For a healthy and fully functioning dog. You will have to make sure that your dog’s diet consists of all the nutrient’s it will need.
From protein to vitamins a dog will require all this in its diet, from time to time. And as a responsible owner, you must know what those requirements are. Thus taking a responsible decision regarding what goes into your pooch’s food bowl.
Here are the important dog food nutrients that you must know about in order to prepare or getting your dog the “healthy and balanced” food by yourself.
Protein being, the building blocks of a dog’s body and also almost every multicellular organism (yes including us). Might just be one of the top priorities on this list. Proteins are made up of amino acids and as dogs cannot produce enough amino acids on their own. Protein helps with that providing the much required essential as well as non-essential amino acids.
Protein structures almost everything in a dog’s body from their nails to their bones and muscles. As well as make up the enzymes, hormones, antibodies etc inside the dog’s body which is vital for their well-being (and also survival).
Apart from that Protein can also (temporarily) act as the source of energy (carbs & fats being the main src) when the glycogen content is low in the body.
Protein is essential in every single dog’s diet and almost all commercial dog food brands have it in a decent quantity (how much varies from brand to brand). A dog’s body will not necessarily store protein thus the requirement will have to be fulfilled daily (be it the dog food or any protein supplement if need be).
Though how much protein the dog will need depends, first on the breed and also at which stage the dog is at. Puppy requires a lot more protein than an adult dog does. That’s why puppy and starter feed contains higher protein value than that of an adult feed.
Popular sources of proteins are eggs, lean meat, fish.
Fat is another macro-nutrient which is equally important in a dogs diet. While protein is made up of amino acids. Fats are generally made up of fatty acids. Fat’s are grouped into omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats. Both of them should be present in a dog’s meal for a well-balanced diet.
As already mentioned fat is one of the main sources of energy for a dog. It helps in the functioning and development of the body.
Fat plays a role in carrying out different activities (like regulation the temp). It also makes the skin and nails look healthy and give it a shiny effect,
Although fat is really necessary for the overall health of a dog. Giving an improper amount (higher that is) could lead to serious health issues.
Consider the sources of good fats: plant oils, low mercury fish oils (salmons) for omega-3 and chicken fat, pork fat, vegetable oils for omega-6.
Carbs are the main fuel giving source or you can say the main glucose source. Although dogs can prepare glucose on their own (through fats and protein) carbs do bring vitamins and fibers to go with it which is good for the overall health.
Carbohydrate is a macro-nutrient made up of starch, sugars, and fibers.
Even though dogs can create (or synthesize) their own glucose for energy. It’s always a good idea to add carbs in their diet so that the protein and other nutrients could contribute to other important factors more. And not just provide energy for running all day long (and yea also for that fast wagging tail).
Some good sources of carbs are grains, fruits, and veggies (all dog-friendly ones though).
4. Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins & Minerals are organic and inorganic (respectively) compounds present in nature. Both are required in some quantity and should be included in a dog’s diet for a well functioning body.
As far as quantity is concerned, Vitamins are usually required in small amounts whereas Minerals adds a step more, and is divided between micro and macrominerals.
Microminerals (eg. copper, zinc, iron manganese) as the name suggests is supposed to be given in a small amount. Whereas macrominerals (eg. magnesium, calcium, phosphorus) are to be added into the diet generously.
They are required for the proper functioning of the body and also for proper metabolic activity. Minerals like calcium takes part in the formation & strengthening of the body (i.e bones). They also help in carrying out different life activities such as oxygen transportation and healing of the wound (minerals) along with maintaining the nervous system and help in blood clotting (vitamins).
Vitamins can actually regulate the content of minerals present in the body like calcium. Minerals like sodium (generally from salt) plays a role in regulating the amount of fluid present in the body.
Vitamins can be sourced from plant-based foods and lean muscle meat (all dog-friendly ones).
Whereas Minerals like calcium can be sourced from bones, meats also provide different kinds of minerals like iron and copper.
And lastly water. Well, this is pretty much self-explanatory. Water actually make up around 70 % of dog’s muscle mass (adult). So yea it is pretty important (XD). Apart from that water is essential for carrying out different vital life activities & function. Transportation of food, wasters, adjusting body temperature to name a few. Water is an absolute requirement for proper functioning of the body (even your own :p).
A dog should always have access to fresh filtered water all time of the day. Especially if the dog is very active. And be sure to carry a separate bottle of water for your pup (there’s a lot of fancy ones out there). And yes also one for your self ;).
Conclusion: So hopefully now you have an understanding of how all these nutrients plays a role in our dog’s overall health. And can identify each of them when you’re at a pet shop going through the different components. Or maybe even try preparing a well-balanced food for your friend.
As always have a good time with your buttercup and Good luck on this beautiful journey!