Feed Label Basics: How to Decipher Nutritional Information

Finding the food that best matches your horse’s or dog’s needs isn’t as quick and easy as one glance at the bag or brand.

It’s important to read and understand the feed label on the bag or container. The information on a feed label can be confusing, but it’s worth the effort to give your animal the best feed possible. Here are some line items you might see;

“Guaranteed Analysis”

This item describes the vitamins and minerals and what percentage is in each serving. Ask your veterinarian to explain your animal’s daily requirements for each vitamin or mineral.

"Serving Sizes"

Serving sizes can be listed in percentages (daily recommended intake), or by weight. Take note of your animal’s weight and match this to the recommended serving size found on the label.


Unlike the guaranteed analysis, the ingredients list shows every food product that is in the feed (including something that may be a minuscule percentage in the mix, if other feeds are manufactured in the same facility). The earlier the ingredient appears on the list, the higher its percentage in the mix.


The location where the feed was produced can be a good indicator of its quality. For instance, feed sourced from foods harvested (or feed made) in China are unlikely to be of the same quality that other countries’ uphold in their manufacturing and food processing standards.

Know Your Animal’s Needs

Some animals need more protein; others need more fats in their diet. It’s very important to know if your animal is lacking in vitamins and minerals and choose a feed that can correct that nutritional balance.

Know Which Foods Are Prohibited for Your Animal

Animals can have allergies and intolerances to certain foods or ingredients. If your animal has had a reaction, try to identify the ingredient that caused the issue and avoid its consumption. Work closely with your vet to understand which ingredients to avoid in your animal’s feed.

Pay Attention to Serving Sizes

Overfeeding is never a good idea. Unfortunately, a lot of dog and horse owners make this mistake. Keep a close eye on the recommended portion sizes of the feed (especially vitamin and mineral percentages) and give only the recommended serving amount. Again, a vet can help with this.

What your dogs and horses eat directly affects how they feel and perform, so it’s important to make the right decisions about their food. Learning how to read labels will help you with portion sizes and you’ll have a greater understanding of the food you give your animal friend. The feed provided by Southern Equine Distributing is exemplary in nutritional value. Call us for advice and we’ll recommend the right mix for your horse or dog. Call us at (905) 691-5141.

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