How to Read a Dog Food Label

As doggie parents, we all want the best for our dogs. When it comes to nutrition, anyone who has shopped for dog food knows that there are many options that can make you feel overwhelmed. For this reason, we have put together this blog, so you can learn what type of food is best for your dog. 

Dog Food Label Format

Most dog foods have the following sections:

  • Product and brand name
  • Quantity
  • Guaranteed analysis
  • Ingredients
  • Nutritional adequacy statement
  • Feeding directions

Product and Brand Name

Not every dog food product has a brand name. However, each product needs to have a unique identifier to distinguish it from others being sold. 

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), at least 95% of the product must be the named ingredient. So for example, a pet food product name such as Turkey and Rice Flavor Dry Dog Food must include at least 95% of chicken (not counting the water used to process it). However, when the product name has "turkey" accompanied by "dinner", "entree", or "platter",10% of the entire product needs to be "turkey". Lastly, if the product name has something along the lines of"with turkey", then only 3% of "turkey" is required. 


The Quantity section shows how much product is in the container. This can be measured by weight, liquid measure, or by count. 

Guaranteed Analysis

This section shows the amount of certain specific nutrients in the product.

To meet regulations set by the AAFCO in some states, manufacturers must list the minimum amount of protein and fat the food contains and the maximum amount of fiber and mois­ture as percentages of the product. 

If the product is specifying something, such as that the dog food is low fat or has certain vitamins or supplements, then both maximum and minimum percentage must be showcased for each of those claims. 


Ingredients must be listed in descending order by weight. According to AAFCO, each ingredient must be listed individually, so ingredients such as "animal protein products", can't be used. The difference between ingredients and nutrients needs to also to be clarified.

Nutritional adequacy statement

Most products should include this, though snacks, treats, and supplements are not enforced. 

This statement shows whether the dog food provides complete and balanced nutrition for a specific life stage of your doggies or if the product is nutritionally adequate for all life stages.

Feeding directions

This is pretty straightforward, it tells you how much you should feed your dog. However, it's always recommended to check with your vet how much your dog should be eating. 

How to Read a Dog Food Label

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