Fancy Name- Simple Concept
It may be harder to learn to spell (or pronounce) Metabolizable Energy than understand what it means. It’s a simple way of learning how much “usable energy” is contained in a dog food. The energy content is measured in calories.
Many of the better quality dog foods now publish Metabolizable Energy (ME) numbers on their dog food bags. ME numbers are directly related to the digestibility, nutritional content and quality of a dog food.
They are often found in the vicinity of the Guaranteed Analysis numbers, but provide a better basis for comparison between foods.
As we learned in the Digestibility section, quality ingredients result a more digestible food. A more digestible food will have a higher nutritional content. And a higher nutritional content will usually result in more available, usable energy packed into each cup of food.
This is reflected by a higher ME calorie count. Make sense?
Using ME as a comparison tool
When using ME numbers as a comparison tool, be sure to compare similar formulas. It can be misleading to use ME numbers and expect a fair comparison of an Adult formula with a Light formula.
By definition, a Light formula will contain at last 25% fewer calories than an Adult food. Comparing ME numbers against different formulas will not help your cause.
Grain Free foods often return higher ME numbers than formulas that contain grain. This makes sense, since grain free formulas contain more protein. The ME results will give you an indication of how much of that protein is “usable”. You may be surprised to see the ME range between different brands of foods. You’d never get that information from comparing Guaranteed Analysis numbers.
And now, you understand the relationship between lower feeding guidelines, higher ME numbers, and quality.
And, you certainly won’t be surprised to find that a food with a high ME number and low feeding guideline may have the exact same Guaranteed Analysis numbers as a 40 pound bag of grocery store dog food that sells for $13.99.
Now you know why!