All Commercial Dog Foods are the same according to the ACVN



Grocery store brand dog foods have been getting it right for decades according to Dr Lisa P. Weeth.

In an interview on The Pet Radio Show  Dr. Lisa P. Weeth, DVM, DACVN told the audience that every commercial dog food meets the nutritional requirements set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), therefore they are all the same with none having a nutritional advantage over the other.

Dr. Weeth went on to say that corn and grains are easily digested by canines, pose no health risk and are a good source of protein. She sees no reason for a preference of foods containing animal protein over plant protein. She also contended that commercial dog foods cannot be evaluated, rated according to their ingredients.  “If any of the ingredients were bad they would not be in the dog food in the first place,” she said. According to her most dogs will not have any physical problems associated with any commercial dog food, and suggests that if your dog shows no abnormal physical symptoms such as soft stool there is no reason to switch brands of dog food regardless of the brand being used.

Many general practice and holistic veterinarians strongly disagree and point to corn and grains as an unnatural protein source with links to food allergies and cancer. Grains listed as the first ingredient in dog foods are considered plant protein based foods found in low grade commercial brands.

Dr. Weeth also scoffed at the suggestion that the grade of meat proteins used should be considered such as rendered meat by products that includes animal parts not suited for human consumption, slaughterhouse garbage, and euthanized animals. Following Dr. Weeth on the same program was Dr. Karen Becker. While Dr. Becker was explaining why she believes there is a link between processed grains and cancer in canines, Dr. Weeth called back to the show uninvited to debate Dr. Becker’s position.

Dr. Weeth was referred to the Pet Radio Show by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition when they were asked to provide a guest to appear on the show. She provides clinical nutrition for Red Bank Veterinary Hospital.  Dr Weeth’s positions illustrate the growing divide between the veterinary nutrition establishment and those with the label of “holistic” medicine.

Dr Lisa Weeth
Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionist
Red Bank Veterinary Hospital
Keystone Veterinary Conference
Board Memberships and Affiliations
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
University of California , Davis
Clinical Nutrition
University of California , Davis
American College of Veterinary Nutrition

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The following is from Drs Foster and Smith

The levels of nutrients in the table below are expressed on a ‘dry matter’ (DM) basis. On most pet food labels, the levels listed in the guaranteed analysis are expressed on an ‘as fed’ basis. To convert ‘as fed’ to ‘dry matter’ a simple conversion is necessary. If a dry food has 10% moisture we know that it has 90% dry matter. So we look at the label and check the protein level. That reads 20%. Next, we divide the 20 percent protein by the 90% dry matter and we get 22%, which is the amount of protein on a dry matter basis. Does this make sense so far? Good. Now let us compare this to canned food that has 80% moisture. We know that with 80% moisture we have 20% dry matter. The label shows 5% protein. So we take the 5% and divide it by 20% and we get 25% protein on a dry matter basis. So the canned food has more protein per pound on a dry matter basis after all the water is taken out. We can do the same for fat, fiber, etc.

AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles Published in 2008a

Nutrient Units
DM Basis
Growth and Reproduction
Adult Maintenance
Protein % 22.0 18.0
Arginine % 0.62 0.51
Histidine % 0.22 0.18
Isoleucine % 0.45 0.37
Leucine % 0.72 0.59
Lysine % 0.77 0.63
Methionine-cystine % 0.53 0.43
Phenylalanine-tyrosine % 0.89 0.73
Threonine % 0.58 0.48
Tryptophan % 0.20 0.16
Valine % 0.48 0.39


