Pet Food Feeding Guidelines
Pet food feeding guidelines are simple to understand. They are listed on every bag of pet food and can be an invaluable tool when comparing different brnads of pet food.
The feeding guidelines are based on either manufacturer feeding trials, or chemical analysis. Based on the results of either approach, the feeding guidelines reflect how much food must be fed to your pet to provide the MINIMUM daily nutritional requirements as established by AAFCO.
Simply put, if you feed what he bag says, your pet should receive enough daily nutrition to keep it alive.
While feeding trials return real life results, you may be surprised to learn what constitutes a trial. Typically, a feeding trial is conducted for 6 months, with a minimum of 8 animals. At least 6 of those animals must complete the entire 6 month trial, and not show any adverse reaction to the food. Not a very strict standard to receive the AAFCO seal of approval.
How feeding guidelines help
Feeding guidelines can help evaluate quality of a food, since each manufacturer must use the same criteria for daily nutrient standards.
Unlike Guaranteed Analysis numbers, feeding guidelines are directly comparable between foods.
One trick manufacturers now use is varying the weight range on their bags. It would much easier for us to compare feeding guidelines if all were published in increments of 10, 15 or 20 pounds. Instead one food may list recommendations for 10-20 pound dogs, while another lists for 15-30 pounds. A little math can give you an answer, but it could be much simpler.