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Hi Patricia,

In regard to AAFCO .. is it perfect? Heck No!

The AAFCO profile is based on NRC nutrient recommendations which were established through research. In general, an AAFCO profile requires higher nutrient amounts than NRC to account for variable bioavailability. NRC cautions, when using their tables, if vitamins in the diet are coming from food ingredients and not a premix the numbers must be modified “because the natural forms of some vitamins have low bioavailabilites” In my mind it is a good thing that AAFCO is not identical to NRC.

My concern when a company reports that their diet meets AAFCO, and it does not, based on the information they provide, is not so much that the diet will cause immediate nutritional harm. The concern I have is with the company’s honesty, integrity, overall nutritional knowledge and understanding of food production.

I’ve seen this so many times with so many companies and how they respond can be a deal breaker for me. I don’t expect every batch of food to hit every level every time. There will be variability in ingredients, processing errors etc. BUT when a company sends me an analysis and appears to state that every number in that analysis, they sent to me meets or exceeds AAFCO min and it clearly does not, that to me is a BIG problem. Rightly or wrongly, I think if a company cannot see that the number 2 is less than the number 3 how can I expect them to understand the more complex intricacies of food production… I can’t!

In my experience, this is typically how these conversations go. I thank them for sending the information and ask them to clarify because it appears to me that what they sent does not meet AAFCO. The company often then replies that all of their nutrient levels meet AAFCO min. I may then ask if this is the most accurate up to date information they have or if anything needs updating or could they check the value for nutrient X to make sure there is not a “typo”. And they say everything is accurate and up to date. Then I may say I’m looking at your reported nutrient level for X , you report A, which you verified with me is not a typo and is the most updated and accurate nutritional information you have. The number given is below AAFCO min. which is B. Please explain. Then the company often replies they are in the middle of updating and the information sent doesn’t reflect their current analysis or some such variation of the above. In some cases, within minutes, the company changes the nutritional information on their website to reflect the number I just gave them, or they take down the webpage or remove the sentence I question. If I didn’t take screenshots you wouldn’t believe it. Sometimes the error is obvious, the number reported is less than AAFCO number, other times it is a matter of the company apparently not understanding that they have to correct their diet for energy density before comparing to the AAFCO profile.

Purina did a 14 year long life study using a food that contains garlic oil. I have no concern with the amount of garlic oil in the Purina products I use, I’ve had concerns with the amounts other companies seem to use. I once purchased a product because I wanted their illegal label. I opened it to dump the food and the garlic smell was overwhelming! At min, you could ask if the company put their food through a feeding trial and if so were there any changes in the blood parameters. It is a small number of dogs but something….

I feed a variety of kibble, canned and home cook prepared foods using Balance it. Since DCM, I primarily feed Purina Pro Plan as kibble base. I used to sometimes use a bit of Wellness Core or Annemaet or Iams/ Eukanuba kibble. For moist foods I’ve been using Purina, Hill’s, Eukanuba/Iams and Fresh Pet morsels as a C and B training “treat”. To this I add whatever fresh veggies or a bit of meat, sweet potato pasta/rice etc we have from our dinner.

I have noted coat changes when I rotated off Purina , increased shedding and flakes which she never had before and resolved when I returned to Pro Plan. No stool problems except for when I fed Honest Kitchen and had voluminous stools. I posted pics on that thread that showed the ingredients coming out appearing to me to be the same way as they went in.

Whenever someone says their dog has newfound energy after eating a raw diet what comes to mind was a dog’s thyroid level was something like 5 times normal after being on raw diet. The raw food company swore they were not using any neck trim, but the levels returned to normal after taking the dog off of the raw diet.