Nutrition

2 minutes reading time (468 words)

Nutrition for dogs: What your dog needs

Your dog's nutritional needs are different from ours. What we think is healthy, is not necessarily good for them. To keep you dog healthy, you will need to understand their particular needs and how to address them.

Your dog needs certain essential nutrients to grow and thrive. Without these nutrients, your dog is more likely to have many health and allergy problems. It can even lead to stunted growth and a shorter lifespan.

Dogs like most animal life forms need the five basic nutrients for survival: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients serve different functions in sustaining the health and well-being of your dog.

Proteins consist of amino acids and are the building blocks of your dog's health. Although some of these amino acids can be synthesized by the dog, not all are. That is where your dog's food come into play - they must contain the essential amino acids that the dog cannot produce.

You therefore need to have a satisfactory amount of protein in your dog food to help your dogs grow and stay healthy. But too much protein can be a cause of obesity, as excess can be stored as fat, and has even been linked to temperament problems in dogs.

Fats are used to deliver other nutrients to the body as well as a source of energy. So much bad press about fats in diets has most of us thinking to avoid them as much as possible. But this is not true. Fats are necessary in diets, for both humans and their canine companions. It's the kind and amount of fat that can lead to health problems and obesity. Your dog needs the correct fats for proper kidney function, to transport fat-soluble vitamins to cells, and for a healthy skin and coat.

Carbohydrates are nutrients which are converted into energy for your dog. The best source of carbs for your dog are whole grains as they have the most nutrients still in them. Inferior dog foods will use grain by-products (left-over parts from other food processing) which tends to boost carb and protein ratios, but really has very little nutritional value for your dog. These grain by-products are also common allergy triggers for dogs. Look for minimal grain by-products in your dog food, and if your dog has allergies, stay away from common allergy triggers such as corn, wheat, and soy.

Vitamins and Minerals are needed to keep your dog healthy and almost all dog foods have added in vitamins and minerals. However, what most people don't realize is that the quality and quantity of these diminish as soon as the bag of dog food is opened. Specially formulated vitamin supplements are available for your dog and will ensure they get all the elemental vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.

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