7 Essential Nutrients For The Best Diet For Dogs
Being a pet parent can be hard at times. Since dogs don’t speak the human language, we often cannot understand what their needs are. But when it comes to food, it’s necessary to give our canine babies a balanced diet. By this, we mean a diet that consists of all seven essential nutrients.
An adult dog ideally needs about 10% of the daily calories from proteins and at least 5.5% from fats. It also requires around 50% carbohydrates, with 2.5-4.5% of fibre. So if you’re wondering what essential nutrients to provide your little baby, our list is here to help you!
This is arguably the most important nutrient, not just for dogs but for any living organism. Life cannot exist without water and water is needed to regulate various physiological functions like metabolism, temperature regulation, and nervous system function.
Water makes up about 70-80% of an adult dog’s lean body mass. So you should provide at least 8 oz. cups of water for every 10 pounds of the body weight. This can also vary, depending on your dog’s breed, age, health, or temperature conditions.
Proteins help to build muscles in your dog and create new skin and hair cells. Proteins are also responsible for regulating hormones. A dog’s body cannot produce 10 of the specific amino acids required, so these must be incorporated into the diet.
Good-quality sources of proteins include fish, eggs, lamb, and chicken. Make sure the amount of protein you give never exceeds 30% of the dry mass of your pet.
Dietary fats provide energy to dogs, maintain the cell membranes, and absorb fat-soluble vitamins. They also give the typical shine and gloss on the fur coats that we see in healthy breeds. Requirements for dietary fats can vary depending on your pet’s age and breed.
Diets for growing puppies should contain at least 8% of fats as dry matter. For adult dogs, it should be around 5% of the dry weight. As a rule of thumb, a diet containing 10-15% of fats is ideal.
Carbohydrates help to provide energy as well as fibre. Glucose, one of the most essential carbohydrates, is required to maintain a healthy nervous system and brain. Fibres are also needed for the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
Even though vets recommend around 20% of carbs in a grown dog’s diet, the actual amount depends on the kind of physical activity your dog gets. Dog food online can increase the carb amounts to 30-60%. Provide items like barley, oats, brown rice, whole wheat, and potato for carbohydrate sources.
Dogs require both the fat-soluble vitamins, namely vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as the water-soluble ones, vitamins B and C. If your dog already has a balanced diet, it will not need any additional vitamin supplements unless recommended by the vet.
Any kind of commercial dog food is considered to have the required amounts of vitamins. Make sure to never over-supplement your pet with vitamins because that can be as harmful as vitamin deficiency. If you need more help, refer to AAFCO’s table that contains information regarding a dog’s Nutrient Requirements.
Minerals are nutrients that cannot be synthesized by your pet’s body. So they need to be added to the diet. Minerals help to strengthen the bones and teeth, as well as other structural components. They also help to maintain fluid balance and metabolism.
Some of the important minerals that you should give your pet are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride. Trace minerals like iron, copper, and zinc are also important,
7. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are now being classified as a seventh nutrient. A dog isn’t able to synthesize this independently, so it must be added to the diet. The three important omega-3 acids that your dog needs are ALA, DHA, and EPA.
Common ingredients like flax seeds and canola oil are rich in ALA, while fish oil contains DHA and EPA. When you buy pet food online, be sure to look out for ample amounts of these omega-3 fatty acids.
Over to you…
If your dog consumes the required amounts of all the seven nutrients every day, it will remain healthy and strong for many years. A balanced diet also keeps a number of diseases away. However, if your pet requires supplements, make sure to consult the vet first.