Dry Matter Basis in Dog Food
This is a moisture-free approach used to determine the exact nutritional content of any food. Without this measuring technique, it can be exceptionally difficult to compare dog food. That is because dog food companies report the nutritional content of their products using what is known as Guaranteed Analysis. Basically, Guaranteed Analysis is the pet food industry’s version of the Nutrition Facts “panel” imprinted on each food package for human. This makes it easier for consumers to compare four critical nutrients such as proteins, fats, fiber and moisture.
However, this number can be deluding when used alone. The technique used to report the percentage does not take into account the variable amount of water present in different types of dog food. This can be a critical factor when comparing wet or moist foods such as canned or raw products with dry kibbles.
The Dry Matter Basis approach entails that when evaluating the nutritional content of various products, it is imperative to remove 100 percent of the moisture content from all evaluated products. To explain this better, let’s say you have a can of dog food listing a Guaranteed Analysis protein figure of 12%. This is the protein content similarly as it is fed from the can – or commonly referred to as “fed basis”.
Imagine a scenario in which that same label revealed the product contained 75% moisture and you were to totally remove all the water from the can, you will be left with only 25% “dry matter”. To decide the amount of dry matter, simply divide the amount of protein (in this instance, 12%) by the total amount of the dry matter (25%) in the can. Next, multiply the outcome by 100. Then the Dry Matter Protein Content = (12/25) x 100 = 48%
That gives the dry matter protein content of 48% – far more than the labels accounted for the protein content of 12%. That is four times the measure of protein as shown by the Guaranteed Analysis. By the way, this same technique for calculating the basis of dry matter works for any other nutrient, as well.
|Guaranteed Analysis||Dry Matter Basis|
|Nutrients Canned Kibble||Nutrients Canned Kibble|
|Protein 12% 33%||Protein 48% 38%|
|Fiber 9% 10%||Fiber 36% 11%|
|Fat 5% 7%||Fat 20% 8%|
|Water 75% 12%||Water 0% 0%|
As you can see, while the moist food contains a higher measure of moisture, the solid content has a better nutrient concentration than dry food. The major benefit of canned food is that even standard variety that includes a little grain or other sources of vegetables, starch, fruits, etc, have a superior concentration of protein and fat than the dry food, which contains a high proportion of carbohydrates.
The bottom line is, at first, glance, when perusing a package label; canned dog foods always seem inferior to their kibble counterparts. However, appearances can be misleading. So, do not be fooled by the dog food label’s fat or protein numbers. When comparing the nutrient content of two or more dog foods, be sure to first convert the number on the label to dry matter basis.