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Guaranteed Analysis in Dog Treats: How to Read It & Calculate | Pupford

December 6th, 2023

Filed under Health + Wellness

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One of the best ways we can show our dogs how much we love them is by feeding them healthy, nutritious food and treats. That way, even by spoiling them we can help them live the healthiest and longest life possible. Win-win if you ask us.

But reading labels and things like guaranteed analysis to find healthy food and treats can be challenging. With good marketing and strategic wording, some brands can, unfortunately, trick you into thinking their product is pure and healthy when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

One way to decipher the label on your dog’s goodies is to understand guaranteed analysis. It may be a little confusing at first, so we’re going to break down how to read it and what to look for.


A guaranteed analysis is a way to understand how much moisture, fiber, crude protein, and crude fat a food contains. It also provides information on what vitamins, minerals, oils etc. the product contains.

Although slightly different, you can think of the guaranteed analysis as the dog equivalent of the “Nutrition Facts” label on people's food. Both are FDA regulated, just in different ways, so they rely on standard measuring practices to help you understand the nutritional value.

Before we go any further, let’s pause to define “crude” since it’s an important part of interpreting the label. Nutrients labeled “crude” can be read as “roughly” that number, due to fluctuations from batch to batch.

This will come into play a bit more when we discuss how to read and interpret guaranteed analysis. So let’s get into that now.

🐶 Want to learn more about dog nutrition? Take the 100% free Basic Nutrition Course taught by Dr. Greg Sunvold. Sign up here! 🐶


Understanding how to read guaranteed analysis opens the door for you to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes (there’s an ingredient pun in there somewhere, we can just feel it) of reading guaranteed analysis, there are a few more things we want to mention about crude ingredients.

  • In regards to protein - the crude percentage is the minimum amount a batch could possibly have. There may be a slightly higher protein percentage from time to time.
  • In regards to fiber and moisture - the crude percentage is the maximum, and there may possibly be less.
  • Crude percentages don’t always consider moisture, which can impact the true amount of a nutrient in the treat or food – therefore it’s important to look at dry matter, which we’ll get into shortly.

Alright, here’s where we need to get ready for a math lesson. I know I know, you’re usually here for super fun and cute dog content, but this is important. These formulas we’re going to discuss will help you calculate the true nutritional value of your dog’s food by accounting for moisture.

We promise they’re not as complicated as you may think!

The first formula we’ll work with is for dry matter.



Once you can calculate dry matter, you can figure out the exact percentage of protein, fat, and fiber contained in the product using these formulas:

  • True protein = Crude protein ÷ dry matter x 100
  • True fat = crude fat ÷ dry matter x 100
  • True fiber = crude fiber ÷ dry matter x 100

I know we said no tests, but let’s work through an exercise to put these equations into play:

Let’s say you are reading a dog food label and see that it has 10% moisture, 25% protein, 15% fat, and 3% fiber, what’s the true protein content?

What the correct answer (27.78%) tells us is that this product actually has a higher true protein content than crude. Comparing the true content rather than the crude will help you make better choices for your dog.


comparison of dog training treats | Pupford

Now that you know how to read the guaranteed analysis, what should you do with that information? You can use it to make a decision to buy food or treats that are most aligned with your dog’s nutritional needs.

Remember, nutritional needs vary from dog to dog depending on age, breed, activity level, etc. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s specific needs, but you can generally use these guidelines as a starting point:

  • Puppies need about 30% protein and 15% fat
  • Adult dogs need about 20% protein and 10-15% fat
  • Active/working dogs need about 30% protein and 20% fat
  • Most dogs will require about 3-5% fiber

So when you’re looking into the guaranteed analysis of an item for your dog, try to find ones that align with those percentages, or that fits into an overall diet that supports those percentages.

For dog treats, you’ll also want to look for relatively low moisture content. Some brands use moisture as basically a filler, so they can use less of the ingredients that matter.

Additional Reading: We break down a comparison of kibble vs dehydrated vs raw dog food here.

🐶 Want to learn more about dog nutrition? Take the 100% free Basic Nutrition Course taught by Dr. Greg Sunvold. Sign up here! 🐶


guaranteed analysis on a bag of dog treats | Pupford

Be careful that you are not falling victim to the moisture marketing tactic – brands that have a lot of moisture may have a lower cost per ounce, but you’re really paying for water instead of meat (or other meaningful ingredients). So if you really want to compare cost per ounce, make sure you’re calculating that dry matter and true measure!

If you’re looking for more information about debunking the myths of dog treat labels, be sure to visit our Treat Truth page.

We’re confident you’ll find a nutrition label you’re happy with, in Pupford treats and chews. We make them with minimal, high-quality ingredients that prioritize protein and essential nutrients. Shop now to see for yourself!

🐶 Want to learn more about dog nutrition? Take the 100% free Basic Nutrition Course taught by Dr. Greg Sunvold. Sign up here! 🐶


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