Pet owners warned: “Not all pet food is treated equally”

"There are no rules when it comes to pet food - brands can put anything they want in the food"
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There’s no doubt about it that Australia is a pet-loving nation, with more pets registered across the country than our nation’s total population – crazy right? 

Within the last year alone, Aussie pet owners have spent roughly $33 billion on their animal companions, with half of that cost going directly to food.

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And whilst the proof is in the pudding that as a nation we care deeply about the health and wellbeing of our pets, a new report from the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA) has shed light on an issue many are unfamiliar with. 

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Unfortunately in Australia, there are currently no rules when it comes to the regulation of pet food. This means that pet food brands can put anything they want into their products. 

A treat or two every now and again is alright, but not advised (Credit: Getty)

Executive Manager of PFIAA, Carolyn Macgill told New Idea that the pet food industry had long been advocating for an independent oversight to hold the sector accountable and enhance the safety of its products. 

“This isn’t about wrapping our industry in red tape; it’s about clearly defining the standards by which we all make and market pet food, aligned with the beliefs of pet owners.”

Currently, PFIAA is calling on both the state and federal government to mandate the Australian Standard for pet food with third-party audits for all manufacturers, with an independent regulator to also be put in place to enforce recalls where safety issues exist.

Many pet owners would be surprised to know that the industry isn’t regulated (Credit: Getty)

Veterinarian Ania McInerney said that without this regulation, pet owners needed to remain mindful and stay vigilant when purchasing food for their animals.

“People are not aware that in Australia there is very little regulation around pet food. Anyone can go on Instagram and just start selling it.”

For those who are feeling unsure, the emergency vet suggested pet owners check if the brand of pet food they wanted to purchase had the tick of approval from PFIAA. 

“Ideally the brand of pet food that you buy is a member of PFIAA and have signed up for the voluntary standard.” 

“[But] if you are in doubt, and you want to get some individual advice…ask your vet, and there’s [also] generally help available at your local pet store.”

Home cooking your pet food is not recommended by vet Ania (Credit: Getty)

She also recommended that pet parents use mostly commercial food to ensure their animal companions are as healthy as possible. 

“It’s really tricky when you are homecooking to get the right balance of micronutrients, its pretty easy to manage proteins, fats and carbs but things like how much cobalt is in the veggies you are cooking – who knows?,” Ania told us. 

For those still left with burning questions about which pet food is best for you pet, Carolyn has a range of suggestions to get you started on the right path. 

“It can be incredibly overwhelming and confusing for pet owners to know where to go for credible information on pet food. In the first instance, pet owners should always seek their veterinarian’s recommendation on the best and safest food for their pet’s individual needs.”

Look out for the PFIAA tick of approval on your next pet food purchase! (Credit: PFIAA)

Members of the PFIAA manufacture pet food that is designed to be both safe and nutritious and meet the highest standards of quality in Australia. For more information on pet food standards, members, and more, head to

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