Everything we need to know about feeding our dogs a healthy diet can be summarized as this… providing high-quality feed!
The dog food manufacturers out there have a range of different formulas, but all of them should contain the necessary nutrition for your dog because they are all trying to discover the best formula for you. On the other hand, there may not be the best formula.
Dogs of different breeds and sizes need different amounts of dog food and sometimes have unique dietary needs and recommendations. Animals that are pregnant or very young need lots of protein in their diet, while dogs at different ages or with various health conditions need specific formulas, including for older dogs or those with heart or kidney disease.
To learn what your pup needs, let’s review the requirements, benefits, and signs of good nutrition.
Happy and Healthy Requirements
Your dog needs amino acids from proteins, a good mix of carbohydrates, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, along with access to plenty of water. The amount needed can differ between brands, so check the packaging.
Vets will also suggest more food when your pup is ill, or less as they get older. Proteins go to the muscles and help with energy! This vital element of their diet should be among the largest ingredients so they can repair and create cells in their hair, muscles, organs, and skin. We want healthy and pretty pups!!
Animal bodies are made of protein and there are many amino acids in protein that your dog’s body cannot create, plus they’re a basic part of creating glucose. Dog owners that wish to feed their pup a vegetarian diet should include plenty of alternative protein and Vitamin D.
Growing puppies need 50 or more grams of daily proteins, while adults only need about 25 grams. Carbohydrates help with quick energy for an active dog and come from dietary fibers, starches, and sugars. The fiber in carbohydrates helps your dog’s digestive system absorb other nutrients in their food and move waste out… and make sure to take a doggy bag with you on those walks!
Puppies need about 1000 calories per day, while adults need anywhere from 500 to over 2000 calories depending on activity and age. Adult dogs should not eat carbohydrates for more than half their total food. Summer is almost here and your canine wants a summer body too!
Fats allow your dog’s brain to work well and give healthy skin and fur, as well as convert to energy. Fatty acids move certain vitamins around the body and contribute to cell condition, while a lack of fats can make them prone to illness via skin breaks. Most of the fatty acids help skin grow healthy fur that doesn’t fall out, while omega-3 fatty acids specifically help skill development and prevent vision issues, itching due to allergies, or the dry conditions of cold weather.
Puppies need over 20 grams of daily fats, while adults need about 15 grams or less. Minerals and vitamins go to the muscles and nerves along with fighting illness through the immune system and metabolism. Specifically, minerals help bones, muscles, nerves, and teeth do their job keeping your dog healthy, while vitamins prevent daily damage to cells in the bones, brain, eyes, heart, lungs, and skin.
On the other hand, too much can harm a dog, such as excess Vitamin D being toxic or excess calcium creating bone growth issues. Pregnant dogs with an average litter of puppies need about 3 times the proteins and double the fats, while nursing mothers need over 6 times the proteins and almost 5 times the fats. Nursing dogs need about triple the calories as normal.
Always consult a vet for exact needs based on your dog’s breed, size, and needs!
Benefits of proper nutrition
When your pup eats, their stomach uses pepsin and lipase to break down fats and proteins, then the liver creates bile which also helps metabolize fats. The small intestine digests complex molecules while the large intestine ferments nutrients and takes in electrolytes and water. The basic reasons to provide your dog with the best food are to avoid illness, build and maintain muscle tone, repair bones, strengthen teeth, and otherwise live happy and healthy. Great smiles, great coats, and a great life for your doggo!
Signs of Good Health
A dog with a healthy diet should have plenty of energy and a thick, smooth coat of fur. Some research suggests they can tell when food doesn’t have the nutrients they need, which may cause them to not eat. Underweight dogs have visible pelvic bones, ribs, and vertebrae, and may have a noticeable lack of fat or muscle. Overweight dogs have more fat on their back and near the tail, with no visible waist behind the ribcage area. A healthy dog should be between these extremes. So make sure to keep an eye on your pupper so you know when they are getting all the good stuff they need!
To learn more about adequate nutrition for your pup and to look at products that can help keep them healthy, click here.