How do I read a dog food label?

Posted on: September 09, 2013

Understanding Your Dog’s Food Label

Unsure what to look for when reading a dog food label? The following guide will help you navigate and locate the information you encounter when selecting the food that's right for your dog.

Government Regulations

According to government regulations, the label on every bag or can of dog food shall contain the following information:

Overview

This section contains a branded name, like Purina® Dog Chow®, along with an indication of the primary ingredient or a formula name such as chicken and rice.

Net Weight Statement

This indicates how much food is contained in the bag or can.

Manufacturer's Name and Address

Identifies where the product was made in case you have questions or comments about the product.

Ingredient List

Just like human food, the ingredients are listed in descending order of content weight. 

Further down the list, you'll see many chemical-sounding names that correspond to vitamins and minerals.

07 How Do I Read A Dog Food Label Infographic

Guaranteed Analysis

State regulations recommend a minimum level of certain nutrients. The guaranteed analysis shows the dog food's minimum or maximum level of essential nutrients.

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

To substantiate claims, dog food must be complete and balanced to meet or exceed the standards of an established profile, or be proven to meet certain nutritional recommendations.

Feeding Directions

Follow these instructions to determine how much food to feed your dog each day. These are just guidelines, and you may need to increase or decrease the amount of food you feed to help maintain your dog’s ideal body condition.

Calorie Statement

This is expressed on a kilocalorie per kilogram basis. It may also be expressed as a common unit of measure, such as kilocalories per cup. This information will help you get a handle on the differences between dry dog food brands.

It's important to know how to navigate the information contained in a dog food label. Just know that any time you choose a dog food from Purina, you can be confident you've selected a dog food that provides complete and balanced nutrition.

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