AAFCO nutrient profile standards for dog food

A dog food recipe that makes claim to have met an AAFCO nutrient profile must meet and pass the standard set for that nutrient profile establish by the AAFCO. The profile covers, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

AAFCO stand for Association of American Feed Control Officials

  • They are a non-profit organization.
  • Its role is to define standards for both animal feeds and pet foods
  • They do not certify or otherwise endorse pet foods
  • This is  AAFCO website link for pet food

If a dog food company choose to meet one of AAFCO nutrient profile it then must go through Laboratory analysis or Laboratory analysis plus actual feeding trials.

There are two AAFCO nutrient profiles for dog food.

  • Adult maintenance
  • Growth and reproduction

Growth and Reproduction profile is designed for puppies and pregnant or lactating females.

Adult maintenance is designed adult dogs and it is considered a standard to allow the dog food recipe to claim “complete and balanced”

To meet the AAFCO nutrient profile, dog food recipe needs to meet specified level, range, or ratio for:

  • Minimal crude protein level
  • Specific Amino acids
  • Minimal crude fat level
  • Specific fatty acids
  • Specific minerals
  • Specific vitamins

What AAFCO does not cover are

  • Dietary fiber carbohydrate level
  • Amount of other carbohydrates
  • Probiotics
  • Other anti-oxidants beyond vitamins listed
  • Other healthy chemicals such as carotenoids or anti-cancer compounds that may naturally occur in food. See this article for more details on these compounds.

In the below tables,  is an example of nutrient AAFCO that was a proposal for the “2014 AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles”. Again this example does not reflect the actual AAFCO profiles at anytime.

Nutrients Units Growth &
Reproduction
Adult Maintenance Maximum
(DM Basis) (min) (min) (max)
Crude Protein % 22.5 18
  Arginine % 1 0.51
  Histidine % 0.44 0.19
  Isoleucine % 0.71 0.38
  Leucine % 1.29 0.68
  Lysine % 0.9 0.63
  Methionine % 0.35 0.33
  Methionine-cystine % 0.7 0.65
  Phenylalanine % 0.83 0.45
  Phenylalaninetyrosine % 1.3 0.74
  Threonine % 1.04 0.48
  Trytophan % 0.2 0.16
  Valine % 0.68 0.49
Crude Fat % 8.5 5.5
  Linoleic acid % 1.3 1.1
  Alpha-Linolenic acid % 0.08 Not determined
 Eicosapentaenoic+

Docosahexaenoic acid

% 0.05 Not determined
(Linoleic+Arachidonic):(alphaLinolenic+

Eicosapentaenoic

+Docosahexaenoic)acid

30:1
Calcium % 1.2 0.5 1.8
Phosphorus % 1 0.4 1.6
Calcium:Phosphorus

ratio

2:1
Potassium % 0.6 0.6
Sodium % 0.3 0.08
Chloride % 0.45 0.12
Magnesium % 0.06 0.06
Iron mg/kg 88 40
Copper mg/kg 12.4 7.3
Manganese mg/kg 7.2 5
Zinc mg/kg 100 80
Iodine mg/kg 1 1 11
Selenium mg/kg 0.35 0.35 2
Vitamins & Other
Vitamin A IU/kg 5000 5000 250000
Vitamin D IU/kg 500 500 3000
Vitamin E g IU/kg 50 50
Thiamine mg/kg 2.25 2.25
Riboflavin mg/kg 5.2 5.2
Pantothenic acid mg/kg 12 12
Niacin mg/kg 13.6 13.6
Pyridoxine mg/kg 1.5 1.5
Folic acid mg/kg 0.216 0.216
Vitamin B12 mg/kg 0.028 0.028
Choline mg/kg 1360 1360

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