The American Association of Feed Control Officials does not publish a list of approved dog foods. This organization creates animal food ingredient and labeling guidelines and advises government regulatory agencies with regard to implementing them.
The AAFCO issues two kinds of guidelines: pet food nutrition and label formatting. The nutrition guidelines describe the type and quantity of ingredients a product should contain in order to be labeled as "complete and balanced" pet food. The formatting guidelines help manufacturers reveal the nutritional content of their pet food products accurately and clearly.
The AAFCO publishes two sets of nutritional guidelines for dog food. The growth and reproduction guidelines cover nutrition for puppies and lactating mothers, and the adult maintenance guidelines address all other dog food formulas.
The AAFCO develops its pet food content guidelines in cooperation with veterinary nutrition experts from the United States Food and Drug Administration. It also collaborates with local agencies that enforce legal standards in the pet food industry. Most commercial dog food meets or exceeds AAFCO nutritional recommendations.
Dog food manufacturers who wish to advertise their products' compliance with AAFCO guidelines must submit samples for laboratory analysis. Laboratory verification entitles manufacturers to label products as compliant with the AAFCO guidelines. Some manufacturers also conduct live feeding trials.