As a dog owner, it is important that you understand your pet’s dietary needs. Your dog needs a diet that provides enough of the right nutrients. Nutrients are compounds from food that your dog's body uses for maintenance, growth and energy. These six nutrient groups are essential for your dog's optimal health:
Up to 70 percent of your pet's body weight comes from water. Your pet will get some of its water needs met from food. Dry food is 10 percent water while canned food can be almost 80 percent water. In addition to its food, you must provide your dog with clean water. Dehydration can cause serious health problems for dogs. Losing just 15 percent of the water in their body can sometimes be fatal.
Your dog's body uses proteins to build cells, tissues and organs as well as in the production of hormones and enzymes. Proteins are needed to help their bodies grow and for maintenance. Proteins come from animal products including meat and eggs as well as from vegetables like soy and cereals. Note that vegetable proteins are incomplete proteins.
Fats contain more than double the energy of proteins and carbohydrates. They are essential for creating cells and for the production of certain hormones. Fat insulates and protects some internal organs and if your dog is deficient in some essential fatty acids, it may develop skin problems and its growth may be stunted.
Vitamins are compounds that your dog's body cannot synthesize, so they must come from their diet. Note that you do not need to give your dog vitamin supplements unless your veterinarian diagnoses a specific deficiency. Too much of certain vitamins can make your dog sick.
Your dog's body needs certain minerals for various metabolic processes as well as for maintaining bones and teeth. Your dog’s body cannot make these nutrients, which means that they must come from their diet.
Your dog needs carbohydrates for energy as well as for intestinal health and for reproduction. Fiber is one type of carbohydrate that your dog needs. It can help to manage chronic diarrhea. Fiber can come from grain including rice, wheat and corn.
Keep these classes of nutrients in mind to make sure that your dog gets what it needs. Ensuring that your dog has a healthy diet is a big step towards them living a long and happy life.