Feed is divided into different types according to its composition and associated properties. The definitions are given by the legislator and can be found, among others, in the European Feed Regulation (EU-VO 767/2009).

Straight feeds consist of a single ingredient. This includes all raw materials used for feed, for example fresh meat or meat meal, as well as some commercial feeds such as pure meat cans, single-origin cereal flakes or certain chews (buffalo skin bones, cattle ears, etc.). The nutrient composition corresponds to the feed originally used, taking into account nutrient losses due to the manufacturing process (e.g. drying in the case of chewed products or sterilisation in the case of canned feed).

Complete feeds serve the purpose of covering the sole daily nutrient requirement of the animal. The composition must therefore be such that no nutrient deficiencies occur when fed alone/exclusively. Supplementation with additional preparations, especially products containing vitamins and minerals (mineral feed) is not necessary.

A special form of complete feeds are "dietetic feeds", which serve a "special nutritional purpose". These are also defined by law (Directive 2008/38/EC). Simplified, these are feeds for sick animals, which - depending on the disease - must have special properties with regard to composition and nutrient content (nutritional-physiological properties). For example, a dietary feed to support kidney function in chronic renal failure must contain high-quality protein and have lower phosphorus and protein contents.

Like complete feeds,supplementary feeds consist of several ingredients, but in contrast to these, they have to be combined with other feeds to ensure a sufficient supply of all important nutrients. This includes, for example, various food supplements (joint preparations, herbal mixtures, etc.) but also basic feeds such as dog flakes or meat and offal mixtures. By definition, treats made of several ingredients (dog biscuits) also fall under this category.

This includes, for example, various food supplements (joint preparations, herbal mixtures, etc.) but also basic foodstuffs such as vegetable flakes or meat and offal mixtures. By definition, treats made of several ingredients (chew sticks) also fall under this category.

Supplementary feeds also include all "mineral feeds" which will serve to supply vitamins and minerals and have a crude ash content of at least 40%.

Legal definitions according to Art. 3 §2 767/2009:

  • "feed materials' means products of plant or animal origin used primarily to satisfy the nutritional requirements of animals, in their natural state, fresh or preserved, and products derived from the industrial processing thereof, and organic or inorganic substances, whether or not containing feed additives, which are intended for oral animal feeding, either directly as such or in processed form, for the manufacture of compound feedingstuffs or as carriers of premixtures;
  • "complete feedingstuff" compound feedingstuff which, because of its composition, is sufficient for a daily ration.
  • "Complementary feed" Compound feed which has a high content of certain substances but which, because of its composition, is only sufficient for the daily ration together with other feed.
  • "Mineral feed' means complementary feed containing at least 40 % crude ash.