June 01, 2008


 Board approves policy changes on pet food, dog shows

Posted May 15, 2008

The Executive Board has approved policy changes relevant to companion animals in the areas of pet food and dog shows.

The board approved a policy on "Pet food health claims" to replace the policy on "Pet food therapeutic claims." The Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents suggested the new policy, in part, to add a recommendation that the Food and Drug Administration require pet foods with health claims to include a statement indicating that the FDA has not evaluated the claims.

The AVMA policy states the following:


The AVMA recognizes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses enforcement discretion in the oversight of certain pet food claims. Even though many of these foods could legally be considered drugs, certain claims are not FDA approved; consequently, efficacy for these products cannot be assured. Therefore: 
  • The AVMA encourages the pet food industry to act responsibly by only making health or therapeutic claims that are supported by quality scientific evidence.
  • Veterinarians should assess relevant product information through principles of evidence-based medicine prior to using or recommending wellness or therapeutic pet foods.
  • In the interest of pet safety, AVMA recommends the FDA require all pet food products with implied or explicit health or drug claims include a prominent statement on the label indicating that these claims have not been evaluated by the FDA.

The board approved revisions to the AVMA policy "American Kennel Club," regarding the health requirements for dog shows, in accordance with a five-year review. The AKC has invited the AVMA to review the AKC's exhibition rules periodically from a veterinary perspective.

The AVMA Council on Veterinary Service recommended the revisions to emphasize diligence in preventing disease transmission and to clarify wording.