Alpo dog food has been produced since 1936 and is available in dry and moist versions. Like most commercially prepared dog foods, it is formulated to meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) dog food nutrient profile. AAFCO does not have any regulatory authority, it is a voluntary association which aims to protect consumers and animals through food standards and definitions.
The first two ingredients listed in Alpo's Come 'N Get It dry food are ground yellow corn and corn germ meal. In Alpo's somewhat more expensive Prime Cuts dry dog food, the first ingredient is ground yellow corn followed by meat and bone meal. Corn is inexpensive and not inherently harmful to dogs; it is common to find it in bagged dog foods because it makes the food more affordable for consumers and adds dry bulk to the food. The carbohydrates in corn provide energy for dogs.
Animal digest is found in the dry and moist versions of Alpo's dog foods. According to AAFCO, animal digest is any kind of meat or animal tissue that is exposed to water, and possibly other chemicals, and allowed to react. It is a processed version of clean animal material and cannot include hair, horns, hooves or animal teeth. This ingredient provides some protein, but it is mostly a flavoring agent.
Meat byproducts are any part of an animal that do not include the meat cuts typically sold for human consumption. This material must be clean and cannot include hair, teeth, horns, or hooves. AAFCO states that, "It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents." These ingredients provide protein, fat, many nutrients and flavoring.
Added Vitamins and Minerals
A large number of the ingredients listed on Alpo labels are vitamins and minerals that are added to the food to improve its nutritional profile. For instance, the ferrous sulfate added to Alpo's dog foods provides additional iron which is important for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Choline chloride is also a nutrient added to Alpo dog foods and it is important for building and maintaining cell membranes.
Dogs need fat in their diet, not only for a shiny coat but also for brain health. These ingredients also make food more appetizing to dogs. Alpo's moist dog foods do not have added fats, but the meat and meat byproducts add enough fat to meet the nutritional standards established by AAFCO. The dry dog foods produced by Alpo do have added beef tallow, which brings their fat content to 9 percent.