Importance of Calculating Carbs in Your Pet's Food August 24 2016

Reading the labels on your pet's food is a great habit to get into.  Scanning the ingredient list can tell you a lot about what your pet is consuming, but one thing it can't tell you is the amount of Carbohydrates. Carbs are the sugars and starches that make up a food and are the energy source your pet needs. 

Everyone knows eating too many carbs can lead to weight gain in people. The same is true for pets. When you read your pet’s food bag you will see a percentage breakdown of protein, fat, fiber, minerals (sometimes called Ash) and moisture, but no Carbs!

The importance of knowing the percentage of carbs in your pet’s food is to help stave off further weight gain in overweight pets, help prevent obesity in pets naturally prone to it (for example pugs, bulldogs, and beagles), and help decrease the risk of diabetes. With a lower percentage of carbs in your pet’s food, your pet can lose body fat and become less insulin resistant. So if you have a pudgy pooch, chubby cat, or diabetic prone pet, definitely pay close attention! We are going to show you how to figure out the percentage of carbohydrates in your pets food.

For example purposes, here is a breakdown of percentages off a bag of dry dog food:

Crude Protein – 24%

Crude Fat – 15%

Crude Fiber – 4%

Moisture – 10% 

*Minerals/Ash generally constitute for about 8% of food weight.

If you look at the percentage breakdown of protein, fat, fiber, minerals, and moisture on the bag, you can add them all up and see they won’t equal 100%. This is because of the moisture content. Having 10% moisture in food means the bag actually contains 90% food. To figure out the “correct” percentages of protein, fat, and fiber, you have to divide each of the percentages on our example bag by 90%.


In our case Protein is: 24% divided by 90%, which is 26.6% of protein weight

                     Fat is: 15% divided by 90%, which is 16.6% of fat weight

                     Fiber is 4% divided by 90%, which is 4.4% of fiber weight


  Now that we have your correct percentages, we can calculate Carbs!!


Carbohydrates = 100% - Protein – Fat – Fiber – Minerals/Ash                


In our example, Carbohydrates = 100% - 26.6% - 16.6% - 4.4% - 8%

                           Carbohydrates = 44.4%


You can do this calculation with multiple brands of pet food until you get a low carb percentage. Go ahead and pull out your pet’s food bag! Do the calculation and see how low the carb percentage is. 30% is usually the lowest you’ll find in a dry food.


If you still have questions or have a hard time calculating the carbs in your pet's food, please contact us and we'll be happy to help!