petMD recently conducted a survey of owners on the topic of dog nutrition. The results revealed some confusion regarding the nutritional needs of dogs and how to ensure that the products we buy meet those needs. Understanding how to feed our dogs properly is critical to their well-being. This knowledge gap is worrisome, but also represents an opportunity for improving the health and longevity of our beloved companion animals.
The survey’s top findings were:
1. Misunderstood Terms
Fifty-seven percent of the dog owners who responded rightfully look to dog food labels for information about the type of ingredients included in their dog’s food. However, what is written on the label is not always straightforward. Much of the language used on labels is tightly controlled and regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), but the definitions are not easy to come by.
Take the word “by-product,” for example. The majority of respondents to the petMD survey believed that animal hair, teeth, and hooves are included in meat by-products, and that is simply not the case. AAFCO regulations expressly do not permit these body parts to be included in a by-product used in pet food.
2. The Importance of Feeding Trials
The majority of owners look to the label to learn about what is included in their dog’s food. However, the survey also showed that dog owners fail to look for key quality information also included on the label. All AAFCO approved dog foods must display a statement indicating how the dog food manufacturer determined that particular food would meet the needs of dogs. This can be done in one of two ways: via a computer program or by actually feeding the food to dogs. Feeding trials are a far superior method for determining whether or not dogs will thrive on a particular food. Nonetheless, only 22 percent of people taking the survey said they look at dog food labels to see if the food has undergone a feeding trial.
For the complete article on five misconceptions about pet nutrition, visit petMD!