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 shopping for the best dog food for your canine family member, you need to consider a wide range of nutrients. Dogs have a lot of nutrition needs that most pet owners may not be aware of. Here are some important things to remember when you shop pet foods.

Dogs must have a lot of different minerals and vitamins in their diets. They also need amino acids and fatty acids. These things should be delivered in proper proportions each day. You may wish to read products labels for ingredients, but it can often be confusing with so much information.

To avoid the confusion that can come from studying product labels, it is best to depend on the AAFCO for nutritional information. AAFCO means Association of American Feed Controls Officials. They are the ones that provide canine nutritional standards. Pet foods should have a reference to the AAFCO on their labels, if they conform to standards. This lets you know that you are buying a product that provides proper nutrition.

There are two kinds of pet foods that have AAFCO statements on their labels. Products designed for adult maintenance can be the sole source of food for your pet. It will get all of the important nutrients that it requires. You will not have to supplement your pet's diet with any other foods.

AAFCO specifications apply to dogs that are pregnant or are still nursing their pups. It also applies to puppies that are still developing and growing. These products will give puppies and mothers all of the things that they need, as far as nutrition is concerned.

Pet food AAFCO statements can be obtained through a series of complete testing procedures. This takes place in the laboratory. However, some products are verified by lab testing and from trials with real dogs. This is a more complete form of nutritional testing. When you shop pet foods you may come across products that are designed for supplemental feeding. This means that they do not meet AAFCO specifications. These are not good products to feed your pet every day. However, they are fine for occasional feeding.

If you read product labels you can find a great deal of information. Make sure that pet foods have a statement about AAFCO rules or standards. This tells you that they contain complete canine nutrition. Lab and trial tested products provide the most reliable source of information. Products made for all stages of life are the best dog food for puppies as well as adults.