What Are AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles?


You may have seen AAFCO, or the Association of American Feed Control Officials, on your dog’s food label and wondered exactly what it was — and what it does.

Does AAFCO approve dog food?

No, AAFCO has no power to regulate, rate, or approve dog foods. It’s not a government agency like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so AAFCO does not have any regulatory authority. Instead, AAFCO has established a series of nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods. Many states use the AAFCO guidelines to establish their own laws and regulations.

There is no such thing as an AAFCO-approved dog food. Instead, a dog food can be formulated to meet the standards of the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles.

What are the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles?

In order for a dog food to be considered complete and balanced, it must meet the standards for one of three AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles: adult maintenance and growth and reproduction.

  • Adult maintenance: If a dog food is formulated for adult maintenance, it means that food has all the nutrients that an adult dog needs.
  • Growth and reproduction: If a dog food is formulated for growth and reproduction, it means that food has all the nutrients that a growing puppy or a pregnant or lactating dog needs.
  • All life stages: If a dog food is formulated for all life stages, it means that food fulfills the nutritional requirements for both adult maintenance and growth and reproduction.

Want to learn more about what Purina does to go above and beyond AAFCO standards? Click here to read more about the steps we take to monitor the quality and safety of your dog’s food.

Print Icon
Email Icon
Related Articles
Puppies require nutritionally complete and balanced, regular meals in order for your puppy to grow and develop. Let’s take a look at puppy nutrition together: what to feed, when to feed and when to switch to an adult food.
Lamb provides great nutrition and taste, let’s look at lamb as a dog food ingredient to see if it’s right for your dog’s nutrition.
Knowing how much to feed your puppy can be challenging. Let’s walk through the main determining variables like age, breed size, activity level, and current weight that determine how many calories your puppy needs.