I just wanted to share this page on my website because I think it would be really helpful to a lot of people. If you’re like me, you get a headache after you stand in the aisle at the dog food store and try to do the math to compare canned food to raw food to dry food!
I put this simple calculator together so you can plug in the numbers from the guaranteed analysis on a dry food, get the % protein, fat, and carbs on a CALORIE basis. Then plug in the GA numbers from a canned food to get % on calorie basis so you can compare the dry food to canned food on a equivalent basis.
Check it out and let me know if you find any glitches or have questions.
Hound Dog MomParticipant
Thanks for posting that, I’m sure many will find that useful. 🙂
I looked at your calculator and it is very cool. Thank you! If you know the Ash content of the food it gives you very accurate percentages. If you don’t know the Ash content and leave that field at 0% as you suggest, it throws off the accuracy of the other readings a little.
If you put 2 check boxes on the Ash reading that read Wet and Dry you could make it so that if the Dry box was checked and the Ash value was left at 0% it would assume 8% Ash and if the Wet box was checked and the Ash value was left at 0% it would assume an Ash value of 2-3%. While not perfect it might improve the final analyses if the Ash value is unknown.
Of course you could also just leave instructions to add a certain value for the Ash percentage if not known depending on whether the food is wet or dry.
Thanks Again Tabitha.
Thanks for the idea, USA Dog Treats! I just went and changed the calculator to assume 8% ash content if it is not entered by the user. I got that number from the article about “ash” content on this web site. Where did you get the number 2-3% for wet food? I hadn’t seen that value before, but would like to learn more about it.
When I have more time, I will try to figure out how to give a choice between wet and dry with check boxes like you suggested.
I tried it for a couple of canned foods and I used a number of 3% for the ash and those numbers seemed right. If I left it at 8%, the numbers seemed very off and I ended up with a negative percent for carbs.
I had been wanting to figure out these numbers because my food intolerance dog has turned into my picky dog. There are some raw foods that he refuses to touch, but he loves canned food. I thought I’d start using a larger portion of canned, but still use it as a topper for kibble to keep things affordable.
Isn’t a canned food with protein at 36.6%, fat at 58.8% and fiber at 4.6% on a calorie basis way too high in fat? I’d never feed a kibble with that much fat.
I put in several different quality canned products that I have here and the numbers are similar.
Am I overlooking something?
Yikes Betsy, 58.8% is weigh too high for fat regardless of how high the quality of fat they are using. What can food did you use to arrive at that number. Does it say it on the can or was this using the Tabitha’s scale?
Dr Mike should probably clear up the fact that an estimate of 8% ash would only be accurate for Dry dog food. Wet dog food does not usually contain meat meals which are high in ash and if you call the companies like Wellness, Natura, etc you will see that Dry products are usually in the 6% to 12% ash range while canned foods are usually in the 1% to 3% ash range.
So if you plugged in 2% for wet foods and 8% for dry foods it would improve the accuracy of your calculator.
Thanks again for providing such an easy to use tool to help out consumers!!!
OK, it has to have something to do with the difference between the calorie basis versus dry matter basis. Right?
Edit: Hey Dori, the numbers I used were from a can of Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Duck.
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by DogFoodie.
You are not overlooking anything. Unfortunately whenever canned foods remove the carbs they are replaced with very fatty meats so the fat content skyrockets. If they used LEANER meats the carbs would go down, the fat would rise a little and the protein would rise a lot!
Edit: I just read your second reply. It is really only related to the suoer high fat content (read trimmings) of the meat that is used when replacing the carbs. If they used LEAN meats they could achieve numbers very close to the ancestral diet.
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by USA.
Here are the numbers for boneless skinless raw chicken breast when run through the calculator
Crude Protein 23%
Crude Fat 1%
Crude Fiber 0%
Nutrients on Calorie Basis
Total Protein 89.9%
Total Fat 10.1%
Total Carbohydrate 0.0%
As you can see the numbers for a high moisture, high protein, low fat meat will NOT have a super high fat content. So it is unrelated to “the difference between the calorie basis versus dry matter basis.” The high fat is only related to the fat content of the meat they use in canned products.
Thank you USA! And, thank you so much Tabitha, for sharing your calculator. This was a very timely post.
I was just contemplating decreasing the amount of kibble I feed Sam and increasing the amount of canned. The only raw he likes is tripe. (I was also wondering about the amount of fat in that, but wouldn’t feed it regularly anyway because of the organs in the MPC Tripe Supermix). But, obviously more canned is not a good idea.
I just picked up a case of the Nature’s Domain Turkey and Pea Stew, so I’ll just dole that out sparingly as usual and figure out a way to “make” him like the raw toppers.
FWIW, the numbers on the Kirkland were worse than the Nature’s Variety with protein at 31.4%, fat at 60.6% and 7.9% fiber.
Edit: Actually, I just realized I had the numbers flipped. I was having trouble toggling back and forth and the Kirkland was the 36.6/58.8/4.6 and the NVI LID Duck was 31.4/60.6/7.9.
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by DogFoodie.
I keep calling it Kirkland, it’s the new Natures Domain Turkey and Pea Stew that I’m referring to.
Hi Betsy, using USA’s recommended ash of 2% in canned foods. I came up with these numbers for Nature’s Domain Turkey & Pea. 35% protein 56.3% fat and 8.8% carbs.
What a difference 1% makes! I used 3% for ash. Either way, it concerns me and the fat looks so, so high.
When I convert the fat in the ND Turkey and Press Stew to a dry matter basis, I get 27.8%.
When would I use calorie basis versus dry matter basis?
IMHO, I would just use either dry matter OR calorie basis, but use one consistently. I don’t think getting down to exact detail on percentages is going to make a big enough difference to worry about in most cases. The calculator is meant to facilitate COMPARING dry and wet foods but it’s really not that precise.
When I look at foods, I am usually mostly trying to see what the carb. content is and whether there is an inordinately large amount of fat. It’s a rough guesstimate in any case because even the guaranteed analysis numbers can vary a bit from batch to batch and are usually expressed as “minimum” or “maximum” amounts.
Thanks Tabitha! That helps.
I guess having more often used dry matter basis, the 56% fat number threw me off, er well more like freaked me out. : )~
I prefer the calorie basis for evaluating a single product, in fact, because it makes more sense to me. Calculating numbers in terms of HOW MUCH ENERGY comes from carbs/fat/protein is more valuable information than how much the carbs/fat/protein WEIGH, which is sort of what dry matter basis tells you. But like I said, for comparing two different foods, even using dry matter would still let you compare foods.
Thanks for the tool. I am going to have to book mark it!
I use canned every morning meal. Since most are fairly high in fat, I try to feed kibble that is average fat or less to compensate. Usually their stool are a little looser after canned food than my other toppers. I’m guessing that is why?
Thanks Tabitha! That actually makes sense to me (as I’m not exactly a math person). It’ll take some getting used to as that’s a whole different set of numbers than I’m used to. For the purpose of comparing food ingredients alone, I can understand why dry matter would be preferred; but when it comes to how your dog uses it, calorie basis makes sense.
Is there a preferred range of percentages for each protein, fat, etc. on a calorie basis?
Thanks Tabitha. I bookmarked your site and signed up for updated emails.
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