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Consult Your Veterinarian: Mastering Pet Nutrition and Chew Safety with Expert Advice

Consult Your Veterinarian: Mastering Pet Nutrition and Chew Safety with Expert Advice

Consult Your Veterinarian: Mastering Pet Nutrition and Chew Safety with Expert Advice

For pet owners, the health and happiness of our dogs are always a top priority. This commitment includes providing them with the most nutritious food and ensuring that their chews are safe. The challenge, however, lies in navigating the myriad of options available in the market. With brands boasting everything from "AAFCO approved dog food" to the latest in chew technology, how do we make the right choices for our pets? In this guide, we'll explore expert insights into pet nutrition and chew safety, shining a light on how to select the best for your furry family member. 

What is AAFCO and Understanding AAFCO's Role

Firstly, it's critical to understand the role of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Contrary to popular belief, AAFCO does not directly approve pet foods. Instead, it establishes nutritional profiles and guidelines that "animal feed," including pet food, should meet. Manufacturers are then tasked with formulating their products to comply with these standards. The real question is not the credibility of AAFCO itself but whether pet food companies are rigorously following these guidelines. It's vital to choose products from brands known for their commitment to quality and openness.

Veterinary professionals often have a list of preferred brands, informed by an intricate understanding of those companies' manufacturing processes, quality assurance measures, and commitment to nutrient analysis. Such knowledge typically comes from hands-on experience, education, and interactions with brand representatives, underlining the importance of consulting with your vet about "AAFCO dog food" and "animal food" choices.

Digestibility Matters

It's a fact: no pet food or chew is entirely digestible. Optimal digestibility metrics suggest that proteins and fats in pet foods should be above 90% digestible, and carbohydrates should exceed 80%. Yet, dental chews, which are integral for oral health, often boast high dietary fiber to combat plaque and tartar effectively, such as the Soft Dental Chews from Vivus. This inclusion, however, reduces overall digestibility since canines can't fully process fiber. The real measure of a dental chew's safety, such as the popular Greenies, depends more on the pet's chewing habits than the product's composition. Monitoring your pet's chew time is essential to prevent the risks associated with ingesting large pieces.

Selecting the Right Chews

For those weighing their options on safe and beneficial dental chews, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) offers a list of vetted products. These selections have passed stringent tests affirming their safety and effectiveness. Turning to the VOHC's recommendations is a dependable method for choosing chews that support dental health without endangering your pets. 

In Summary

While AAFCO sets the stage for nutritional standards in pet foods, the responsibility to meet these criteria falls on the pet food manufacturers. It's up to pet owners to source products from reputable companies and engage with their veterinarians for guidance. By understanding the nuances of pet food digestibility and the appropriate use of dental chews, pet owners can avoid many common health pitfalls. For those dedicated to maintaining their pet's dental health, consulting the VOHC's approved product list is a wise move.
By staying educated and proactive, pet owners can confidently tackle the complexities of pet nutrition and chew safety, ensuring a vibrant and healthy life for their cherished pets. 

Drafted by:
Dr. Sarah Dodd BVSc, MSc, PhD, EBVS® Specialist in Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition

Published by:
Vivus Pets Team
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