Dog food analysis

The dog food analysis tells you roughly what's in the bag

The dog food analysis usually follows the ingredient list on the dog food label. It tells you the percentages of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, ash and moisture. Often the percentages or amounts of the following minerals and vitamins are mentioned: calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin D3 and vitamin E.

Example of a typical dog food analysis

Weender dog food analysis method

Alaskan Malamute Kuvjak
Crude protein: 27.00%
Crude fat: 14.00%
Crude fiber: 2.50%
Moisture: 9.00%
Crude ash: 7.00%

Have you spotted the missing piece of the puzzle?

When you've read about the nutritional needs of your furry friend you are perhaps missing one component in this list. If so, then you're right as carbohydrates are never mentioned in this type of dog food analysis.

In the often used Weender analysis method, all components are measured in a six step process except for carbohydrates. The remaining percentage is assumed to be the carbohydrates. I am not going to bother you with the chemical tests and procedures used to determine moisture %, ash %, fat %, protein % and fiber %. Only remember this:

The carbohydrate content of dog food is missing on the dog food label though carbohydrates usually make up for over 50% of the food !

No guarantees are given to certify that the ingredients used are any good for your dog. You can find this analysis on the dog food bag immediately after the ingredient list and it's called typical analysis, average analysis, guaranteed analysis or just analysis.

It's possible to have a perfect dog food analysis with all the right percentages of protein, fiber etc for a dog food of zero nutritive value. The term crude protein just means ‘total protein’ and does not relate this to which portion of the protein can be digested and processed by your pooch.

A dog food manufacturer could for instance put in a leather shoe as protein source and that would not show on the dog food analysis table. But you know that it's a bad source of protein as it is indigestible so the proteins are not broken down to amino acids that can be used in your dog’s metabolism. For carbohydrates and fiber one could put in a piece of wood and then top it of with motor oil. Looking at the Weender analysis performed on such a mixture you wouldn't suspect a thing!

Analyzing dog food this way doesn't say anything about the digestibility of the ingredients, the quality of the ingredients used or the composition of the protein, fat etc.

In fact: Quality is NOT about what's in the bag, but is determined by the nutrients your dog is capable of getting out of them.

Young Akita dog and adult Alaskan Malamute in the snow

How much of the dog food cannot be digested?

The feces (dog stool) that comes out of your dog can be analyzed via this same Weender analysis method. This way you know what goes in and what comes out. The difference are the amounts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins that are actually digested, absorbed and put to use in your dog's body.

The digestibility of dog food usually is around 80% leaving only 20% of the dog food as indigestible material to be transformed into dog stool. High-digestible dog food has a percentage of 90% so only 10% better. But do you realize this can make a big – and I mean BIG - difference?

Let's illustrate this with a simple example

Suppose your dog eats 600 gram dog food per day. Feeding the highly digestible (90%) dog food, 10% of that 600 gram is converted to dog stools. You're then looking at 60 grams a day.

Suppose you switch to regular dog food that is 80% digestible and your dog still eats 600 grams of dog food a day. Twenty percent of 600 grams means that 120 grams of dog food is indigestible, so that's twice as much!

You switched to a dog food with 10% lower digestibility and all of a sudden you are looking at a dog stool twice as big!

Stay tuned and subscribe to the free e-Zine 'HoundBytes'

dog food and dog health Book Get this eBook for free AND...
more in the members section.

You will receive a FREE 92-pages e-book and access to my 'Members Only' page.


First Name


Your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you 'HoundBytes'.

Recommended resource about dog health issues

For a complete survival guide on stress-free dog care, including detailed information on when your dog needs to see the vet, how to respond to pet emergencies, dog first aid and all common health problems, check out Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.

This is a quality handbook on dog health care, and teaches you how to take a proactive and prepared approach to knowledgeable dog ownership.

Learn how to deal with minor dog health problems before they become major ones »

Related pages

NWC Pet 160X200

Subscribe to my dog food newsletter and get FREE eBooks.


First Name


Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you 'HoundBytes'.

Popular Articles