How to Read Pet Food Labels

Jan 24 , 2020

How to Read Pet Food Labels

How do you know what food is best for your dog when you’re standing in the dog food aisle surrounded by choices? You read the food label! But… how? How do you read dog food labels? What foods are best for your dog? What nutrients should they eat? We’re here to help you. We’ll go through the dog food label meaning and a quick dog food analysis.


8 Main Parts of the Dog Food Label:

  • Product and brand name:

    There are a couple of important rules when it comes to the product name. Here are some examples of the rules:

        1. 95% Rule: “Chicken for Dogs” must contain at least 95% chicken.

        2. 25% Rule: “Chicken Dinner” or “Chicken Entree” contains at least 25% chicken, but less than 95%.

        3. “With” Rule: “Dog Dinner With Chicken” contains at least 3% of chicken.

        4. Flavor Rule: “Chicken Flavor Dog Food” does not need a specified amount of chicken, just enough to be detected. 

  • Quantity in terms of product weight, liquid measure, or count:

    The quantity of food will help you determine the price of the food. When you are shopping on a budget,check the cost per-ounce or the cost-per pound to find the choice that best fits in your budget

  • Guaranteed analysis:

    There are numerous regulations covering the minimum amount of nutrients allowed in dog food that work alongside requirements related to the maximum amount of moisture and crude fiber. 

  • Ingredients:

    The most difficult part of the label is learning how to read dog food ingredient list. Ingredients of the food must be listed in descending order by weight. It’s important to note that byproduct ingredients are good for animals. For example, the liver is rich in vitamins; other byproducts include bone, stomach, intestines, and blood, all of which are good for and enjoyed by dogs.  Make sure the first ingredients listed are quality proteins.

  • Nutritional adequacy statement:

    The second hardest part is learning how to read dog food nutrition labels. The food has to meet the necessary nutrition levels for the age it claims to feed. For example, puppy kibble must have the necessary nutrients puppies need to be healthy. 

  • Feeding directions:

    Labels tell you how much of their food to give your dog. Keep in mind that these are guidelines, not regulations. The amount you feed your dog is determined by their breed, environment, exercise, and other factors. Speak to your vet for specific feeding amounts and directions. 

  • Manufacturer’s name and address Calorie statement:
  • Pay close attention to the calories in your pet’s food, especially if the food claims it’s lower calorie. If the food says it’s lite, low-calorie,