Ingredient Usage Analysis

Counting calories in cat and dog food

Many consumers habitually monitor their caloric intake, and they count calories in the pet food they purchase for their furry friends. But what’s a normal range of calories in pet food? And does weight-control in the product name automatically mean it’s a low-calorie product?

We used the Dog and Cat Food Ingredient Center’s ingredient database to search a broad cross section of recipes in dry dog and cat food. We then analyzed the number of calories per 8-ounce serving as stated in the guaranteed analysis. We also looked how various recipes were labeled.

In dry dog food, 56 percent of the recipes surveyed were in the 300 to 400 calorie range. 38 percent were greater than 400 calories per 8-ounces. 7 percent of the recipes were less than 300 calories.

calories in dry dog food
Of the cross section of dry dog food analyzed, the majority of dog food was in the 300-400 calorie per 8-oz. range. In cat food the majority of recipes have more than 400 calories per 8-oz.

In the low-calorie group of recipes, 33 recipes – or 26 percent of that group – had weight in the product name. In the 300 to 350 calorie group 42 recipes – 13 percent – had weight in the product name. There were 22 recipes, or 3.5 percent, in the 350 to 400 calorie range that had weight in their product name.

While a sizeable percentage of low-calories recipes are labeled for weight control, there are as many or more recipes in the higher calorie range labeled weight control. 

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