Dog Food Regulation

Dog Food Regulation

Any food that you find in your local supermarket must meet federal and state regulations, and the same is true for dog food. In fact, dog food regulation has actually been on the rise over the years. Dog food is subject to certain federal and state regulations. On a federal level, they must meet the standards set forth by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). These are the same federal departments that govern and regulate human food as well.

Everything You Need to Know About Dog Food Regulation


Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration is well known for regulating human foods and medications, but they also have regulations that help to prevent harmful or improperly labeled dog food. Any foods that make therapeutic claims must also be approved by the FDA. They also do manufacturing plant inspections routinely, just to make sure that the food is manufactured safely. The FDA has set forth the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which requires the following:

  • foods must be wholesome and pure
  • foods must contain no harmful substances
  • foods must be labeled truthfully
  • foods must be prepared and packaged in sanitary conditions
  • food must not contain any product of diseased animals
  • foods must list the ingredients on the package, in order of their weight

United States Department of Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture is also involved when it comes to dog food regulation. They offer a voluntary inspection regulation for dog food manufacturers. This inspection will determine the following:

  • amount of meat in the food
  • ingredients found in the food
  • minimum nutrients found in the food
  • label specifications

If a manufacturer chooses to go through with this inspection, they can put the USDA seal of approval on their packaging. This, however, isn’t something that all manufacturers choose to do. Not having the USDA approval seal doesn’t necessarily make a food unfit for your dog to consume. It just means you need to do a bit more research.

Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission helps to ensure that dog food manufacturers are not using false advertising to mislead consumers. Pet food manufacturers must follow the ‘general truth’ rule found in the FTC’s advertising standards. This means not making misleading claims, and ensuring that the labeling is completely true.

Association of American Feed Control Officials

On a state level, the Association of American Feed Control Officials can regulate foods. Many states conform to their requirements. The AAFCO actually enforces laws regarding production, labeling, sales and distribution of dog food. States must adopt these regulations, or they can come up with their own regulations based on those set forth by the AAFCO. AAFCO regulations have requirements for the following:

  • product names
  • flavor designations
  • nutritional adequacy
  • ingredient names
  • other labeling aspects

If you have any concerns about the food that you feed your pet, make sure that you focus on the dog food regulation and how it relates to your pet. After all, you likely want to feed your pet the very best food. By choosing a food that has the approval of either the FDA, USDA or AAFCO, you can rest assured that you are feeding your dog premium quality food that will meet their nutritional requirements on a daily basis.



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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.

We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.

On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.

Latest posts by Shay Atik (see all)

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2 thoughts on “Dog Food Regulation

  1. Thanks for this information! So many people don’t take the time to read up on pet food regulation. They focus on regulation of human foods, without even a second thought about our pets! Thankfully there are great programs, such as the AAFCO and the FDA that help to ensure that our pets foods are safe.

  2. Keep an eye out for changes in dog food regulation, because they make changes nearly as often as they do with human food regulation! If you are unsure about what your dog’s food really has to offer, it may be time for you to do some good research on it.

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