Reading dog food labels will help you decide which is the better food for your dog since it provides you with important information on the nutritional contents and values of the food. It can be a little tricky so we’re here to help you decipher that label.

Dog food labels follow strict guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture. There are 2 sections in which the labels are divided into: Product name or display and Food Information.

Product Display

This section is where the brand name is and will also show you what specific meat or formulation is contained in the food. This section will also show what age group it markets to like growing dogs, for maintenance, or adult dogs. Other information like weight, shown in grams mostly, and ounces are in this section. And most importantly, it will indicate whether the food is for a dog. Although most cans will have a picture of a dog, it is wise to read this part of the label just to be sure.

If the product says something like ”Beef Made for Dogs”, 95% of it must be really made from the beef that it says and this is excluding the moisture content. With the moisture factored in, it should have at least 70% of the beef. If it’s a combination of more than one type of meat like beef and chicken, the total of the two should make up 95% of the food.

You may also notice where it may say “Dog Food with Beef”. In this case, only 3% of beef is required to be on the food. This is part of the strict regulation on dog food to ensure that they what they say they are.

Food Information

This section will be the more complex section of the label since it will list down all pertinent information like feeding instructions, ingredients, nutrition value, and guaranteed analysis. This section will be what you will use as a point of comparison to other dog foods.


The ingredients is listed down in a descending order. What this means is that the part of the food that weighs the most will be at the top of the list. So with this information, you now know that if you’re looking for a high protein diet for your dog, then the protein contents should be at the top of the ingredients list.

What is guaranteed analysis?

It is in this section of the label that will show the amount of each ingredient present in the food. Always take moisture amount into consideration when making a comparison.

Feeding Instructions

This section will tell you how much food or portion you should feed to your dog. It will be up to you whether you want to give it to your dog in one meal or separate meals in a day. While the instructions are not considered rules since each dog will have their own nutritional needs, it is good to follow them.

Nutrition Adequacy

This section will tell you which life stage the food is recommended to like if it’s for growing or maintenance. It will also indicate if the food is supplemental or if it should be taken with another food.

So the next time you’re out to buy food for your dog or other pets, you’ll be able to make a well informed choice by following this guide.



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