What is Ash in Dog Food and is it OK?

Ash content is an important component that gives us a better look at the quality of a dog food. Sadly, it isn’t covered as extensively as other topics and finding ash content for respective brands can be difficult. It oftentimes has negative connotations; some clarification is in order.

Today, Canine Caviar would like to talk about ash, its significance and its relation to the dog food you purchase.

What is Ash?

Let’s start off by explaining what ash refers to in dog food. Ash is all the non-combustible minerals and other particles left over after food is cooked. It contains necessary minerals such as calcium which is important for bones. All dog food contains certain levels, some more than others.

Ash is a key sign to the quality of proteins being used in kibble formulas. Lower levels are better when looking at dog food. It means there are less bones and cartilage in the protein source. That equates to good quality kibble for your dog.

It’s generally considered that dogs require about 2% ash in their daily diet. The average dog food ranges between 5-8% per bag. The amount per bag is based on a couple factors; one being the quality of proteins and what processing procedures take place.

Is it Bad for My Dog?

Ash seems to get a bad reputation. People tend to think it’s equivalent to garbage but ash holds essential nutrients for our dog’s body. As we discussed earlier, trace minerals like calcium and phosphorus are present inside and our dogs need those minerals as a part of their daily nutritional needs.

I think it’s best to say that ash is important but like most food, too much can be a bad thing. Aside from the minerals, there isn’t anything else nutritional for your dog to take advantage of. Excessive amounts can lead to blockage in the gastrointestinal system. It can also affect important organs such as the kidneys and liver. A good kibble requires the right amount.

Canine Caviar & Ash Content

Graphic showing ash levels for corresponding Canine Caviar kibble formulas.

Canine Caviar strives to make kibble that surpasses standards not only in our formulation, but also our ingredient sourcing and processing. Our limited ingredient kibbles have low ash contents ranging from 4.5%-7.5%. This is possible because we use quality dehydrated meat and minimal processing to create our signature formulas. We cook our kibble only for 6 seconds at 82 degrees Celsius. This helps preserve the nutritional goodness and prevents overcooking the kibble. Our low levels don’t only show that there’s a lot of quality per bag, but also a lot of nutritional value per bag.

Final Thoughts

Canine Caviar hopes you understand the concept of ash a little bit better now. It is a discreet but important quality that can say a lot about the food your feeding your best friend. It never hurts to do a little digging to gain a better understanding of the kibble we buy.

Check out the Canine Caviar Blog for more great articles such as our Comparison to Canidae and determining How Much to Feed Your Dog.