The prevalence of undernutrition in dogs is severe, where it ranges between 25 to 65%.
Diet is the foundation of a healthy canine life, and meals and minerals are the architects of your pet’s health journey.
When it comes to dog diets, some nutrients play an essential role. Proteins help build strength, carbs fuel energy, fats support a shiny coat, and vitamins and minerals keep your pup lively and strong.
Read on to decode the recipe to nourish your loyal friend accurately.
Balanced Nutrition for Dogs
Dogs require a balanced diet that combines macronutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Each nutrient has specific functions, and maintaining appropriate balance is necessary for optimal health.
A regular feeding schedule maintains stable blood sugar levels and facilitates proper digestion.
However, if your dog is at risk of obesity, it may be essential to apply portion control based on age, size, and activity level.
Moreover, keeping them hydrated with clean water is crucial for proper bodily functions and prevents dehydration.
Factors that Affect Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs
- Age: Growing puppies and seniors need more nutrition than adult dogs because maintaining good health and energy is complex. However, balancing food intake and exercise is vital to prevent excess weight gain.
- Breed and Size: Nutritional concerns shift to weight management and joint health as dogs mature. Large breeds require fewer calories per pound than smaller breeds, so they need a less nutrient and energy-dense diet.
- Activity Level: Dogs with high activity levels may require a highly nutritious diet for extra energy and optimal muscle health.
- Health Conditions: Some medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal disorders, kidney and liver diseases, etc., can affect a dog’s nutritional requirements, requiring special diets.
List of Macronutrients for Dog
As previously mentioned, some nutrients play a vital role in a dog’s health and wellness. Their daily meal should be packed with these macronutrients.
Dog food should contain 18% crude protein for adult dogs, 22.5% for nursing or pregnant dogs, and 28% for seniors.
Proteins are vital for a dog’s growth, production of enzymes and hormones, and tissue repair.
Insufficient protein intake in dogs can lead to muscle weakness, immune system impairment, and severe health complications like organ dysfunction and weakened bones.
Functions of Protein in Dog’s Body
- It fuels muscles, repairs tissues, and maintains strength.
- It supports enzymes and hormone production and regulates various bodily functions.
- It helps to build immunity and creates antibodies for protection against illnesses.
- It helps in cell formation, aids repair, sustaining overall body structure.
- Maintains fluid balance and stabilizes the body’s pH levels for equilibrium.
- Essential for nerve function, neurotransmitter production, and promoting communication.
- Supports growth, which is crucial during pregnancy for fetal development.
- It speeds up wound healing and assists detoxification processes for overall wellness.
What are Sources of Protein?
- Meat such as chicken, beef, and turkey offers essential amino acids for tissue health.
- Fish such as salmon and tuna provides protein and omega-3s for skin and coat.
- Eggs offer complete protein, beneficial for muscle and overall health.
- Organ meats like liver and kidney provide dense protein and essential nutrients.
- Lean meats like poultry and beef balance protein and minimize fat.
- Commercial dog food with meat like nugget dental chews as the main ingredient offers protein.
- Plant-based proteins like lentils and chickpeas can supplement but may need careful balancing.
Carbs or Carbohydrate
Dogs with an active lifestyle should consume a diet containing 20% carbs because it is the primary energy source.
Insufficient carbohydrate intake in dogs can lead to energy depletion, weight loss, and fatal issues like impaired brain function.
Functions of Carbohydrates in Dog’s Body
- Glucose from carbs supports cognitive functions and neural activities.
- Carbs sustain muscles during exercise, enhancing endurance and performance.
- Fiber in carbs aids digestion, regulates bowel movements, and promotes gut health.
- Proper carb intake maintains stable blood sugar levels in dogs.
- Adequate carbs avoid the buildup of ketones, supporting metabolic balance.
- Carbs can spare protein from being used as an energy source.
- Puppies require carbs for the growth and development of the body.
What are the Sources of Carbohydrates?
- Whole grains such as Brown rice, oats, and quinoa.
- Vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas provide vitamins, fiber, and energy.
- Homemade meals like cooked pasta, rice, and other grains can supplement diets.
- Low-lactose yogurt and cottage cheese offer carbs.
- Fruits like apples and blueberries.
- Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas provide complex carbohydrates.
According to American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a dog diet must contain a minimum of 5.5% fat for adults and 8.5% for puppies, pregnant, and nursing dogs.
