I am reading Good Old Dog by faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. On page 28 it says: “Finally, make sure the wording includes something about how the food went through “animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures” rather than simply was “formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.” It’s perfectly legal to create a food according to the accepted formula. But it means the food was never actually tested in dogs with an AAFCO feeding trial.”
I am feeding a 5-star Wellness food, but can find nothing on the bag about feeding trials. Is there a list somewhere of foods that have gone through feeding trials? Or is this not as important as the authors of this book state?
hi. i wrote to Wellness and asked about feeding trials. here was their response (i hope it is helpful to you): Dear Candice, Thank you for taking the time to write about Wellness Complete Health Dry Dog Food.
Wonderful! I am pleased to hear that. All of our formulas dry and wet meet or exceed AAFCO specifications.
We perform a limited amount of food trials. We are passionate about our pets and their nutrition. We are very fortunate to have many consumers and employees that help us during the development of our diets and treats. We provide product for in-home trials and we talk to every person to find out how their cat or dog likes the food or treat. We also learn about the stool quality and any other benefits the food may provide such as improving skin & coat or palatability.
It is also important for us to understand some other important nutritional information such as digestibility or how our food compares in taste to other brands. For this, we occasionally use kennels with standard processes that provide reliable information. The kennels are selected based on them sharing the same philosophy towards animal welfare that we do. For instance, the dogs are socialized every day and the cats enjoy a specially designed play area. The dogs and cats are also available for adoption to the kennel employees and their families.
As animal lovers, we have to be comfortable with the choices we make to ensure our diets are complete, balanced and proven. We are very proud to rely on our own consumers, employees, and like-minded kennels to stand behind our natural products.
Thanks again for contacting us.
Consumer Affairs Representative
Thanks, Candice. The reply, however, is what I call “squishy.” Very nice and thoughtful, but the answer is no, they do not do feeding trials according to AFCO standards. Darn.
you are welcome. and, yes, elizabeth, “squishy” about sums it up. but i have to say, my almost 12-yr-old sheltie is in excellent health eating wellness core (reduced fat) for many years. so in my case, it doesn’t appear to be “broke” so i hesitate to “fix it.”
I am feeding Wellness Core Reduced fat, too. I have no issues with it, except the price. My dogs tend to do well on just about anything, but I like it when there are facts to back up my choice of foods for them! 🙂
Candice S.: I found this interesting http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/blog/-20869-1.html
thank you very much for this link, elizabeth. it is enlightening while at the same time somewhat disheartening. one would have reasonably thought that the highly touted feeding trials were more scientific than they apparently are (e.g., using randomized comparison groups; testing across the lifespan; trials that went longer than 6 months!). and, i must admit i have wondered how one could truly rely upon a pet food simply because veterinarians were working for a particular pet food company. how likely would that vet be to readily disclose shortcomings of that food? a little like the fox guarding the henhouse. in any case, i suppose the moral of the story is that there are no absolutes out there.
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