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Dog foods ONLY meet aafco standards by using masses of supplements

 kibble in a square

Most likely, you are one of the 97% of people in Australia who feeds their dog a manufactured dog food kibble or dog food can diet. These foods are recommended by vets (who also sell the products) and there is a lot of misinformation out there, often by the dog food manufacturers trying to scare you into never feeding your dog natural or raw food. But if you want to play it safe, you can still feed your dog some meat.

This article looks at (according to one nutrition bible), how much beef you are allowed to add to a dogs diet before kibble becomes NOT "balanced and complete". And why adding a natural preferred food (MEAT) to your dog's diet is so undesirable.

But first a little information from the dog food nutrition bible on why carbs are so good for your dog (written by three Proctor and Gamble associates).

Carbohydrates in dog food

Carbohydrates are the main energy containing constituents of plants, they make up 60-90% dry matter of plants.

Polysaccharides are made up of many monosaccharide units (simple plant sugars) and are fall into the categories of: starch, glycogen, dextrins and dietary fiber.  STARCH is a non-structural plant storage polysaccharide which is the main carbohydrate source found in most commercial pet foods.

The major cereal grains that provide starch in pet foods are corn, wheat, sorghum, barley, and rice.

While meat proteins and fats can be used for energy sources (instead of carbohydrates), there are several article recently suggesting that dietary fibre is important for dogs not only to make firm stools, but the moderately types provide energy sources for the good bacteria in the intestine (for digesting undigested food) and for energy for coloncites (cells in the intestine walls).

Bacterial fermentation of some semi digestible fibre creates short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that are used by cells in the intestine. Some fibres can also act as pre-biotics.

Carbohydrates and MANUFACTURED DOG FOOD

You will see from previous articles comparing major dog food brands ingredient lists that a form of animal meat is often the first ingredient (rarely anywhere near the highest percentage of the contents) but it is often followed by several grain types.

Carbohydrates can be provided by either grains or any number of vegetables, however, if you read the ingredient lists you will see that the vast majority of manufactured dog foods use grains.

The primary reason for this is that they are a cheap ingredient, not necessarily because they are good for your dog. Grains typically need a LOT OF TREATMENT to make them digestible, let alone palatable. Making grains artificially acceptable for a dog is not about feeding them a natural diet. It is often about feeding them an energy source, and feeding them bulk.

The dog food nutrition table below gives good credence to the conspiracy theory.

I have copied this table from Ref 1, to show you how the authors try to prove how vital it is for you to buy manufactured dog food rather than use raw beef.

They show how 100% "Dry Dog Food" meets the AAFCO dog food standards (first column), however by the time you reach 50% dry dog food and 50% beef, you are deficient in several core vitamins and minerals. This should surely convince you to only ever feed your dog dry dog food.

AAFCO is the core voluntary dog food organisation in America that sets the dog food standards that most countries including Australia follow to gain the coveted "balanced and complete" tagline.  The values in BOLD BLACK are said to be deficient

NUTRIENT

Dry Dog Food

75% dog food

50% dog food

25% dog food

 
   

25% Beef

50% Beef

75% beef

 

Protein %

34

39

46

55

 

Fat%

23

24

25

26

 

carbohydrate %

35

30

23

14

 

Crude Fiber %

1.9

1.6

1.3

0.75

 

Nitrogen

         

Calcium %

1.3

1.1

0.87

0.53

 

phosphorus %

1

0.89

0.73

0.53

 

Calcium:Phosphorus

1.3

1.235955

1.191781

1

 

Potassium %

0.87

0.89

0.92

0.96

 

Sodium %

0.6

0.53

0.44

0.31

 

Magnesium %

0.11

0.09

0.08

0.06

 

Iron mg/kg

215

183

142

85

 

Vitamin A IU/kg

21,700

18,500

14400

8600

 

Vitamin D IU/kg

1950

1670

1290

770

 

Vitamin E IU/kg

153

130

100

60

 

Thiamin mg/kg

19.5

16.7

13

7.7

 

Riboflavin mg/kg

25

21

16.5

10

 

Niacin mg/kg

64

55

42

25

 

Metabolizable Energy kcal/kg

4700

4800

5000

5200

 

Calorific distribution

       

Protein

27

31

35

41

 

Fat

45

45

47

48

 

Carbohydrate

28

24

18

10

 

 

The truth behind the table.

This table is factually correct, however it doesnt show all of the aafco requirements. If you use their hypothetical kibble, by the time you reach 50% beef you fail to meet several nutrition components, as defined by aafco.

HOWEVER, what this table does not show is how Carbohydrates themselves contribute to nutrition, and specifically Grains.

If you look at my previous article "  Dog Food. Meat Proteins or Grain protein, which ones meet AAFCO standards? "  you will see that Straight beef is the only column that exceeds all of the amino acid aafco requirements. AND that is with water included in the beef. If you used Beef of the same dry weight as the grains, it would meet most of the vitamin and mineral requirements as well.

