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The 3 Most Important Factors: What Should I Feed My Dog or Cat?

The 3 most important questions to ask when choosing a dog or cat food are: 1. Is it appropriate for the life stage of the animal? 2. Is it AAFCO certified? 3. On the AAFCO label, does it state feeding trials have been performed? If we ask these three simple rules then we should be able to find a good pet food.

Life stage refers to the age of the animal and if they have any major health concerns. At Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic we will help you determine the life stage of your pet. A short list of life stages include puppy, kitten, adult, senior, pregnant, large breed or small breed dog. You can see that we wouldn't feed a small breed puppy the same as a large breed adult.

The AAFCO statement can be found on the side of the majority of dog foods. AAFCO stands for the American Association of Food Control Officials. This is the USDA of the dog food world. They will ensure a pet food meets the minimum nutritional guidelines for the life stage of the animal the food is intended for. The company has to submit the ingredients of the food for review, but that does not mean testing is performed on the food.

On the AAFCO statement you'll find one of two phrases: "The food has been formulated for...." OR "Feeding trials have been performed...." I prefer to see the latter when choosing my own dog food. If the statement only says the food is "formulated for" that means your animal is the guinea pig. The company selling the food has not spent the money to feed it in a controlled environment to ensure the animal tolerates it.

The best person to answer these three questions for you is your veterinarian. We are happy to answer any food question here at Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic. We like to see the animal for an exam to help understand their needs. We are always accepting new clients and have same day availability. Please call us to discuss your pet's needs at 970-663-PETS (7387).

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