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What Is a Good Fat-to-Protein Ratio In Dog Food? The Simple Answer

Jessica Rossetti

By Jessica Rossetti

dry dog food in bowl

The fat-to-protein ratio (FPR) in dog food will tell you how much lean meat is being used in your dog’s food compared to fatty ingredients and is usually expressed in a percentage. It’s not an exact measurement, but it will give you an idea of the quality of your dog’s food.

Fat in dog food is not a bad thing. In the right quantity, it’s an essential nutrient. However, too little or too much of it in dog food can be a problem. The average range for a healthy FPR is 50% to 80%.

Here, we look at this number in detail.

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Why Was The Fat-to-Protein Ratio Created?

This number was created to serve as a quick way to tell a dog food’s quality. If the FPR is too high, it could mean there is an excessive amount of fat in the food. This is usually a sign that the meat in the food is fatty, possibly made with fatty trimmings.

If the FPR is too low, it can mean that the meat in the food is low and that non-meat protein sources have been used to bulk the food up.

This number isn’t literal. It’s only meant as a guide. It should not be used to analyze dog foods, but it can help you understand more about what your dog is eating.

The average FPR for wet and dry dog food is typically 55%–60%. Most dry foods come in at lower than 70%.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid any food with an FPR higher than 90%.

Remember that some dogs need to be on low fat diets such as those with pancreatitis in which case the FPR could be closer to 25% and this would be appropriate in this situation.

dry dog food in bowl and on wooden table
Image Credit: 279photo Studio, Shutterstock

How Do I Find the Fat-to-Protein Ratio of Dog Food?

If you look at any ingredient label on a package of dog food, you can calculate the FPR yourself. Find the nutritional content label, and look for the crude fat and crude protein numbers in the guaranteed analysis. Then, divide the fat by the protein. Multiply your result by 100 and you will have your FPR percentage.

For example:

Protein: 26%

Fat: 15%

15 (fat)/26 (protein) = ~0.58, or 58%.

What Happens If My Dog’s Food Has Too Much Fat?

It’s not just weight gain that is a concern with a high-fat diet, although this is certainly something that should be avoided. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight not only can help them feel their best and stay energetic but will also help you avoid health problems related to obesity.

If dogs eat too many of their calories from fat, they will end up feeling fuller more quickly. This can cause them to fill up without consuming the recommended amount of protein and other nutrients for their health. Long-term feeding this way can cause them to develop health issues from a lack of nutrients. The fat content in your dog’s food should always be lower than the protein content. Make sure you’re feeding your dog a well-balanced diet so they get the nutrients that they need.

Schnauzer puppy dog eating tasty dry food from bowl
Image Credit: Maximilian100, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

The FPR ratio in your dog’s food is used as a rough guide to the quality of their nutrition by some people. In general, you should look for one that falls between 50% and 80%. If it’s too high or too low, you could be feeding your dog a high-fat diet or one without enough protein.

As always, if you have any questions about the nutrients that your dog needs or what to feed them, your vet is your best source of advice and guidance. They know your dog and what they specifically need to maintain their health.

Featured Image Credit: 279photo Studio, Shutterstock

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