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Dog Nutrition

Dog Nutrition

Dogs are the same as all other living creatures and need a balanced combination of six basic nutrients which are: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.

You are what you eat – and so is your dog. Nutrients are just as important for your dog as they are for you. They promote healthy growth, replace worn tissue, provide energy, and help protect your dog against disease. A nutritionally complete and balanced dog food gives your dog all the nutrition he needs, and commercial dog foods identified as 100% complete contain all of the required nutrients in proper proportions.

When you make your dog food purchase, read the label. Manufacturers list the ingredients and the nutritional content on the package or can. Follow the recommended guidelines for amounts to feed your dog. If you’re ever in doubt about what foods and how much to serve, consult with your veterinarian.

Over time the nutritional needs of your dog may change. Puppies, young adults, and older dogs will need a diet change. Dogs that become ill grow older, obese, and pregnant or nursing will have special dietary requirements, so remember to contact your vet for advice. Reserve treats for special occasions and to reward good behavior.

Refrigerate opened canned food so it doesn’t spoil, and remove all uneaten portions of canned or moistened food from the feeding dish after your dog has eaten. Discard the leftover food and thoroughly wash and dry the dish, because dirty dishes can quickly become a breeding ground for harmful germs.

Always provide clean, fresh drinking water for your dog so that all of their nutritional needs are met.

Each cell in your dog’s body (and yours) needs nutrients to function properly. The cells need the following six basic nutrients:

  • Protein, (consisting of 9 to 12 essential amino acids)
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

All of these nutrients need to be in the correct balanced proportion for the necessary chemical reactions of digestion, absorption, transportation and elimination to occur.

Nutrients are fuel which is converted into energy. Energy produces heat and how much heat is produced determines the ability of your dog to control his body temperature critical to a healthy life. Everything your dog does, from running and playing, to working, and living a long and healthy life, is determined by the fuel you provide and the energy it produces.

The term calorie is used to measure energy in food. The food you feed should provide sufficient calories so your dog’s body can:

  • Produce energy to grow correctly
  • Provide energy for activity
  • Body repair
  • Maintain health during adulthood
  • Reproduce
  • Grow into a quality old age

Consider when choosing a dog food that some breeds may require different percentages of particular nutrients, and keep in mind your dog’s activity levels, metabolism, body chemistry, health, age, and many other factors. What’s good for the next door neighbor’s dog might not be good for your dog – all dog foods are not perfect for all dogs! Dog food companies accommodate these specific needs and offer a large variety of different foods.

Commercial dog foods are available in three forms: canned, dry, and semi moist.

Canned dog foods contain as much as 68% – 78% water and include color enhancers such as iron oxide and sodium nitrate.

Semi-moist foods include large amounts of additives such as propylene glycol, color enhancers, and lots of sugar. Both canned and semi-moist foods should not be given to your dog for his total diet. You can use these for occasional snacks or on top of his dry food.

Dry foods contain a blended mixture of grains, meat and meat by-products, fats, mineral and vitamins – about 90% dry matter and 10% water. Feed your dog dry kibble as his basic food because dry dog foods have great caloric density (they are richer), your dog will have less tartar buildup and less gum disease, and have less obesity problems.

Which to choose?
What do dogs need?

Related Pages

Dog Vitamins/Supplements



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