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Guaranteed Analysis vs Typical Analysis In Pet Food

A white and ginger jack russel dog sitting looking up at the camera with an empty food bowl at its feet

When we look at the packaging of our pet's food, there are two main parts to focus on. One is the ingredients list, which provides us with a list of what exactly is in the food, and the second is the analytical constituents.

What Are Analytical Constituents?

This is a breakdown of the nutritional content of the food and will contain information on the food's protein, fat, fibre, ash, and moisture content. Some brands will also provide further information such as a their omega oil content or calcium & phosphorus ratios. This, however, is not a legal requirement. For pet owners who have pets with certain medical conditions, this sort of information can be particularly useful. It allows us to make informed decisions about whether a food will be suitable or not, or if it will have a potential impact on our pet's health.

There are two types of nutritional analysis; guaranteed analysis and typical analysis. A pet food will have either one or the other listed on their packaging, and it is important to note that there are some key differences between the two.

Guaranteed Analysis vs Typical Analysis In Pet Food

Guaranteed analysis of a pet food provides us with the minimum amounts of protein and fats, and maximum amounts of fibre, moisture and ash. This sort of breakdown is more commonly seen on the packaging of brands based outside of Europe due to the differences in regulations.

European and UK based brands more commonly use typical analysis on their packaging. Typical analysis provides us with the average amounts of nutrients in the pet food. There is a margin of error allowed for this form of analysis, and the European Pet Food Industry provides further information on this in their “Code of Good Labelling Practice for Pet Food” guide. The tolerances for the margins of error differ between each nutrient, but typically range from less than 1% up to 8%.

A chart comparing the differences between guaranteed analysis and typical analysis in pet food

Which Is Best?

So, which form of analysis is best? There's so definite answer, and it ultimately comes down to what customers expect from the food.

For example, if your pet suffers from pancreatitis, you would want to feed them as low fat a diet as possible. If you look at a food that uses guaranteed analysis, you will know that the food contains a minimum of 6% fat, which sounds great at a glance! However, this is only the minimum fat content in the food and there is a possibility that this amount is considerably higher. In this scenario it could be argued that a typical analysis would be more helpful.

On the other side of things, knowing the minimum protein content of a food, as described by a guaranteed analysis, can be incredibly helpful for pet owners seeking out high-quality foods. By knowing the minimum protein content, customers can see if a supposed high-quality food really does provide high levels of protein.


With both guaranteed and typical analysis of pet foods' providing their own nutritional information to the consumer, it's up to us individually to decide what sort of information is most important for us when choosing a food for our pets. It's also good to know the difference, so when we look at the packaging of a potential food we know what the manufacturer is telling us about their product.

One last important thing to note, is that there is no legal requirement for dog and cat food manufacturers to provide us with the carbohydrate content of their product (due to carbohydrates being considered a non-essential nutrient). If this is something you would like to be aware of when picking out a food, we recommend checking out the ingredients list to find more information.

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