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.

The best dog food for your pet should provide a well balanced diet. Dogs have specific nutrition needs and it is important that they be met on a daily basis. Here is a more detailed look at canine nutrition as it applies to your pet.

Dogs need amino acids, eleven types of vitamins, and fatty acids for proper nutrition. These nutrients must be received in the right proportions also. It can take a very long time to read the ingredients on every product label that you come across.

You may wish to avoid a lot of nutrition label research and confusion, All you need to remember is minimum requirement statements. If a particular product provides the minimum nutrients for your pet, there should be a statement from the AAFCO on the label. AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Controls Officials. They are the official organization that provides standards for pet as well as animal feeds in the United States.

If a product meets AAFCO standards for canine nutrition it will fall into one of two categories. The first category is adult maintenance. This means that you can feed this product to your dog and the food will keep it alive and well. You should not have to supplement the diet with any other kinds of foods.

Another category for AAFCO nutrition standards is growth and reproduction. This covers puppies and means that the product has everything that growing and developing puppies need to live. It also covers pregnant females and those that are still nursing their young.

When you find a label statement that claims the product meets the AAFCO standards of nutrition, you know that this claim has been substantiated one of two ways. The product must be rigorously examined within the laboratory. However, they may be certified by laboratory analysis and testing or trials with actual feeding of animals. If you find a product is only for supplemental feeding, then it does not meet the minimum requirements for canine nutrition.

It is important to read labels of all foods that you consider for your dog. If the product does not meet the standards of the AAFCO, you should not feed it to your pet on a daily basis. Look for products that have been tested in the lab and in feeding trials, for the most reliability. If you see a product that is good for all life stages, it could be the best dog food for puppies and adults, as well as pregnant females.