This article refers to the USA dog food standards (AAFCO).  Currently Australia has no equivalent dog food standards therefore most Australian dog food companies use these standards as a guide.

When searching for the best dog food products, it is important to provide a balanced diet. Dogs have special needs when it comes to nutrition, and these needs must be met for optimum health. Here are tips for meeting those needs, so your dog can be satisfied and enjoy good health for many years.

Dogs require things like fatty acids and amino acids in their diet. They also need a lot of different vitamins. These things must be provided on a daily basis. If you take the time to completely read all the product labels when you shop, it can be very time consuming and sometimes confusing.

Maybe you do not have the time to read every product label in its entirety, when shopping. The most important thing to look for is the minimum nutrition requirements. Products that meet AAFCO standards will state so on the label. AAFCO is an abbreviation for the Association of American Feed Controls Officials. This organization sets nutritional standards for animal and pet foods. This is why it is vital to check for a nutritional statement concerning AAFCO standards.

Pet foods that conform to AAFCO rules will be in a specific category. The "adult maintenance" category concerns proper nutrition for adult dogs. The product will be sufficient to keep dogs alive without supplementing diet. This is a complete dog food product.

The second AAFCO nutrition category concerns "growth and reproduction". This concerns females that are either pregnant or currently nursing. It also concerns puppies. These products will have everything that growing puppies and pregnant females need for nutrition.

If manufacturers claim that their product meets AAFCO standards, it can be obtained by complete testing in the lab. Products must meet all the necessary testing requirements. However, some products take it a step further and are verified in the lab and with feeding trials and studies. If you are shopping pet foods and find products for "supplemental feeding", they do not meet minimum nutrition requirements and should not be the only item in canine diets.

When you shop pet foods, it is important to read product labels. Look for foods that conform to AAFCO specifications. If a product does not meet minimum requirements, it is not good for daily feeding to your pet. The best dog food products are lab tested and trial tested. This insures that you are providing proper nutrition. Products sold as "good for all life stages" are good for adults as well as puppies.