Pet food

Pet food is animal feed designed specifically for ingestion by pets. It is widely found in pet stores and supermarkets and is specific to the animal, such as dog or cat food. The majority of meat used for animals is a byproduct of the human food business and is not considered “human grade.”
The global pet food industry was valued at US$87.08 billion in 2019 and is expected to increase to US$113.2 billion by 2024. As of 2020, five large businesses dominate the pet food market: Mars, Inc., Nestle Purina Petcare, J. M. Smucker, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

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Pet food sales in the United States reached an all-time high of $28.23 billion in 2016. Mars is the industry leader in pet food, with an annual revenue of over $17 billion in pet-care products. Online pet food sales are expanding and contributing to this expansion. In 2015, online sales in the United States climbed by 15%. Between 2013 and 2018, the compound annual growth rate of pet food purchased online was more than 25% worldwide. As of 2015, the United States led the globe in pet food spending.

Impact and sustainability

Given that many pets (especially cats and dogs) are given carnivorous diets that consume an estimated fifth of the world’s meat and seafood, the influence of pet food production on climate change, other environmental issues, and land use becomes a problem.
According to a 2023 analysis, sufficient vegan diets, which are more sustainable, will not have a negative influence on the health of pet dogs and cats. There is additional research being done on insect-based pet food.
According to a life-cycle review of modern pet diets, wet feeds for cats and dogs have a greater impact than dry foods. It also implies that there are significant chances for improvement in “all phases of the pet food life cycle, including formulation, ingredient selection, manufacturing processes” and so on. on.
Dogs, like humans, are omnivores. According to Statista, there are over 470 million pet dogs and approximately 370 million pet cats as of 2018, and the pet population is expected to expand by 2022.
Edgard & Cooper is one of several startups seeking to lessen the environmental impact of pet food. Vegepet, for example, makes vegan pet food substitutes.

Fish food

Fish foods typically contain the macronutrients, trace elements, and vitamins required to maintain confined fish healthy. Approximately 80% of fishkeeping enthusiasts feed their fish only prepared diets, which are often available in flake, pellet, or tablet form. Pelleted variants, some of which sink quickly, are frequently employed for larger fish or bottom-feeding species like loaches or catfish. To artificially increase the color of ornamental fish, some fish feeds contain additives such as beta carotene or sex hormones.

Bird food

Bird foods are used in birdfeeders as well as to feed pet birds. It is often made up of a variety of seeds. Not all birds, however, consume seeds. Hummingbirds are drawn to nectar (sugar water).

Cat food

Cats are obligate carnivores, despite the fact that most commercial cat food contains both animal and plant material, as well as vitamins, minerals, and other elements. Cat food is designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of cats, including the amino acid taurine, as cats cannot thrive on taurine-deficient food. The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition has determined optimal taurine levels in cat food.

Dog food

What diet is best for dogs? Opinions disagree. Some argue that for thousands of years, dogs have thrived on leftovers and scraps from their human owners, and that commercial dog foods (which have only been available for the past century) contain poor-quality meats, additives, and other ingredients dogs should not consume, or that commercial dog food is not nutritionally sufficient for their dogs. Many commercial brands are developed with the help of scientific nutritional studies.

Raw feeding

Raw feeding is the practice of feeding uncooked meat, edible bones, and organs to domestic dogs, cats, and other animals. The substances utilized to create raw diets can differ. Some pet owners choose to feed their animals homemade raw diets, although commercial raw food diets are also available. Veterinary organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association, the British Veterinary Association, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association have issued warnings about the animal and public health risks of feeding raw meat to pets, and they have stated that there is no scientific evidence to support the claimed benefits of raw feeding.
Because of the possibility of food-borne infections and zoonosis, the practice of feeding raw meals has aroused some concerns. and dietary deficiencies. People who feed raw food to their dogs do so for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, culture, ideas about health and nutrition, and what is thought to be more natural for their pets. Owners may believe that feeding raw food allows their pets to reconnect with their carnivorous ancestors. The raw food movement has evolved in tandem with the shift in human dietary preferences toward more natural and organic items.

Feeding human foods to animals

Some prepared foods and some raw ingredients may be hazardous to animals, so use caution when feeding leftover food to animals. The following foods are known to be potentially

Hazardous to cats, dogs, and pigs:

Soft drinks, chocolate, and coffee-based items
Grapes and raisins
The macadamia nut
Garlic (in vast quantities) with onions
Cooked and marinated foods, as well as sauces and gravies, should be avoided in general because they may include substances that, while well tolerated by humans, are hazardous to animals. Xylitol, an alternative sweetener found in diabetic chewing gum and baked goods, is extremely hazardous to cats, dogs, and ferrets.

