All pet food is required to provide a Guaranteed Analysis (GA) on the product label. The GA provides product information to regulators who review each label for compliance with nutrient requirements and voluntary label claims. The GA also provides information to consumers to help them find the levels of at least four nutrients: protein, fat, fiber and moisture. Additional nutrients must be included in the GA if a product label makes a claim that mentions a specific nutrient, such as calcium for strong teeth and bones.

“Crude” Protein and Fat

The term “crude” in a Guaranteed Analysis refers to the method used to determine the nutrient content of your pet’s food. Protein content is determined by analyzing levels of nitrogen, and fat content is determined by analyzing levels of lipids present.* Importantly, the term “crude” does not relate to the quality of a nutrient or ingredient.

Comparing Wet and Dry Pet Food

The Guaranteed Analysis can also help consumer compare levels of nutrients in different pet foods. To make a meaningful comparison between a nutrient level in two foods, it’s important to evaluate the nutrient levels in the absence of the moisture content, in other words, on a “dry matter basis,” particularly when comparing wet and dry foods.

To compare two pet foods:

  1. First calculate the percentage of “dry matter” in each pet food by subtracting the percentage of moisture reported in the GA from 100 percent.
  • For example, the GA for moisture on a can of cat food may be listed as 70 percent, which equals 30 percent dry matter (100 percent minus 70 percent).
  1. Next, for each product, divide the reported nutrient level you are interested in comparing by that product’s dry matter percentage.
  • Using the example above, if that same product GA reports 10 percent crude protein, then the product has a dry matter protein level of 33 percent (10 percent divided by 30 percent).

How is the Guaranteed Analysis Calculated?

The data provided in the GA is calculated through either computer software, which maintains a database of the nutrient content of all ingredients, or through laboratory analysis.

PFI members employ advanced formulation methods to ensure every batch of their dog and cat food deliver all the nutrients indicated in the GA.

 Additional Nutrients Listed in the Guaranteed Analysis

Some pet food products may contain a GA for additional nutrients. If a product label makes a claim that mentions a specific nutrient, that nutrient is also required to be included in the GA.

The pet food maker may also voluntarily list additional nutrients at their discretion to aid with informing consumers and strengthening the assurance of that pet food recipe’s nutritional adequacy.

The GA is just one part of the many steps pet food makers and regulators take to provide nutritious and safe food for your dog or cat.

*Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc 1995, page 154