AAFCO Feeding Trials

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With dilated cardiomyopathy emerging as a significant issue for dogs, especially golden retrievers, I’ve become more dismayed by the commercial pet food industry than ever. I even temporarily bought into the recommendation to feed a dog food made by Hills, Iams, Purina, Eukanuba or Royal Canin – all foods I never would feed my dogs before.

We were told their is “science” behind their foods. Following is the science.

AAFCO Feeding Trials

One of the ways for a pet food manufacturer to establish that its diet is “complete and balanced” or “for all life stages” is by conducting a feeding trial. The trial must follow guidelines established by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). The protocol of an AAFCO feeding trial is summarized below. This information is available in the annual “Official Publication” published by AAFCO, and may be ordered by visiting http://www.aafco.org.
Only 8 animals (either dogs or cats) need to participate in the feeding trial. There is no restriction regarding breed or sex. Only 6 of these 8 need to complete the trial, which lasts for just 26 weeks. During the trial, the only food available to the test animals is the food being tested. Water is available ad libitum.

Before the trial starts, and after it ends, the participating animals must pass a physical examination by a veterinarian. The veterinarians evaluate general health, body and hair coat condition. At the end (but not at the beginning) of the trial, 4 blood values are measured and recorded: hemoglobin, packed cell volume, serum alkaline phosphatase, and serum albumin.

The diet being tested fails if any animal shows clinical or pathological signs of nutritional deficiency or excess. No dog or cat is allowed to lose more than 15% of its starting body weight. Specific minimum values for the blood tests are given, and applied to the average result of all participating animals that finished the trial.

In summary, the rules for the feeding trial appear very loose. The food being tested must merely keep 6 out of 8 seemingly healthy dogs/cats alive for 6 months, without them losing more than 15% of their initial body weight, and without the average of 4 certain blood values falling below minimum levels. Most nutritional deficiencies or excesses will not be apparent within a brief 6 month period, as they tend to take much longer to develop. It certainly seems that the AAFCO Feeding Trial leaves a lot to be desired, as far as confirming the safety and reliability of pet foods!
Article written by J. Boniface,

Need a Bigger Bed

Took the pups camping at Westmoreland State Park as we realized Menia had never been camping.

The dogs were great. Settled right into the little cabin.

Loved hiking with all the new smells.

However, Joe and I did not settle right in.

Taking four dogs out to potty in the rain in the black of night is miserable. Don’t know how people who don’t have fences manage.

And sharing a less than full size bed with four goldens pushed us out of our comfort zone!

So Menia had her first, and possibly last, camping adventure.

Paw Print Ornament

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Before hanging up all the ornaments and wrapping the tree in tinsel, make sure to include your pet in the festivities by creating this one-of-a-kind keepsake. Making their paw print into an ornament is the perfect way to include them in the fun and to make your Christmas tree personal. Plus, it’s so easy to make!

What You Need:
1 cup salt
2 cups flour
1 cup lukewarm water
1 (or more) awesome pets
Directions:
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
Slowly add the water until you get a doughy consistency. (Add more water if it’s too dry, more flour if it gets too wet.)
Knead into a ball.
Roll out the dough onto a cookie sheet.
Push your pet’s paw into the dough. (*Note: you may need to bribe them with a treat.)
Cut a circle around her print and make a hole for the ribbon.
Pop it in a 200 degree oven for about two hours.
Once cooled, decorate the ornament to fit your pet’s personality.