy?  Purina Dog Chow?  Royal Canin?  Diamond?  Canidae?  Purina Pro Plan? Purina One?  Kirklands?  Benniful?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Jim,

    I’m sorry you’re unable to locate the brands you came here to find.

    In any case, the leading US and Canadian pet foods ARE listed here and I’ve spent a great deal of time analyzing and reviewing them. If you feel I’ve missed one of your favorites, just send me an email =using the Contact Us form in the footer of every page. Please be sure to include a link to a company operated website for the product you’re suggesting.

    My “Where to Buy Dog Food” directory is populated with those retail stores who have taken the time to register for a free listing.

    So, if you see a store missing from your area, tell the owner to sign up. A Basic Plan is 100% free.

    Hope this helps.

  • jim

    Why no reviews of the leading dog foods? And why do all the same stores show up when I search for dealers?

  • Alexiswyo

     There are also a few other companies who use European vitamin packs-Nutro Ultra and Annamaet are two that I know of.

  • Palmage Hall

    I have used solid gold product for 20 years and I have been well satisfied with them. I have a 4 month old shih tzu and she is on the small breed teeny bit solid gold and doing well.  good luck  thanks P. Hall

  • Nfarlow

    How do the AAFCO standards compare with the NRC guidelines?

  • Cookie_346

    Am using Blue Buffalo seinor as I took two bags of TOTW that was on the recall list. I have 4 dogs and all four had diharria . My yard is double fenced to keep out other animals and since the dogs did not want to eat the TOTW food I knew that something was wrong. Yesterday On HLN I saw that TOTW had also been recalled, both bage that I had was on the list.
      My male shelty had bloody diharriah for a week. My vet, yes people, I have over four hundred dollars in vet bills because of this mess and I most certanly did take my dogs to their vet.
      I even added cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast and white rice to the dry food to get them to eat it. I feel blessed now that I kniow what it was that I did not loose any of my dogs. I am 66 years old and they are like my children. I really am tempted to start feeding them what I can cook if this recall continues to grow. God Bless our Fur Babies.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Jaime,

    I’m sorry you feel this FAQ “confuses the customer”. For that was certainly not my intention when I wrote it.

    Nowhere on this page do I claim AAFCO “authorize, certify, test or otherwise approve animal feeds”.

    It only publishes guidelines detailed in its only two nutritional profiles – which is clearly explained in this document.

  • Jaime

    Your web page confuse the customer specially with the AFFCO information. I suggest to you to to AFFCO web page, below some findings:
    Does AAFCO certify products?

    No.  AAFCO has no regulatory authority to regulate feeds (and pet foods).  AAFCO also does not authorize, certify, test or otherwise approve animal feed. Only the individual states have the authority to approve animal feed to be distributed in their state under the authority of their state feed law. All of the states except Alaska have a commercial feed law. While each state (except for Alaska) has their own feed law and regulations, the labeling requirements of most states are similar and closely resemble AAFCO’s model regulations; however, some state laws can be very dated and others may be more up-to-date. For this reason, many companies find it easier to label their products according to the AAFCO models rather than try to comply with all of the different versions of the feed laws and regulations adopted by the states. If you follow the AAFCO Model Pet Food Regulations, you will probably meet all the states’ requirements”

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    In my opinion, I would feed both the Shih-Poo and the Yorkie Innova over the Iams.  If the Innova doesn’t agree with them, there are plenty of 4-5 star, and even some 3 star, foods that should be healthy foods for them.

  • Prazhm4

    I have a 2mo old yorkie and I have started him on Innova, I have a shih-poo as well. Yorkie was eating shih-poo’s Iams and I was told not to buy Iams for him, start him on the Innova. My question is what food would be best for my yorkie?


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jon-Moore/653053910 Jon Moore

     yes, Vitamins are too toxic to to create which means its too expensive to make in the US. There are some manufacturers in Europe, but they are too expensive to put in dog food unless its Ziwi Peak (but a 10# bag of Ziwi retails for $125.00)

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Massweet,

    The answer to your question may be found in my article, “Still Think Your Dog’s Food Is 100% China Free?“.

    Hope this helps.

  • Massweet

    What about the vitamins. Are they imported from China as I have been told?