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Understanding Your Dog's Food By Calculating Dry Matter Basis
By Amy Caldwell
Published: 09/12/2017, edited: 09/14/2021
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You want the best for your dog: you want them to be fit and you want them to be healthy. A big part of that depends on the food your dog eats. You probably read the nutritional label on your dog’s food, however, what would you say if I told you those labels were misleading? The percentage of protein, fat, fiber and moisture that you see on the label of your dog food does not take into account large quantities of water which can seriously mislead consumers. This article will explain why you need to calculate dry food matter basis, how to calculate it yourself, and how to use that information to give your dog a healthy, balanced diet.
Why Do You Need to Understand Dry Food Matter Basis?
The percentage contents you see on dog food are known as ‘guaranteed analysis’ by dog food manufacturers. While it is supposed to make it easier for consumers to understand contents of their dogs food, it is actually rather misleading and here is why: the quantity of water in dog food varies massively between canned dog food, kibble, and raw food. A point reiterated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Basically, to understand the percentages accurately you need to remove the moisture content to calculate the true nutrient quantities in the food. Once you have done this, you can accurately compare the quality of your dog’s food.
Calculating Dry Matter Basis
Say you have a can of dog food that states the protein content is 12%, but 70% of the can is made up of water. Once you got rid of all the water, you would actually only have 30% dry matter making that 12% figure unrepresentative of the true protein content. Fortunately, calculating the dry matter basis is a relatively straightforward procedure.
So, to establish the true protein content in your dog food, you would divide the protein content, in this case, 12%, by the amount of dry matter in the can. Once you have done that, multiply the total by 100. The calculation, in this case, would look like this: (12/30) x 100 =40%.
Using Those Results to Ensure a Healthy Diet for Your Dog
You now have the knowledge to work out the accurate quantities of nutrients in your dog’s food, but how should you use those results to create your dog’s diet? To keep your dog healthy, you want to feed them meals with a high content of lean meats, fresh fruit and veg, and free of starchy foods. This point was emphasised in a recent journal from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
So look for dog foods that are high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, and do not supplement your dog’s diet with starchy foods like potatoes. This will provide your dog with all the nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy, while giving the body all the fuel required to help fight off infections and diseases.
The Dry Matter Conclusion
Understanding your dog food is not as straightforward as many think. Labels on your cans and kibble do not always take into account the excessive quantities of water. This can give dog owners misleading figures. Instead, using the simple calculation outlined above, you can remove the moisture content to better understand the true quantities of the essential nutrients. Finally, equipped with this new information, aim to feed your dog a balanced diet of lean meats, fresh fruit and veg, and avoid starchy foods.
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