Deciphering Dog Food Labels

It takes less than a minute to scan a dog-food label, but what you learn can be crucial to your purchase decision. Here’s what you need to know.

  • The Name: The name of the food gives clues as to how much of an ingredient is actually present. For example, foods that include a protein source in the product name ("beef formula") must contain at least 25% of the named ingredient.
  • The Ingredients: The ingredients panel lists all food sources in the product in descending order by precooked weight. For dry food, a key ingredient should be a source of high-quality protein, such as chicken, lamb, or salmon.
  • The Analysis: The guaranteed analysis gives the minimum or maximum percentage breakdown of the basic nutrients in the formula: protein, fiber, and moisture content, for example.
  • The Contact Information: The manufacturer's phone number should be included. It indicates that the company is proud of its products and welcomes customer feedback. All Eukanuba®products are 110% guaranteed or your money back.

The label also recommends how much to feed your dog each day. Use these recommendations as a starting point to determine feeding amounts, but consult your veterinarian for the ideal amount.