% 8.0 5.0
Linoleic acid % 1.0 1.0
Calcium % 1.0 0.6 2.5
Phosphorous % 0.8 0.5 1.6
Ca:P ratio % 1:1 1:1 2:1
Potassium % 0.6 0.6
Sodium % 0.3 0.06
Chloride (Cl) % 0.45 0.09
Magnesium % 0.04 0.04 0.3
Ironc mg/kg 80.0 80.0 3,000.0
Copperd mg/kg 7.3 7.3 250.0
Manganese mg/kg 5.0 5.0
Zinc mg/kg 120.0 120.0 1,000.0
Iodine mg/kg 1.5 1.5 50.0
Selenium mg/kg 0.11 0.11 2.0
Vitamin A IU/kg 5,000.0 5,000.0 250,000.0
Vitamin D IU/kg 500.0 500.0 5,000.0
Vitamin E IU/kg 50.0 50.0 1,000.0
Vitamin B1 (thiamin)e mg/kg 1.0 1.0
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) mg/kg 2.2 2.2
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) mg/kg 10.0 10.0
Vitamin B3 (niacin) mg/kg 11.4 11.4
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) mg/kg 1.0 1.0
Folic Acid mg/kg 0.18 0.18
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) mg/kg 0.022 0.022
Choline mg/kg 1200.0 1200.0
a Presumes an energy density of 3.5 kcal ME/g DM (metabolizable energy/gram dry matter), as determined in accordance with Regulation PF9, which is based on the ‘modified Atwater’ values of 3.5, 8.5, and 3.5 kcal/g for protein, fat, andcarbohydrate (nitrogen-free extract, NFE), respectively.Rations greater than 4.0 kcal/g should be corrected for energy density; rations less than 3.5 kcal/g should not be corrected for energy.Rations of low-energy density should not be considered adequate for growth or reproductive needs based on comparison to the Profiles alone.
b Although a true requirement for fat per se has not been established, the minimum level was based on recognition of fat as a source of essential fatty acids, as a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins, to enhance palatability, and to supply an adequate caloric density.
c Because of very poor bioavailability, iron from carbonate or oxide sources that are added to the diet should not be considered as components in meeting the minimum nutrient level.
d Because of very poor bioavailability, copper from oxide sources that are added to the diet should not be considered as components in meeting the minimum nutrient level.
e Because processing may destroy up to 90 percent of the thiamin in the diet, allowance in formulation should be made to ensure the minimum nutrient level is met after processing.


  • CA DVM

    Isn’t Dr. Weeth your colleague and an invited guest on the show? This post sounds a little vindictive and aggressive because she didn’t say what you wanted her to say. Very unprofessional.

    Please stop promoting lies like “euthanized pets are in pet food” unless you have evidence to provide to support this. Its irresponsible to say the least. We really need to start distinguishing opinion from scientific fact, and stop demonizing both sides. And since when is having differing opinions discouraged in veterinary medicine?

    • admin

      She was a guest on the show yes. I only quoted what she said on the show.

      As far as the “euthanized pets are in pet food”, This is from the web site PetMD and written by Dr. Patty Khuly, a veterinarian:

      “And here, included in a 2004 report to Congress on the rendering industry, is how it happens at the level of the independent rendering plant:
      These plants (estimated by NRA at 165 in the United States and Canada) usually collect material from other sites using specially designed trucks. They pick up and process fat and bone trimmings, inedible meat scraps, blood, feathers, and dead animals from meat and poultry slaughterhouses and processors (usually smaller ones without their own rendering operations), farms, ranches, feedlots, animal shelters, restaurants, butchers, and markets. As a result, the majority of independents are likely to be handling “mixed species.” Almost all of the resulting ingredients are destined for nonhuman consumption (e.g., animal feeds, industrial products). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates animal feed ingredients, but its continuous presence in rendering plants, or in feed mills that buy rendered ingredients, is not a legal requirement.”

      Here’s what the report concluded:
      The scientists purchased dog food as part of two surveys, one in 1998 and the second in 2000. They found some samples contained pentobarbital…

      Because pentobarbital is used to euthanize dogs and cats at animal shelters, finding pentobarbital in rendered feed ingredients could suggest that the pets were rendered and used in pet food.

      That is a report to CONGRESS. Draw your own conclusions.