Let's talk about ash

Those of us who peruse the Dog Food Directory of this website will probably have noticed the dials at the bottom of each product review. These indicate the dry weight of protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre and ash. If you are like me, the dials that will probably interest you most are the first three. I therefore thought it might be useful to start a thread on that fifth dial - ash. At this point I have to say that I know very little about this subject so I am ‘winging it’ so to speak and am hoping that others will join in the discussion so that I can better understand the issue.

For anyone whose eyes have not glazed over at this point, the website account of what ash in dog food actually is, the information can be found here. It’s almost halfway down the page and it is worth reading.
Definition of ash in dog food from that article:
“Ash is simply a measure of the mineral content of a food. When calculating the food’s calorific content, it is incinerated and the energy released is measured. All of the carbohydrate, fat and protein burn off leaving only the minerals. This is known as the ash content.”
Most people would probably not take much notice of it but the ash content becomes important in the case of animals with renal failure and for correct development of large breed puppies.

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association has a brief statement about ash on their website:
“Ash is a legal term which represents the mineral content of the food and is determined chemically by the burning of the product. It is a legal requirement to include the ash content on a pet food label.”

The Dog Food Advisor states that “In general, the average ash content of most commercial dog foods appears to be somewhere around 5-8 percent.”
The definition of ash on that particular website is this: “Ash is also more commonly known as funeral ash. It’s simply what remains of any animal — even humans — after cremation.”

In the filter section of the Dog Food Directory of this website there is a slider for ash under the Nutrient Levels right at the bottom and the range is 5% to 15%. According to petcarerx (an American website), we should be looking for an ash level of 8% or lower. Dr Tim’s website mentions 7% and lower.

So is the ash level important to us as pet owners? Yes if you have a dog or cat with a specific dietary need, particularly renal disease or a growing giant breed puppy. David explains about the specific needs of the latter in this thread.. At a personal level, it probably would not influence my choice of food but having read up a bit about ash I will probably take more notice of it in future.

A very interesting read Dottie. Definitely something anybody with a large breed pup or a dog with kidney issues needs to consider.