Pet Treat Label Requirements

All pet treats must be labeled with the following items for distribution in Colorado.  For more information, you may go to AAFCO’s The Business of Pet Food webpage. The Colorado Commercial Feed Law and Colorado Pet Food Rules & Regulations has the details on what is required on pet animal food/treat labels.

It is acceptable to make pet treats in a home kitchen as long as good manufacturing practices are followed.

When you have your formulation finalized and the ingredients weighed out, you can list them in descending order of predominance by weight in the Ingredient Statement on each package label.  Then you can take the finished product to a feed testing laboratory to analyze the crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and moisture levels to be put into your Guaranteed Analysis on each package label.  

Label items required on each dog (and cat) treat package label:

1. Product Name

  • If it is ‘Beef Dog Treat’ it must be 95% beef. Otherwise, it must be ‘flavor’ or ‘recipe’

2. Feeding Directions

  • Must be labeled ‘treat’ or ‘snack’ or ‘intended for supplemental or intermittent feeding only’
  • Or can be labeled as ‘Complete’ ONLY IF it has been formulated or proven to provide all 38 nutrients a dog needs for sustenance

3. Species the treat is intended for

  • Such as Dog or Cat or Rabbit, etc.

4. Responsibility Statement

  • Complete company name and address; website or phone number is not sufficient

5. Net Quantity in bottom 30% of the front label

a. In English and metric units, or by count if there are 6 or fewer in the package

6. Ingredient Statement

  • Ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight
  • May only use approved feed ingredients shown to be safe for that species (eg. NOT spirulina for dogs)
  • c. May use ‘organic’ before each organic ingredient and be able to prove that certification

7. Guaranteed Analysis – all in %

  • Crude Protein minimum (Min), Crude Fat minimum (Min), Crude Fiber maximum (Max), Moisture maximum (Max) – IN THAT ORDER
  • If any other nutrients or vitamins are claimed or guaranteed, must be in a certain order & units
  • If a non-essential vitamin is guaranteed (eg. Vitamin C), must be an asterisk and the disclaimer “*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog (or Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles”.

8. Lot Code

  • A code for the company to identify the date of manufacture and/or packaging

9. Raw Feeds

  • Safe Handling statement in addition to the above such as ‘Keep refrigerated; keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods; wash working surfaces, utensils and hands after touching raw meat or poultry’.

Label items not required, but may be on the label if conditions are met:

  • Calorie Statements – must be in kcal/kg
  • Low fat claim – must have a maximum fat guarantee in the Guaranteed Analysis also
  • High nutrient claim – must have a guarantee for that nutrient in the Guaranteed Analysis  

Label items not allowed:

  • Cannot make Human Grade claims – unless it’s proven to be manufactured, stored and handled under human food regulations and inspection at an inspected facility; must submit inspection records
  • Do not use claims such as for treatment of disease or allergies– these are FDA-regulated items
  • ‘Organic’ cannot be part of the product name unless each ingredient has proof of that certification, and the processing is done under USDA standards; must submit certification with registration application
  • Lab contact info for the firm that analyzed the nutrients 

Sample Pet Treat Label

A sample format for a pet treat label is as follows:

BEEF FLAVOR DOG TREATS

Ingredient Statement: Flour, organic eggs, milk, beef broth

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein (Min)……25%

Crude Fat (Min)………….10%

Crude Fiber (Max)………15%

Moisture (Max)………..…20%

Generic Animal Treat Company, 123 First Ave., Anytown, AB, 11111

Lot: Made 3/3/2017

Net Weight: 8 ounces; 226 g