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AAFCO is a private, nonprofit, membership association that establishes standard ingredient definition and nutritional requirements for pet foods. It is not a government regulatory agency. While officially the FDA is responsible for regulating pet food, AAFCO regulations have been adopted by most states as the standard that pet food manufacturers must follow to meet their state's standards. This is why you'll see AAFCO referenced by pet food manufacturers and referenced on packaging.
It's important to note that AAFCO has advisors and committee members that are representatives from major pet food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers such as Hills Pet Nutrition, Nutro Products and Nestle Purina. Because of this, there has been some controversy about AAFCO. However, AAFCO claims that its purpose is to protect the consumer.
AAFCO writes pet food labeling requirements that is separated in two categories: adult maintenance and growth/reproduction. These nutrition requirements include the minimum nutrient content for protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, which we've outlined below.
If food is labeled as "for all life stages" they must meet the higher standards listed under growth/reproduction.
At A Better Treat, we use AAFCO's guidelines as minimum guidelines that we make sure to far exceed. For example, AAFCO protein content for adult dog maintenance is 18%. Our dog food has almost double this requirement at 35%, beating out many other dog food company's "High Protein Formula" kibble. This is notable since protein is the most expensive ingredient on the dog food label.
We also meet the higher standards outlined for Growth and Reproduction Dog Food Requirements, which is why you'll see the phrase "for all life stages" on our packaging as well as specific feeding guidelines for puppies and nursing females. We were careful in our kibble formulation and had a PhD in Animal Nutrition help us provide the best quality product for your pup. This means no corn, no wheat and no soy. These are often used as cheap fillers in dog food formulation. Instead, we've opted for fiber rich alternatives like brown rice, whole oats, whole barley, and flax seeds.
We take pride in our dog food for not only the recognizable difference and nutrient boost from our freeze dried raw pieces of salmon or chicken, freeze dried broccoli and air dried carrots but also the quality in our kibble as well.