Dog Care Tips

Meeting Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs — A Balanced Diet

The energy requirement of every dog depends upon their lifestyle and other factors like growth reproduction, activity level, and medical conditions. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, a dog’s basic daily nutrition requirements is as follows:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Water
  • Fiber
  • Minerals
  • Fat

The nutrients should be balanced to ensure proper absorption and usage by body systems. A feeding study can be done to ensure nutrients are provided according to the dog’s needs.

Proteins:

According to AAFCO, 22% of a dog’s diet should constitute proteins for growth and 18% for maintenance. There are no extra benefits for adding more protein to a diet than 30% of the total nutrients. The excess protein is excreted from the dog’s body. 

Sources of Proteins:

Animal food sources have a high amino acid content as opposed to a vegetable-based diet. Dogs can not digest plant fibers easily. In theory, dogs can be sustained on plant-based proteins, but you have to make sure that you provide enough protein so that the required amount can be digested. It is better to keep your pets on an animal-based diet. If you want to choose a vegan diet for your dog, it is better to consult a dog nutritionist first. 

The protein source that provides the maximum amount of essential amino acids is considered a high-quality protein source and should be preferred in a dog diet. 

Fats:

Dietary fats are the most concentrated source of energy in most animal food. Fats have many important functions in the body, including energy provision and absorption of vitamins. Essential fatty acids also help with reducing inflammation which helps the animals maintain their skin and fur coats. The requirement of fats for dogs is only 1-2 percent of the total nutrition. 

Sources of Fat:

Essential fats can be obtained from 

  • Vegetable oil
  • Pork fat
  • Chicken
  • Flax seed 
  • Marine fish oils
  • Canola

Lack of Fat in Food:

The lack of fat in dog food causes many adverse effects. Deficiencies can cause delayed wound healing and a dull and dry hair coat. Certain dermatological conditions are also at risk of occurring in case of deficiencies. 

Carbohydrates and Fibre:

Growing dogs require at least 20 percent carbohydrates in their diet. Carbohydrates are important in dog diets because it is the major source of glucose and dietary fiber. The body needs glucose no matter what. So, if glucose is not given, the body converts amino acids into glucose – reducing muscle mass. 

Dry dog food contains 30-60% carbohydrates which is more than enough for fulfilling the body’s needs. 

Sources of Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates have a diverse range of sources, including the following:

  • Fruits
  • Honey
  • Barley
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Rice bran
  • Wheat bran

Dietary Fibre from Carbohydrates:

Dietary fibers are very important for a dog’s normal digestion and overall health. It keeps the gut and microflora healthy. Dietary fiber can be soluble or insoluble. 

Soluble Dietary Fibre:

Soluble dietary fibers are important for making the stools soft and retaining water in the body. Fruits and gums are common sources of soluble dietary fiber. Soluble dietary fibers can be fermentable, and hence, bacteria use them in the gut for their energy sources. 

Insoluble Fibres:

Insoluble fingers can not absorb water. So, they do not have a stool-softening effect. They increase the bulk of the stool and also help with diseases like diabetes mellitus and GIT diseases. 

Vitamins:

Vitamins have a very diverse range and they perform important functions like DNA synthesis, bone development, blood coagulation and neurologic function. Dogs require both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.

Fat Soluble Vitamins:

 Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are present in fish oil, liver, egg, dairy products, marine fish, seeds, and alfalfa meals. 

Fat-soluble vitamins are important for the body’s metabolism and are at the greatest risk of deficiency and toxicity. 

Water Soluble Vitamins:

There are nine water-soluble vitamins, including 

  • thiamine
  • riboflavin
  • pyridoxine
  • niacin
  • pantothenic acid
  • cobalamin
  • folic acid
  • biotin 
  • choline. 

Water-soluble vitamins are present in wheat grains, yeast, liver, fish and other natural sources. 

Dose of Vitamins:

A very specific balance should be maintained between the doses of vitamins because deficiency and toxicity, both lead to serious problems. It is very important to monitor the vitamin uptake of the dogs and it should not exceed the upper limit. It is a better approach to use dog supplements UK for vitamins because monitoring the concentration of natural vitamins is very tough. 

Minerals:

Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride are necessary for the normal function of your pet’s body. Small amounts of iron, copper, zinc and manganese are also required. Minerals are present in 

  • vegetables
  • meats 
  •  beans

Mineral balance is also very important in the diet. Too much intake can cause toxicity which is as bad as a deficiency. For example, the toxicity of calcium can cause an imbalance in calcium-phosphorus metabolism and deficiency can cause retarded bone growth, weak teeth, and kidney failure. 

Water:

Water is the most important component of a balanced diet. A dog should consume 2.5 times more water than the dry matter they consume each day. Water is essential for the regulation of all body systems and metabolism. Water is important for regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, and breaking down nutrients for digestion. 

If your dog does not drink the appropriate amount of water, you can start giving him wet food i-e the food that has higher water content inherently. 

Your dog should have continuous access to water at all times. You should monitor the water intake of your dog and in case of any discrepancies, contact the doctor immediately. 

Conclusion:

There is a huge similarity between the balanced diet required for humans and the one required for dogs. So, take care of your dogs like you would take care of a human baby. You can prepare a balanced diet for your dog with natural products. If you are having a problem, contact a pet nutritionist.

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Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies - he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy-cuddling!

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