When you look at any pet food label, you will find the “as fed” guaranteed analysis of the food you just purchased. This will typically list minimum protein/fat and the maximum level of moisture/crude fiber contained in the food you just purchased. The “as fed” refers to the food in the bag that you will feed your pet. These nutrients do not show exact percentages of the listed nutrients. For example, protein is listed as a minimum content, but in reality, it is likely higher.
The best way to compare any pet food is to use “typical dry matter basis”. Typical refers to an average nutrient profile of a pet food over time. Companies generally take the average of many production runs when reporting these values. Dry matter refers to the food analysis without any moisture content. Kibble foods generally contain 4-10% moisture and canned foods generally contain 78-84% moisture. A canned food at 78% moisture and 12% protein would actually contain 54% protein on a dry matter basis. A kibble food containing 52% protein and 5% moisture would also contain 54% protein on dry matter basis. Without a common standard, it is difficult for the consumer to easily compare the large variety of foods we feed our pets.