Insufficient fat intake in dogs can lead to energy deficiency and coat problems, affecting vital functions like hormone production, cell structure, and nutrient absorption.
Functions of Fats in Dog’s Body
- Reserve energy for sustained activities and metabolic processes.
- It maintains cell structure, cellular membranes, and function.
- It provides insulation, aiding in maintaining body temperature.
- It enables the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).
- It supports healthy skin, shiny coat, and overall fur condition.
- It aids nerve signal transmission, contributing to nervous system function.
- It cushions and protects organs, offering physical support.
- It contributes to hormone production, regulating bodily processes.
- Omega-3s in fats reduce inflammation, bolstering immune response.
What are the Sources of Fats?
- Animal fats such as chicken skin, salmon, and lean cuts.
- Fish Oil and plant oils such as flaxseed and coconut oil.
- Egg yolks, unsweetened yogurt, and cheese.
- Cooked meat with fat and oil additions can provide essential fats.
- Small amounts of unsalted nuts, like peanut butter.
List of Micronutrients for Dog
Like macronutrients, dogs’ diets should include some micronutrients, which help in vital body functions.
Vitamins are essential for various metabolic processes in a dog’s body, supporting the immune system, aiding bone health, and improving overall well-being.
Insufficient vitamins in a dog’s body can lead to diseases like immune system dysfunction, poor growth, and impaired bodily functions.
The essential vitamins for dogs are fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and water-soluble vitamins C and B-complex.
Functions of Vitamins in Dog’s Body
- Vitamin A: Enhances vision, immunity, skin, growth, and overall health in dogs.
- Vitamin D: Supports bone health, calcium absorption, immune system, and cellular functions.
- Vitamin E: Aids in the antioxidant process, protecting cells and supporting skin health.
- Vitamin K: Vital for blood clotting, bone health, and proper body function.
- Vitamin C: Boosts the immune system, aids collagen production, and supports overall health.
- B1, B2, B3: Support energy metabolism, skin health, and nervous system function.
- B5, B6, B7: Assist metabolism, brain function, skin health, and cellular processes.
- B9, B12: Aid in cell division, red blood cell production, and nerve function.
What are the Primary Sources of Vitamins?
- Vitamin A: Liver, fish oils, egg yolks, carrots, sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin D: Salmon, mackerel, eggs, and readymade dog foods.
- Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli, vegetable oils.
- Vitamin K: Leafy greens like spinach, kale, liver, and fish.
- Vitamin C: Berries, citrus, bell peppers, and broccoli.
- Vitamin B1, B2, B3: Pork, liver, meats, dairy, whole grains.
- Vitamin B5, B6, B7: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, whole grains.
- Vitamin B9, B12: Leafy greens, liver, legumes, meat, fish, eggs.
Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium are some essential minerals that dogs require in day-to-day function.
Insufficient minerals in a dog’s body can lead to weakened bones, muscle weakness, anemia, and neural problems.
Functions of Minerals in Dog’s Body
- Calcium & Phosphorus: Build bones, teeth, and support overall skeletal health.
- Magnesium & Potassium: Assist muscle, nerve function, fluid balance, and heart rhythm.
- Sodium & Chloride: Regulate fluids, nerves, digestion, and acid-base balance.
- Iron & Zinc: Aid oxygen transport, immune function, skin health, and metabolism.
- Copper & Selenium: Support enzyme activity, antioxidant defense, and thyroid function.
- Iodine: Crucial for thyroid hormone production, regulating metabolism and growth.
- Manganese: Supports bone health, enzyme activity, and antioxidant function.
What are the Sources of Minerals?
- Calcium: Dairy, bone meal, fish with bones, leafy greens.
- Phosphorus: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, whole grains.
- Magnesium: Meat, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, whole grains.
- Potassium: Meat, fish, bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach.
- Chloride: Salt, fish, milk.
- Iron: Meat, liver, organ meats, fish, eggs, dark leafy greens.
- Zinc: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, whole grains.
- Copper: Liver, seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains.
- Selenium: Meat, fish, eggs, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Iodine: Seafood, seaweed, iodized salt.
- Manganese: Meat, poultry, fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables.
Dogs’ dietary requirements vary based on size, breed, and activeness, requiring careful diet consideration.
Pet owners should make accurate decisions about their dog’s diet to ensure the best nutrition for a healthy life.Consult Urban Pet Supply, the best veterinarian in Urbandale, to determine your fur baby’s nutritional needs.