ash content in pet food

Ash Content in Food – The Misunderstood Label

Barbara Hanly

Have you noticed that your pet food label mentions ash? Did you panic thinking you were feeding your pet the same thing from your fireplace? Well don’t worry, you're not giving your pet anything bad and you're not alone in worrying. In fact, ash content of food is the most misunderstood label on your pets food and treats!

*Phew* Sooty isn’t being fed soot. So what is ash then?

What is Ash?
Ash is simply what is left over after food has been ‘burned up’ during digestion. The body can burn the major nutrients, (carbohydrates, protein and fat) but not minerals (e.g. calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium) or trace elements (e.g. zinc and iron).
So if you were to incinerate some dog food, all that would remain is the mineral content. This is what is known as ash.

Why is Knowing Ash Content Important?
Ash is not added to food. It is mentioned on the label to help you get an understanding of the mineral content of the food. This is also useful if you are trying to restrict certain minerals in the diet as part of disease management. For example magnesium may contribute to urinary crystals and sodium can affect heart and renal conditions.

What is a Normal Ash Content?
Ash content varies greatly from food to food but is generally around 5-8%


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