Labeling and regulation

United States

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulate all pet food in the United States and its affiliated territories. It is additionally regulated at the state level. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a non-governmental organization that creates rules and standards for feed laws and regulations. It is comprised of state Department of Agriculture officials, large feed manufacturers, and ingredient suppliers. Although government officials make up a sizable component of AAFCO, the organization has no regulatory jurisdiction and only serves as an advisory body, collaborating closely with the FDA to create standards for animal food. Individual states are responsible for regulating these criteria, according to AAFCO. The majority of states AAFCO’s guidelines have been followed.
AAFCO mandates that all pet food products marketed in the United States bear labels that include the following eight components:
The usage of ingredient names in the product name is addressed in these rules. The inclusion of components in the product name is determined by the percentage of that ingredient in the product and the use of specific descriptors. There are distinct rules for “Beef Dog Food”, “Beef Recipe Dog Food”, “Dog Food with Beef”, and “Beef Flavor Dog Food”.
Species for which the pet food is designed: This must be clearly stated in words on the main display panel, although it may also be included in the product name, such as “Beef Dog Food.”

such as “Salmon Treats for Cats” .
Quantity Statement: This is the net weight or net volume, and it must be expressed in the appropriate units and displayed on the bottom third of the main display panel.
Guaranteed Analysis: This provides a breakdown of the percentages of each nutrient in the food. A minimum percentage of crude protein and fat, as well as a maximum percentage of crude fiber and moisture, are always necessary. It is important to note that the term “crude” relates to the method of analysis rather than the nutrient’s quality.
Ingredient Statement: Ingredients must be mentioned in order of weight predominance, “as formulated.” The ingredient that accounts for the greatest percentage of the total weight of the product is listed first.

Statement of Nutritional Adequacy:

This is a declaration that the meal is complete and balanced for a specific life stage, such as growth, reproduction, adult maintenance, or a mix of these, or that it is only designed for intermittent or supplemental feeding. AAFCO establishes the nutritional levels that are required for such a statement.Products that are clearly labeled as a snack, treat, or supplement on the primary display panel are exempt.
Feeding Instructions: All pet foods marketed as complete and balanced for any or all life phases must have feeding instructions that indicate, at the very least, “Feed (amount of product) per (dog/cat’s) weight.” The feeding schedule must also be mentioned.
Treats do not require feeding instructions as long as they are labeled as snacks or treats.

Manufacturer or distributor’s name and address

This identifies the pet food firm as the product’s guarantor and provides the company’s address. If the corporation outsources actual production or distribution, the label must indicate this by using the phrases “Manufactured for” or “Distributed by.”
Dog and cat diets branded “complete and balanced” must meet AAFCO criteria by meeting a nutrient profile or passing a feeding experiment. The AAFCO’s Feline Nutrition Expert Subcommittee (1991-1992) and Canine Nutrition Expert Subcommittee (1990-1991) created cat and dog food nutrient profiles, respectively. In 2016, the nutritional profiles were revised.
The “Family Rule” allows a company to adopt a product that is “nutritionally similar” to another product in the same “family”.
the latter’s “complete and balanced” claim without subjecting itself to any feeding tests. The “similar” food must be of the same processing type as the lead food, have the same moisture content, bear a statement of nutritional adequacy for the same or less demanding life stage as the lead product, have a dry matter, metabolizable energy (ME) content within 7.5% of the lead product’s dry matter, meet the same levels of crude protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, lysine, thiamine (and for cat foods, potassium and taurine), and meet or If the ME is present, the label statement on the identical food can be the same as the lead product.The 10-day ME feeding research backs this up.
Critics of the AAFCO guidelines contend that they are too lax. According to generational studies conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, certain foods that pass AAFCO’s feeding experiments are nevertheless not suitable for long-term use, and that of 100 foods that pass the nutritional analysis, 10 to 20 would fail the feeding trials. Although maximum intake levels for several nutrients have been established due to concerns about overnutrition, many still lack a maximum permissible amount, and some have a substantial discrepancy between maximum and minimum values. The NRC acknowledges that, despite ongoing studies, substantial gaps in quantitative nutritional information for certain nutrients still persist. Some professionals recognize the potential of phytochemicals and other critical elements that nutritional science has yet to recognize. Critics contend that the term “complete and balanced” is imprecise and even deceptive because of such broad limits and sloppy feeding trial procedures. According to an AAFCO panel specialist, “Although the AAFCO profiles are better than nothing, they provide false securities.”
Premium, ultra-premium, and holistic are phrases used by some firms to describe their products. There are presently no recognized definitions for such phrases. The AAFCO is now debating whether to define some of the phrases. However, the phrases “natural” and “organic” have definitions; for example, organic goods must adhere to the same USDA guidelines as organic human food.


Products in Canada that pass the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Pet Food Certification Program, which includes a feeding trial, are labeled with the CVMA logo. The program is entirely voluntary. The initiative came to an end at the end of 2007. There is no government oversight of pet food produced in Canada. Imported pet food, on the other hand, is subject to strict regulation.

European Union

pet food express
pet food express

Pet food is governed in the European Union under the Feeding Stuffs Act, which has standardized requirements across the EU.
According to EU regulations, all substances used in pet food must be safe for human consumption. However, rules demand that pet food containing by-products be labeled “Not for human consumption,” despite the fact that such by-products must be sourced from animals designated fit for human consumption. “Pet food only” must be labeled on raw pet food.
Daily feeding products are labeled “complete feedingstuff” or “complete pet food” or the equivalent in other EU languages. ones intended for intermittent feeding are labeled “complementary feedingstuff” or “complementary pet food,” whereas ones with more than 40% ash are labeled “mineral feedingstuff.” The ingredients are given below. in descending order by weight.
The European Union has established new limit amounts of melamine in canned pet food with the introduction of Commission Regulation (EU) No 107/2013. Melamine used in coatings for pet food cans can migrate into the food, according to the findings of an in-depth investigation of the 2007 pet food disaster. As a result, the standard melamine migration limit (SML) for food and feed of 2.5 mg/kg has been extended to pet food. This limit applies to canned wet pet food sold on an ‘as sold’ basis.
There is no common nutritional requirement in the European Union. FEDIAF (European Pet Food Industry Federation) is a manufacturer committee that develops recommendations for cats and dogs that members follow.


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