Food Label Explainer | Village Vets
dog food

Knowing what’s best for your dog isn’t always easy and looking at the back of a bag of dog food can sometimes make you feel like you need a degree to understand what it all means. At Village Vets, we believe that education, knowledge and understanding are the three key factors to owning a healthy and thriving pet.

The food that our pet’s consume affects more than just their weight. It can affect their mood, their body temperature, their disposition, their toileting habits and much, much more. To this end, we have partnered with Royal Canin to offer our Pet Health Plan customers a discount on quality food that will support their pet’s lifestyle for years to come.

So, let’s say you get your paws on a bag of this Royal Canin food; how do you know if it’s any good for your dog? What should you be looking for? Let’s find out!


The law:

Laws in the past were quite relaxed about what went on bags of dog food. However, in recent times, most countries have adopted a stringent set of rules that manufacturers must follow in order to sell their food. These packaging rules include, but are not limited to:

Brand and product name

Name of species for which the pet food is intended

Quality statement

Guaranteed analysis

Ingredient statement

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

Feeding Directions

Name and address of manufacture or distributor

As such, all bags of dog food sold in Ireland will have all of these elements present on their packaging. To dilute this information further, the Guaranteed Analysis, Ingredient Statement and Feeding Directions are what we’re looking at today.


dog food


Guaranteed Analysis:

This section on a bag of dog food lists the percentages of each of the nutrients required to sustain a dog’s life. These include: Water, Carbohydrates (including fiber), Vitamins, Minerals, Fat and Protein (among some others). These percentages are listed in order of quantity. Typically, high-quality foods will have lower carbohydrates and higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. However, a food designed for puppies will have high amounts of protein to support their healthy development. As such, the guaranteed analysis isn’t enough to tell whether one dog food is better than another.



The ingredients section on a bag of dog food will list each and every ingredient included in its processing. This is where the wheat is cut from the chaff in terms of identifying poor and high-quality dog foods. Typically, a poor dog food will have what’s known as meal; a gestalt of animal parts that is blended and pressed. While tasty, these are particularly high in carbs and fats. Foods with high amounts of rice are also quite carb-y, so this should be taken into consideration for dogs that require strict diets. Some mid-range dog foods will feature an equal mix of carbs and meat, while staying away from using meal as a main ingredient. High-quality foods will typically have low carbs, low fats and use fresh or frozen ingredients in their composition, as well as one or two sources of meat such as chicken or lamb. Excellent foods will often contain botanicals and herbs that add to the flavour and the overall health impact of the food itself.


dog food


Feeding Directions:

The feeding directions are the specific amount of the food that should be fed to your dog daily. Because poor quality foods have higher amounts of unusable ingredients, they normally require more of it to be fed to meet the same nutritional requirements as a better, nutritious food. These feeding directions are exactly what the manufacturer recommends so they should be followed as closely as possible unless a Vet has recommended otherwise.


Signing Off:

In truth, the front of a bag of dog food is designed to entice you in, but a smart owner will know that it’s the back of the pack where the important stuff is located! In any case, we’re always on standby if you’re having any issues with dog food labels, or if you’d like to talk to us about one of our Pet Health Plans and a Royal Canin diet.

Anyway, see you in the next one!