The Ultimate Guide to Dog Nutrition
Do you want to ensure that your dog lives a long, healthy life? If this is the case, you must ensure they receive adequate nutrition. In this blog post, we will address the importance of dog nutrition and offer you a guide to ensure that your canine companion is eating correctly.
What Is The Right Food To Feed Your Dog?
A good diet means feeding your dog things that will help them grow and stay healthy. There are numerous methods for accomplishing this, but most individuals use dry or canned food. But if you’re open to trying new things, other options might be better for your dog.
GoodVets has spent many years educating pet owners about properly feeding their dogs. Proper nutrition is essential for your dog’s health and can impact its life span. We want to share some veterinary advice with you about feeding your dog, whether you are looking for information on puppy food or adult and senior dog nutrition.
The Keys to Canine Nutrition
There are several dietary essentials for maintaining a dog’s health, which is listed below.
- Proteins: Proteins are complex molecules that are made up of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of cells. They help the cells grow, stay healthy, and repair themselves. In companion animals like dogs, proteins are essential in maintaining fur and hair. It can use up to 30% of a dog’s daily protein intake.
- Fats: The most concentrated source of energy in a dog’s diet is fat. They also provide fatty acids, crucial building blocks for essential substances, and are required for good, healthy cell function.
- Carbohydrates: The digestive system may break down carbohydrates and turn them into glucose, an energy source. Whole-grain carbs can supply essential nutrients such as iron, minerals, and fiber.
- Vitamins are substances that the body requires to function correctly. It includes converting calories into energy and maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamins can be obtained from both natural and synthetic sources.
- Minerals: Minerals are key nutrients found in the body of a dog. They are required for numerous vital processes, including growth, good bones, and teeth.
The different types of food for dogs are based on the dog’s age, weight, physical and medical condition, and lifestyle. There are numerous food options for each stage of a dog’s life.
What Is The Right Puppy Food?
Puppy food is designed to give puppies the proper nutrition as they grow into adults. Puppies require around twice the number of calories per pound of body weight as adult dogs of the same breed. It would be beneficial if you began feeding puppies healthy and carefully made puppy chow about four weeks of age when the mother’s milk becomes insufficient.
Puppy food should be given in multiple, well-spaced meals 2-3 times daily. Puppies who weigh less than 10 pounds should be fed three times a day, while those who consider more can be slowly weaned to twice-a-day feedings. Providing a schedule will help puppies get into a routine that will make house training more accessible.
Some breeds of dogs will overeat if given access to too many calories. So it is essential to monitor their weight gain and ask your veterinarian for help. Puppy food should have 25% to 30% protein in it. Remember, the adult size of a dog is determined by its genes, not how fast it grows. So don’t overfeed puppy food to make the puppy grow faster.
Puppy breeds vary greatly in size, how fast they grow, and how much they eat. When selecting the ideal breed for you, numerous factors must be considered. That’s why we recommend talking to one of our veterinarians. They can help you make the best decision for your puppy.
What Is The Best Dog Food For An Adult Dog?
No one dog food works for all dogs. In general, it is safe to feed a premium brand of dog food like Hill’s Science Diet. Hill’s Science Diet has many different types of dog food with different proteins. There are several other premium brands of dog food that you could choose from.
You should select an adult dog food that provides the caloric and nutritional requirements essential for health, happiness, and well-being. It is also important at this stage in a dog’s life to be careful about how much food you give them, whether you use timed feeding or free-choice feeding methods.
- Timed Feeding: Timed feeding means giving your dog a certain amount of food for a certain amount of time. For example, you might give your dog food for 30 minutes. The food is taken away if they don’t eat it all in that time. It is common to feed puppies who don’t overeat at once.
- Meal Feeding: Meal feeding means feeding your dog a specific amount twice a day. It is the best way to make sure your dog doesn’t overeat. Unfortunately, many dogs will fill if they are allowed to eat whenever they want or if they have free access to food.
- Free-Choice Feeding: If you allow your dog to eat as much food as they want, whenever they want it, this is called free-choice feeding. It is not usually a good idea because most dogs will overeat and become overweight.
Most of the guidelines for feeding amounts on dog food bags are too high in calories. Adult dogs have a greater risk of gaining excess weight than puppies. So it is essential to choose balanced and nutritious adult dog food and to implement responsible feeding protocols. It decreases adverse health effects caused by poor nutrition or over-consumption.
Choosing The Right Senior Dog Food
Generally, we consider a dog a senior after it is eight years old. Every dog ages differently, so it isn’t always necessary to change a dog’s diet just because it is getting older. However, some senior dogs may have developed health concerns that require them to eat a specific diet.
Many senior dogs need fewer calories but still need a good diet. Senior diets often have fewer calories but the same amount of protein. It is because senior dogs have a more challenging time absorbing proteins.
