Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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AAFCO – Your First Defense in Choosing Pet Foods

AAFCO is an abbreviation for Association of American Feed Control Officials.

The AAFCO label must be on any food that is imported or exported in of Canada. It is your first line determining if a pet food is right for your dog or cat. It has two significant pieces of information that you can use to rule out certain diets. First, it will tell you if the food has been subjected to feeding trials, or if it was formulated. In most cases, people do not like the idea of animal testing, but in this case, we do. The food is fed to a group of 8 pets for 10 to 26 weeks depending on their life stage. Then the animals undergo specific diagnostic testing to prove whether they thrived on the diet in question. If there were no feeding trials done, then the AAFCO label would say that the food was formulated. It is this writer’s opinion that a formulated diet makes your pet the test subject. It also prevents the company from getting any feedback or follow-up as to how well a pet would do consuming it as a primary food source.

The second bit of information you can attain from that label is if the pet food is for a puppy/kitten or an adult pet. We are told that they are working on a denotation for Seniors as well, but that has yet to happen. If the food is labelled as an adult diet, you may find in the AAFCO label that it is for a juvenile. This causes many issues with your pet as the nutrient and calorie requirements are very different between a puppy versus an adult dog, and the same goes for cats. It is NOT illegal for a manufacturer to take a kitten diet, repackage it, and label it as an adult food as long as the AAFCO label states their findings.

All Life Stages Diets – If you look at the AAFCO label for an all life stage diet you will find that it is a puppy/kitten food. This type of diet must reach the minimum requirements for all stages of life, and a growing animal has the highest requirements, therefore “all life stages” is essentially a puppy/kitten food.

So what if your pet food is not exported – what are the regulations?
Members of the Pet Food Association of Canada (PFAC) also manufacture to the nutritional standards set out by AAFCO. Unfortunately, this is voluntary and not mandatory. If you cannot find a PFAC of AAFCO label on the bag, it may be a gamble you are not willing to take when it comes to your pet’s nutrition.

AAFCO nutritional claim for purina one smart blend true instinct with real chicken and sweet potato

AAFCO nutritional claim for purina one smart blend chicken and rice formula

AAFCO nutritional claim for fancy feast creamy delights chicken feast in a creamy sauce

Unfortunately, the Guaranteed analysis only includes minimum and maximum numbers for certain things, and the percentages can vary depending on how much water is in the food. This stops you from directly comparing bags.

The ingredients list is not always easy to interpret as the more the weight, the higher on the list the food goes. If you are thinking of chicken, keep in mind bones are heavy. Companies can also break things like rice down to different types (brown rice, white rice) to make them weigh less.

Food companies are very clever and spend large amounts of money annually on marketing.

Written By: Darlene Cannon, RVT

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What you need to know about kitten vaccinations

Kittens will get vaccinations at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, then annually. Overview A vaccine is a substance created to incite an immune response for a particular disease.  It needs to be given multiple times to a kitten to initiate his immune system. 

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Last updated: June 26, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Hillcrest Animal Hospital