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The Truth About 'Clinically-Proven' Dog Food

Adult dog with puppy

Take a second to think about what’s important to you when it comes to the food you feed yourself and your family. Are you big on organic food? Or locally grown?

Whatever your food standards are for yourself and your family, it’s equally as important to feed your dog foods that are healthy and wholesome. However, with so many marketing terms appearing on pet food labels, it can be hard to tell which options are really best for our furry friends.

To help, we asked Martin J. Glinksy, Ph.D., pet nutritionist and Chief Science Officer of PetMatrix, LLC to sort the fact from fiction.

We often see labels on both human and pet products that say, “clinically proven,” but does that really mean anything important?

Terms such as these, as well as phraseology like “Doctor/Veterinarian recommended” are very important and have specific rules about their use, controlled by the FDA and the FTC, says Dr. Glinsky. Whenever you see claims that a dog food has specific health-related benefits or will improve the dog’s physical condition or appearance, you want to be sure you also see that those claims have been “clinically proven.” That’s your guarantee that the claim is not just marketing hype, but a real benefit from a quality product you can have confidence in.

What’s the difference between “clinically tested” and “clinically proven” dog foods?

While these terms are often used interchangeably (and inaccurately), “clinically proven” is a stronger statement, says Dr. Glinsky. “It implies that the product being identified has undergone scientific testing and review and can prove the claims of the company,” he said. A dog food product labeled as “clinically proven,” must undergo two scientific studies showing the claim to be accurate. “‘Clinically-tested’ simply implies that the product was used on patients, and doesn’t necessarily meet the requirements of sound, scientific experimentation.”

For the complete article on clinically-proven dog food, visit petMD!


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