How Many Ingredients are in Dog Food?
Today we begin a multi-part series on dog food ingredients that are typically secondary to the protein, fat, and carbohydrates. We are going to parse out some of these and explain why they are included in the food recipe and what you should look for when evaluating your dog’s food. To start, we will focus on the number of ingredients in an average dog food.
How Much is A Lot?
Anyone who has read the ingredient list on a dog food label knows that these can be very long and contain items that are both unfamiliar and sound like they are born out of a laboratory. The first question we would like to answer is:
How many ingredients are in an average dog food?
Any guesses? We analyzed our data and calculated some interesting statistics (yes, we love the statistics!). The chart below shows you the average number and maximum number of ingredients in the dry and canned foods in our data set of about 1,700. On average, dry food and canned food contain 44 and 31 separate ingredients respectively. Interestingly, the maximum number of ingredients for dry and canned was 91 and 57 respectively and in both of these cases, the specific foods are very highly rated by us and others. (This raises another question which we will have to do some further research on to answer: Is there a correlation between food quality and the number of ingredients?)
Remember last week when we wrote about using the rule of 5, which says that you can assess a dog food’s quality by examining the first 5 ingredients? The numbers above suggest that this is not a great strategy! The first 5 ingredients are only about 11% of the total number of ingredients in dry food and 16% of the total number of ingredients in canned food, on average.
What do you think about these numbers? Would you have guessed more or less the averages? Do you think there is a correlation between ingredient list length and food quality?