Does the FDA Approve Dog Food?

Does the FDA Approve Dog Food? | Does the FDA Approve Dog Food?Whether you have developed your own dog food or you just want to ensure that the dog food you are buying for your pet is regulated, you may want to know what rules surround marketing a dog food. So keep reading to find out whether the FDA approves dog food.

Pet food regulations

It is helpful to be aware of both federal and state rules and regulations when it comes to making and selling pet and dog food. This information applies to the sale of dog treats, gravies, kibble, and other dog food items apply. Whether the food is made as part of a small or larger commercial-scale operation, the same rules apply. 

The FDA dog food regulations work in a similar way to regulations surrounding other animal food. There is no need for pet foods to have pre-approval from the FDA before it is sold. However, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) states that pet food, like human food, should be safe, manufactured in a sanitary environment, contain no harmful ingredients, and be honestly labeled. 

AAFCO regulations

The best place to look for information regarding the marketing and sale of pet food is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. In order to ensure consistent labeling across the United States, the AAFCO has set out a “Model Regulations for Pet Food and Speciality Pet Food” which is contained in their official publication. 

Dog food labels

As noted above, the regulations for labeling dog and pet foods, treats, and other items are set out in the AAFCO’s official publication. There are eleven model regulations regarding pet food and some will also apply to pet foods manufactured in a home environment. 

According to these regulations, pet foods are expected to have an appropriate product name; list the pet species that the food is intended for; a statement of the amount of food in the product container; an honest and guaranteed analysis of the product; a clear list of all of the ingredients in the food product; a statement on the food’s nutritional values if it is required; feeding directions if they are required; and the name and address of the product’s manufacturer or distributor. 

Product name 

According to the regulations the product name should clearly state what the product is. The name should not represent the product to be something that it is not. 

Intended species

Often the intended species of the product is included in the product name, which usually states “for dogs” or “for cats” so that it is clear. it is suggested that the name of the species be clearly presented on the label in words rather than in pictures which can be unclear. 


The product’s packaging should also clearly show the quantity statement, stating the net weight or contents of the product. This must be clearly shown on the bottom third of the display panel, as this is usually clearly visible on the shelf. The contents are usually stated in terms of the fluid measure for liquid or weight for dry food products. 

Guaranteed analysis

The regulations also state that the label should have a “Guaranteed Analysis” section. For most food products, a guarantee should be offered for the minimum quantity of crude protein, fat, and fiber as well as the maximum percentage of water or moisture. Some other nutrient guarantees may be necessary if the product is promoted as being a high source of a particular nutrient. 

To sum up

Whether you are looking to promote your own dog food product, or you want to make sure that the food you are feeding your pet is properly regulated, it is helpful to be aware of the FDA and the AAFCO’s regulation of pet food products. 

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