Poppy’s Picnic raw dog food products are complete and balanced according to the FEDIAF standards and guidelines so pet parents can feed the most nutritious meals to their four-legged friends with assurance and confidence.
What is FEDIAF?
FEDIAF is an organisation that represents the European Pet Food Industry. They are involved in many areas of pet food, but they also are responsible for producing and updating the FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines.
What are FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines?
We all know that it’s vital that our dogs and cats get the right balance of nutrients from their food. Most people also know that nutrient deficiencies (or excesses) affect things like skin and coat, bone growth and the risk of developing cancer. But… where do we even start when formulating a new recipe?
One important reference that helps us decide how much of each nutrient is needed is the FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines. These guidelines are a set of recommended nutrients levels for pet foods based on scientific review of vast numbers of nutrition studies. They give the minimum levels that are needed to stop deficiencies developing, and the high level at which signs of toxicity might start to occur.
By analysing the laboratory-tested nutrient ‘profiles’ (essentially a nutrient map) of the wholefood ingredients in the recipe, we can check how our recipes measure up against them and fine-tune them accordingly.
In short, the FEDIAF guidelines are a superb tool that helps us to ensure a product is Complete and Balanced with just the right nutrient levels to support growth, optimal health and vitality.
But FEDIAF Guidelines are made for kibble… aren’t they…?
I often hear on social media that FEDIAF guidelines are not useful for wholefoods because they are “all based on dry foods and supplements”. This is not true. The FEDIAF guidelines were first created to regulate the processed pet food industry, but the guidelines themselves do not distinguish between food types. They are concerned with individual nutrients not foods groups and the underlying studies include all kinds of studies including some that involve kibble and others based on tins or wholefood ingredients. This means these guidelines can be applied to any kind of pet food.
It IS fair to say that FEDIAF guidelines should never be just a box-ticking exercise. The numbers contained in the table need to be used in conjunction with background nutritional knowledge to get the best out of them. The origin of each guideline IS important (and we might well adjust our nutrient values in a recipe if a particular nutrient level recommendation originates from a study that uses very different ingredients to the ones that we are using) but you see, this is where our nutritional expertise comes in.
Experienced nutritionists use their extensive underpinning knowledge of ‘companion animal nutrition’ (that’s pet food to you and me) to combine the information in the FEDIAF guidelines with a detailed understanding of ingredients and animal physiology to decide when we are happy with the existing guideline, and when we might want to adjust it. This approach allows us to have the absolute best of both worlds.
Do we NEED to use FEDIAF guidelines in Raw Foods at all?
In my opinion – YES - we absolutely do.
It’s not uncommon that I hear that “FEDIAF guidelines are irrelevant in raw food”– I wholeheartedly disagree! Not only are they the most informed reference point we have, in the absence of any more specific guidelines for raw it’s an excellent reference place to start.
The FEDIAF guidelines are based on a scientific review of thousands of studies over more than 5 decades by hundreds of research groups and the information they provide is invaluable. In my opinion to disregard them ALL in one sweeping statement is a waste of an enormous body of excellent information.
For me, the best possible way to formulate for our pets will always be to use everything in our armoury! This means using the scientifically based FEDIAF Guidelines and combining them with ongoing experience and expertise to produce a healthy bowl of fresh food that is the perfect balance of science and nature!
Dr Charlotte Gray MA VetMB (cantab) MRCVS