How do I read a food label?

Posted by Dr Claire Jenkins on Oct 23, 2015 7:39:51 AM
Dr Claire Jenkins

There are 4 main parts of a dry pet food label to check:


This tells you what's in there, but it doesn’t give you an idea of the quality of the ingredients (i.e. the digestibility or nutrients)

They are listed in descending order by weight. Note that the meat is heavier than grain due to its high water content so often listed first.

Guaranteed Analysis

This shows the guaranteed minimum or maximum levels of nutrients such as protein, fat and fibre. There’s generally no information on many of the 35-40 essential nutrients for cats and dogs.

AAFCO Statement

AAFCO stands for The Association of American Feed Control Officials, which is an organization in the United States that sets the nutritional standards for foods sold

This statement is the most important one.  It will tell you if the diet is complete and the life stage the diet is intended for (such as growth, adult, senior).

Manufacturers Contact Details

This is how you can get in contact with the manufacturer for any questions about their food. Usually a phone number is supplied.

The bottom line is that you can't really tell if a diet is good or bad just by looking at the label, other than making sure there is an AAFCO statement.  My advice is to stick to a reputable company with good quality control and ask away to find out what you want to know!

For advice to get your fur kids diet right, go to

Topics: Diet