Understanding Dog Food Guaranteed Analysis: Wet Matter vs Dry Matter Basis

Understanding Dog Food Guaranteed Analysis: Wet Matter vs Dry Matter Basis

Did you know that there's two types of Guaranteed Analysis?

Have you ever stared at your beloved pup chowing down their kibble and secretly suspecting it's just glorified sawdust with less flavor than cardboard? 

You then peek at the package, impressed by the protein percentage and fat content. But wait! That seemingly impressive analysis might be hiding an intriguing secret - one that could be keeping your precious BFF from reaching peak puphood. 

Have you ever actually evaluated the "guaranteed analysis" charts on dog food labels and gave a thought to what it really tells you? Well as it turns out, they're about as reliable as a fortune cookie predicting world peace. The GA chart, perched proudly on every dog food label, supposedly gives us the lowdown on nutrients so consumers can make the best decision for the dogs they love. But here's the twist: there are two versions – wet matter and dry matter. High moisture labels show inflated wet matter, making kibble look like a protein powerhouse compared to its juicy counterpart. Sneaky, huh?

Imagine this: You're comparing a juicy steak (wet food) to a crunchy protein bar (kibble). The steak might look smaller, but that's just because it's dripping with delicious Au jus. Dehydrate that bad boy, and it's suddenly neck-and-neck with the bar in terms of pure protein punch. That's what converting to dry matter basis does with dog food – it strips away the moisture so you can see the true nutritional picture. This is exactly why dog food doesn’t have protein and nutrient contents measured in grams as human food does - it would make it impossible to hide the truth.

Even the Food and Drug Administration warns of the importance of paying attention to this issue on its own website

“To make meaningful comparisons of nutrient levels between a canned and dry product, they should be expressed on the same moisture basis.”

So, why isn't this guaranteed analysis standardized? Why would there be two - one for wet and one for dry? Well, you’re not supposed to ask that question. But the answer is simple: dolla bills, my friends. 

Kibble is basically the fast food of the canine world – cheap to make with high profit margins. Wet food? Think gourmet cuisine – higher cost raw ingredients, more expensive manufacturing process, & thicker reinforced packaging = less bang for the buck and lower profit margins. Converting to a dry matter basis exposes kibble's nutritional puffery, and that wouldn't make shareholders wag their tails like windshield wipers.

But enough barking around the bush! Here's how to outsmart the kibble con…

Scenario 1: Happy Food Wonderland

  • A delectable Turkey stew (76% moisture, 7% protein) sits in your pup's bowl. Your dog chows down, feeling full and satisfied, and more energetic after their meals.

Scenario 2: Kibble Kingdom

  • A crunchy kibble castle (10% moisture, 24% protein) as it appears. Your dog munches away and finishes after walking away a few times, seemingly getting more protein, right? Not so fast!

Now, dehydrate that Turkey stew. Poof! You condensed the dry nutrients to get to the true nutritional value and its protein content suddenly skyrocketed to 30%+. This, my friends, is the magic of dry matter basis. It strips away the moisture, revealing the true nutritional picture. And guess what? Once converted, that kibble castle might not be so impressive after all.

Here's how to outsmart the kibble con:

  • Become a Label Ninja: Online tools and formulas abound to convert those wet matter numbers.
  • Ditch the Water Weight: Don't be fooled by overlooking moisture levels – A wet food with 80% water and 10% protein actually has a higher protein content than a 10% water, 30% protein kibble (once converted, of course).
  • Ingredients Matter: The majority of kibbles use meal grade, feed grade and byproducts for their protein sources. Every kibble uses powdered raw ingredients as the primary component going into their extrusion process. Wet dog food isn’t typically much better: most wet foods typically also contain meal grade, feed grade and byproducts. It’s important to look for 100% human-grade ingredients, no artificial preservatives and single source animal protein.
  • Cooking Process Matters: Kibble is made the same way that cereal is made - via extrusion - just with even less quality ingredients. Think of it like this: If you make chicken for dinner, you can make it extremely healthy by baking, grilling or broiling it in a healthy fat. But when you bread it and deep fry it? Sorry, not healthy. Keep your dog away from extruded kibble. Look for dog food that is cooked in a USDA grade kitchen through a slow cooking steam or pressure process. 
  • "Water" Should Not Be on Your Ingredient Label: "Water" and "Moisture" are not one in the same. Water can be a raw ingredient in a formula and is oftentimes listed on the label. "Moisture" is something that comes off of fresh ingredients like animal protein, fruits and vegetables as they are gently cooked. Moisture in your dogs food is good - straight water is not the same thing. Look for foods that only use broth or bone broth as added moisture. 

So, ditch the kibble con and feed your furry friend food worthy of their awesomeness! Fresh or high-quality wet food without artificial preservatives – these are the keys to unlocking a healthier, happier pup-tastic life. Spread the word, paw-pound this post, and let's end the reign of the kibble con artists! Remember, informed dog owners raise happy, healthy woof-machines!

Now go forth, enlightened dog owners, and unleash the power of informed chow time! The kibble cartel trembles…

Bonus: Below, we’ve attached Happy Howl’s guaranteed analysis on a wet matter basis vs dry matter basis for you to see exactly what the difference is and why commercial pet food companies would want to hide this! Tell a friend to tell a friend…

Happy Howl Wet Matter vs Dry Matter
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