When starting a new diet for an older dog, there are many different things to think about. It includes the breed and size of your dog. For example:
- Small breeds and dogs weighing less than 20 pounds – 8 years of age
- Medium breeds and dogs weighing 21 to 50 pounds – 8 years of age
- Giant breeds and dogs weighing 51 to 90 pounds – 6 years of age
- Giant breeds and dogs weighing 91 pounds or more – 5 years of age
Sometimes supplements are helpful for senior dogs. It may be specific to your dog’s needs. Always be honest and tell your veterinarian about any supplements you are giving or want to give your dog.
Dog Food Recommendations For Overweight Dogs
Unfortunately, obesity is a common problem for dogs. Just like humans, being overweight can harm a dog’s health. An overweight dog has many added stresses on its body and is therefore at an increased risk of developing:
- Joint pain
- Exercise intolerance
- Low energy
Obesity is when someone takes in more food than they need. The extra energy is then stored as fat. When someone is obese, they have a lot of fat stored in their body. It happens when people overeat and don’t exercise enough. Eating less and exercising more is the best way to deal with obesity.
- Correct your dog’s diet: Feed your overweight dog a diet that includes reduced calories and high fiber. It will help your dog lose weight and maintain coat and skin health. You should consult your veterinarian for specific food and feeding recommendations. Canned foods can be a good option due to the decrease in carbohydrates.
- Increase Exercise: Exercise is essential for your dog’s health and weight. It would help if you aimed to exercise regularly for at least 10 minutes daily. It will help your dog burn more calories, reduce appetite, and change its body composition.
- Modify Feeding Habits: There are things you can do to help your dog lose weight. It includes monitoring the treats you give them, cutting down on or cutting out human food, and feeding them smaller, more frequent meals.
Fats Your Dog Needs
Fats are essential for keeping dogs’ skin, fur, eyes, and brains healthy. They also help dogs store energy. Proteins are also necessary for a dog’s nutrition because they make food taste good and help dogs absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.
Just like protein has essential amino acids, fat also has its essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are crucial for every cell:
- Linoleic acid–Omega 6 Fatty Acids
- Linolenic acid–Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Arachidonic acid
It is essential to choose a high-quality dog food that provides healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins. You should consult your veterinarian to learn if your dog can benefit from nutritional supplements. Dogs need good sources of these nutrients to stay healthy.
Do Dogs Need Carbohydrates?
Even though dogs get a lot of energy from protein and fats, carbohydrates are still essential to their diet. Carbohydrates are broken down by the digestive system and turned into glucose. It can be a vital source of energy for some dogs.
Carbohydrates that come from whole grains can be a good source of iron, minerals, fiber, and other elements that are good for your health. They are present in foods such as vegetables and fruit. These foods also provide a certain amount of protein, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Even though carbohydrates are okay in dog food, we don’t recommend any dog nutrition source that uses carbohydrates as its main protein-based ingredients. We prefer higher protein and fat content to carbohydrates, especially in adult and senior dog food.
Vitamins For Dogs
A balanced canine nutrition program is essential. It includes high-quality puppy food, dog food, and healthy snacks or treats. With this, your dog should get most of the necessary vitamins for optimal functioning and body processes. Small amounts of chemical-specific vitamins can sometimes help with illnesses, diseases, or conditions. We recommend discussing your dog’s particular vitamin needs with one of our veterinarians at your next appointment.
Table Scraps Or Adding Human Food
Many people like to give their dogs some of their food. Like most people, you might want to add fresh food to your dog’s diet. We recommend that you add one ingredient at a time. It will help you see if your dog has any problems digesting the food. Adding some cooked vegetables and healthy protein to your dog’s kibble can be a perfect thing for them. Cooked broccoli and green beans are usually well tolerated by most dogs.
You can add chicken, fish, lean pork, or beef to your dog’s food as long as the dog is not allergic. Adding other protein sources can be suitable for dogs. Still, you should always check with your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet. Generally, feeding your high-quality dog kibble and adding whole foods is a good idea. We usually recommend keeping the table food in addition to 20-25% of the total diet.
You should probably prepare some food for your dog. It is a perfectly healthy option as long as the diet is well-balanced. We can work with a veterinary nutritionist to help you cook a diet for your dog that uses the ingredients you like to have at home.
Read more: What Is Fresh Pet Food and Is It Actually Better?
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Nutrition
What Is Good Nutrition for a Dog?
Dogs that live in homes can eat both meat and non-meat foods. Non-meat foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables are not just for filling them up but can also provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Good dog food will have meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits.
What Should Dogs Eat Everyday?
You can feed your dog a pure kibble diet or mix it with cooked or raw meat, fish, vegetables, and rice. Many owners like to feed their dogs a raw meat diet; however, you must understand a few key points before you go.
What Is the Most Natural Diet for a Dog?
Feeding dogs a diet made with natural ingredients like beef, chicken, lamb, peas, spinach, carrots, and blueberries can have many benefits for their health. This type of diet can improve heart health, increase energy levels, make coats shiny and breath smell better and impact eyesight.
What Meat Should Dogs Not Eat?
Bacon, ham, and fat trimmed from meat or bones can cause indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs and cats. This food can also cause pancreatitis, a severe, potentially deadly inflammation of the pancreas.