So, lets look at the commercial dog food industry first. Commercially prepared kibble is a relatively new thing. it started with the first baked dog biscuit company in the late 1800's in England. This migrated to the U.S. and Purina came into being around 1950.That's when commercial dog food began to boom. Its now a multi-billion dollar industry.
AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) is the main organization regulating dog food. Although voluntary, most manufacturers follow its guidelines. Nearly every bag or can of dog food produced has an AAFCO statement on it somewhere indicating the food is "complete and balanced". It will also indicate what stage of life the food is designed for. AAFCO only recognizes 3 stages: puppy, adult, or all life stages. All life stages means the food has the nutrients determined to be necessary for the most nutritionally demanding: pregnant and nursing moms, and growing puppies. By default, it meets the requirements for adult dogs, and then some. The AAFCO statement will also say whether or not the food was "formulated". This means the food has not gone through a feeding trial - actual dogs have not eaten this food and thrived. But rather the recipe was generated and is similar to a previous recipe that has gone through feeding trials.
The next time you're at the pet store look for that AAFCO statement, now that you understand what it means. Next week, we'll learn how to read those confusing gu