How to Read the Nutritional Analysis of Pet Food?

How to Read the Nutritional Analysis of Pet Food?

Reading the nutrition analysis on a dog kibble label is essential to ensure your dog gets the appropriate nutrients for their health. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you understand and interpret the information:

1. Look at the Ingredients List:

The ingredients list is typically located on the side or bottom of the packaging. It lists all the ingredients in the kibble in descending order by weight. High-quality dog food should have meat or protein sources listed as the first few ingredients, like "chicken," "beef," or "salmon." Avoid products with generic terms like "meat meal" or "animal by-products" as primary ingredients, as these are less specific and may contain lower-quality protein sources. You are off to a good start if the first 5 ingredients listed are whole protein/vegetables.

2. Check the Guaranteed Analysis:

The guaranteed analysis provides information about the nutrient content in the kibble. It's usually presented in this format:

  • Crude Protein: This indicates the percentage of protein in the food. Look for a protein content appropriate for your dog's age and activity level. Dogs generally require a higher percentage of protein than many other animals.
  • Crude Fat: This shows the percentage of fat in the food. Fat is a crucial energy source for dogs. Active dogs may require a higher fat content, while overweight and senior dogs may need less.
  • Crude Fibre: Fibre helps with digestion. It's important but should not be excessive. Too much fibre can lead to loose stools.
  • Moisture: This indicates the percentage of water in the food. Dry kibble typically has a low moisture content (around 10%), while wet dog food has a much higher moisture content (around 70%). Make sure to compare moisture content if you're deciding between wet and dry food.

3. Check for Additional Nutrients:

Besides the guaranteed analysis, the label may provide information on other essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. These are usually listed as percentages or in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg) per kilogram (kg). Common nutrients to look for include calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Ensure that the food meets your dog's specific nutritional requirements.

4. Check Feeding Guidelines:

The label often includes feeding guidelines based on your dog's weight or size. These guidelines can help you determine how much to feed your dog each day. Keep in mind that these are just general recommendations, and you may need to adjust the portion size based on your dog's activity level, age, and overall health.

5. Check for Special Dietary Considerations:

If your dog has specific dietary needs or allergies, carefully read the label for any potential allergens or ingredients your dog should avoid.

6. Look for AAFCO/FEDIAF Statements:

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) / European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) sets standards for pet food. Look for a statement indicating that the food is complete and balanced according to AAFCO / FEDIAF guidelines. This means the food should meet your dog's essential nutritional needs.

7. Consider Your Dog's Individual Needs:

Keep in mind that every dog is unique, so it's important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best food for your dog's specific needs. They can provide guidance on selecting the right dog food, portion sizes, and any dietary restrictions or supplements your dog may require. 


Understanding and evaluating the nutrition analysis on a dog kibble label can help you make informed choices to support your dog's health and well-being.

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