The above table also doesn't show you that the kibble requires a massive injection of vitamins and minerals to attain the affco standards! Yes the affco standards were created so that no natural food (meat, grain or vegetable) by itself could  be reach the minimum aafco standards.  This means that most people can't be bothered with making their own home meals for fear of not providing the "correct" nutrition balance.

AAFCO standards are derided by many parties for the ridiculously low sample numbers of dogs required to pass a dog food as healthy. All it really needs to do is not make too many dogs sick in feed trials and have enough vitamins and minerals added to meet the affco standard.

You should also understand that this table is just for the addition of a single meat. Healthy raw food diets include animal meat, offal, and bones. All in whole human grade condition. This complete raw meal, plus the many nutrients provided by raw meat and offal, are considered by many people to be far superior to a man-made mix even with synthetic vitamins added.

kibble in a circleMAJOR GRAINS USED FOR MANUFACTURED DOG FOOD:

These ingredient lists are from the respective brand's websites. They are reproduced in the Appendix of the above article.

There are typically 10 - 30 plus ingredients in each list. I have only reproduced the first few products here as an example. As discussed in that article, the first ingredient is often meat, to give the appearance of a high meat proportion, however, the following grains typically make up 70 to 80% of the total product (to keep input costs down). Note that is their costs, not yours. You can buy human grade meat cheaply in many markets in the world.

You will also see that the addition is the ONLY way that the kibble can meet the protein minimum standards.

One of the  main arguments as to why you should not use a raw meat diet is that it is not nutritionally balanced, however dog foods that pass the AAFCO standard are classed as "complete and balanced" giving the impression that the high usage of grains is responsible. This is not the reason.

Below is a list of the first few ingredients for four major brands, with the grain (majority of the products) contribution in bold:

EUKANUBA ADULT MAINTENANCE:  Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Barley

Advance Adult Total Wellbeing All Breed: Chicken: Chicken, Rice, Corn, Sorghum, Corn Gluten

HILLS Science Diet: Adult Advanced Fitness Original: Chicken, Whole Grain Corn, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal,

Canidae: Chicken Meal & Rice: Chicken meal, brown rice, white rice, rice bran, cracked pearled barley,

AAFCO standards for DOG MAINTENANCE NUTRITION REQUIREMENTS VERSUS GRAIN NUTRITION.

Each manufactured dog brand needs a massive amount of almost every type of nutrient to supplement the grains just to achieve the minimum standards. While straight beef (not including offal and bones that are part of a complete raw diet) is found not to meet the standard, the straight grains are FAR WORSE.

In fact unlike meat, most grains fail most of the MINIMUM PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS OF AFFCO. That is probably the main reasons that they put meat in.

HOW MUCH mineral and vitamin supplements do manufactured dog foods require to meet AAFCO standards? You will never know, because they are not required to state any absolute or relative values of these, They just state the order by weight.

The following is an example of the supplements that some major brands need to meet minimum AAFCO requirements:

EUKANUBA ADULT MAINTENANCE

EXTRA NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS: Potassium Chloride, Salt, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Beta-Carotene,Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid], Flax Meal, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Minerals [Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate], DL-Methionine,

You will notice that this supplement list also includes Inositol (to boost the fibre content) and Flax Meal to meet the Omega 6 requirement (even thought fish sources are preferred, as they don't need to be chemically converted before use by a dog).

Advance Adult Total Wellbeing All Breed, Chicken

EXTRA NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS: Beet Pulp, Iodised Salt, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Inulin, Turkey, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Plant Extracts (Tomato Powder (source of Lycopene), Marigold Meal (source of Lutein)), Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Zinc Sulphate, Citric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Antioxidants, Iron Sulphate, Copper Sulphate, Vitamin B5, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B12, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin D, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9.

In this case Advance use Beet pulp to meet fibre requirements. Salt to meet the Sodium level, Sunflower Oil to achieve the fat requirement and many added vitamins and minerals.

CONCLUSIONS

Why would standards be created that natural ingredients, meat, carbohydrates, or a combination of both can't meet?

Notice that the ingredients are mostly listed as separate vitamins and minerals (not as natural plant extracts). This means that many of the vitamins and minerals are likely to be synthetically created. Some dog food companies actually make a point of difference that they use chelated minerals.

How could dogs evolve and flourish on a natural diet (whether that be meat, carbs or a combination of both), but that diet found in nature is massively deficient as defined by AAFCO?

There is no doubt that added vitamins, minerals, oils and fibre are good for humans and dogs, However it would appear that by creating standards that cannot be achieved by the simple addition of natural foods (meat, carbs or a combination of both), the standard ENSURES that only artificially created dog food can be classed as "complete and balance" as per the AAFCO definition.

NOTE The AAFCO standards were mostly developed by trial and error and "nutritionist" subjectively defining what they believed minimum standards should be. There is no real overseeing of the standard because membership to the aafco group is voluntary. Interesting that membership is voluntary, however you are unable to sell dog food in most countries in the world, unless you meet their standard.

Did you know that some of the major dog food companies in the world are pharmaceutical companies? Isn't that very handy?

 

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link tohttp://www.healthydogtreats.com.au

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References

Ref 1  Canine and Feline Nutrition 3rd edition  Case Et al

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