An Introduction to Dog Nutrition
Everything that smells good appears to be an opportunity for dogs and their appetite for any tasty thing that we have in front of us. It’s tempting to give them scraps and slivers of what we’re enjoying at the dinner table, but you might want to hold back on that and ask yourself what foods have nutritional value to dogs, what should they eat, and why?
You might think that any bag of food at the pet store will cover it, but there are various factors to consider when you’re picking out food for your fur baby as a responsible dog owner. In 2007, there was a huge pet food recall leading to the pulling of dog food off shelves because of contaminated wheat gluten. We can’t say for certain that this is Point A of where pet parents became more conscious about what dogs are ingesting, but we can say that ever since then, it’s more clear that pet parents are conscious about ingredients.
Nutritional Factors In Dog Diets
The amount of protein a dog should have is based on their age, size, and breed. Per the Association of American Feed Control, officials require dog food - for adults - to have at least 18% crude protein because of potential protein loss when the food becomes dehydrated.
Proteins are nutrients that are important for dogs and can be found in meat products. Some examples include chicken, lamb, and beef. It’s crucial for dogs to intake protein when they’re a puppy because it boosts the development of their immune system and general growth.
Some people tend to run for the hills when they see fats included in the nutritional value of dog food, but this is important! Fats help keep your dog’s skin in good health and their coats luscious and shiny. Aesthetics aside, fasts help keep your dog’s digestion and body temperature in order.
Pro-tip: Fats are often paired with a preservative. It’s best to go with natural preservatives such as vitamin E and C. These can be identified as tocopherol or ascorbate.
Where do you think all of that energy comes from? Not to mention fiber which is a complex carbohydrate! You’ll find these healthy carbohydrates most common to vegetables when it comes to carbs for dogs. Carbs for dogs include vegetables like potatoes, peas, and beans.
Just like anything else though, too much or too little can have an impact on your dog’s digestive system so keep a close watch on the carbs your doggo is taking in and make changes if needed.
Vitamins & Minerals
Just like humans, vitamins and minerals are incredibly important when it comes to the basic health of dogs and their functionality. Any highs or lows in the system can have negative effects and vitamins and minerals act to balance this out. Most dog foods these days contain these vitamins and minerals that are best for dogs, but here’s what you need to know about them.
Fat Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin A, D, E, and K
Fat soluble means the vitamins will be stored in the fatty tissue and liver.
Water Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin B and C
These vitamins are short lived and flush out of the system daily. It is still to be determined by scientists whether these water soluble vitamins are useful for the body. In the meantime, best not to risk it.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is the ultimate essential for a healthy dog because it helps their digestive system and the absorption of the nutrients above! So if you’re letting your dog drink out of the toilet, shut that lid FAST. Bacteria will get in the way. Always give your dog fresh, clean water.
Want more tips on how to care for your dog? We’ve got all the info at the Tips & Tricks section of our blog. CLICK HERE to check them out!