Feeding your dog is something you should take comfort in, not second guess. By understanding and knowing how to read pet food and treat labels, dog owners can be confident in the food there are feeding their dogs. The Guaranteed Analysis listed on pet foods can often be confusing, but understanding its measurements is helpful for dog owners who want to learn more about their pet’s food.
What is the guaranteed analysis?
The guaranteed analysis is nothing more than a chart detailing the amounts of crude elements in your dog’s food. Crude doesn’t mean the quality of the nutrient, but the way in which the nutrient is measured. Crude measurements are the content regardless of quality or digestibility.
The guarantee states that the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat and the maximum of crude fiber and water. Other nutrients are sometimes included. For example, if a pet food label makes a claim and mentions a specific nutrient, this must be included in the guaranteed analysis. Sometimes the minimum percentage levels of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and linoleic acid are included, but this is usually on a voluntary basis.
Using the guaranteed analysis to compare foods
When comparing different foods, especially between a dry dog food and a wet dog food, you must take into account the moisture levels. To compare two pet foods, first you must calculate the percentage of “dry matter” in each pet food by subtracting the percentage of moisture in the guaranteed analysis from 100 percent. Then, for each nutrient you wish to compare, divide the reported nutrient level by the product’s dry matter percentage.
The guaranteed analysis is not an ingredients list
The guarantee also doesn’t clue you into the digestibility of the mentioned nutrients. For example, the guaranteed analysis does not specify the types or quality of the protein sources, only the crude protein content. It’s up to you as your pet’s owner to look closely at the ingredient list to see what you’re feeding your dog.
Guarantees are stated “as fed,” which means the amounts present in the product as it is found in the can or bag. This chart shouldn’t be confused with the ingredient list. Reading the ingredients is the only way to know exactly what your dog is eating.