A comparison of certified and noncertified pet foods

R G Brown
Canadian Veterinary Journal. la Revue Vétérinaire Canadienne 1997, 38 (11): 707-12
The market presents the buyer with a wide array of pet food choices. Marketing pet foods has changed in the last decade and today foods may be bought at a variety of outlets. The present study compares nutrient composition, digestibility, and effect on urine pH (cat foods only) of selected certified and noncertified pet foods from different outlets. The selected foods were considered analogous in terms of declared ingredients and macronutrient profiles. The analytical methods used were those of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists as described in the Pet Food Certification Protocol of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. The test foods were sampled 4 times from August 1994 to July 1995. Both certified and noncertified products met the nutritional requirements on a consistent basis, although 1 of the noncertified dog foods consistently failed to meet the zinc requirements. This same product also failed to meet the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's standards for concentrations of protein, calcium, and phosphorus. One of the noncertified cat foods failed to meet the recommended calcium level. With the exception of fat digestion in 1 noncertified food, there were no statistically significant differences in major nutrient digestibility between certified and noncertified pet foods. There were some statistically significant differences in digestibility within both the certified and noncertified groups of foods. The practical significance of any of the statistical differences in digestibility is uncertain. Urine pH observed in cats fed noncertified test diets was variable, with some values greater than 7.0 as a maximum or 6.5 as an average. The general conclusion of this study was that the commonly available certified products were the nutritional equal of those foods that position themselves as "premium."

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