10 Essentials of Dog Nutrition

10 Essentials of Dog Nutrition - TURNER New Zealand

The concept of a balanced diet is not only for us humans; it applies to our cute little doggies as well. To support their overall health and wellbeing, a well-balanced meal including all the essential nutrients has to be given.

Everybody out there with a canine friend must have asked their vets about how to feed their barking fur babies properly. Here in this article, we will look into 10 essential dog nutrition that will keep them healthy and happy. So let us start!


1. Proteins

Proteins are made up of several amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks of the dog's body. Proteins are actively involved in the making muscles, bones, fur, skin, and nails of the dog. They are also crucial for making hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and neurotransmitters required for the proper functioning of the body.

Out of 23 essential amino acids needed, a dog's body can only produce 13. Thus, the remaining 10 have to be adequately supplied through diet. Sometimes lack of protein can cause joint problems like arthritis in your dog; in such cases, try to adequately meet the protein requirements and get them some best joint supplements for dogs.


2. Fats

Fats are another essential dog nutrient that is primarily required for energy production. It provides 9 kcal energy which is more than two times the carbohydrates and proteins, which is only 4 kcal. Healthy unsaturated fats are preferred over saturated fats.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats are very essential for the well-being of your dog. It's used to make some of the best joint and hip supplements for dogs. It helps to fight inflammation, boosts immunity, and makes your dog's skin, fur coat, and nails healthy. Dogs can't adequately make these essential fatty acids, and thus these might be supplemented through their diet.

One of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids for dogs is mussels, specifically green-lipped mussels. These contain eicosatetraenoic acid, which is several times more potent than the normal omegas. It can significantly relieve inflammation in their bodies and is the best joint supplement for dogs.

10 Essentials of Dog Nutrition infographics

Also Read: Green-Lipped Mussel Oil: The Logical Choice for Omega-3s


3. Carbohydrates

Plant-based foods are the source of carbohydrates. These include starches, sugars, and dietary fibers. Carbohydrates break down into glucose after digestion and act as fuel in the body. Now, the word 'essential' might not apply to carbohydrates when we consider dogs because they have the ability to produce glucose from proteins and fats that they consume.

But does that mean you can solely limit carbohydrates in your dog's diet? No. Healthy sources of carbohydrates like gluten-free grains, pulses, legumes, dog-friendly fruits, and veggies can provide them with adequate vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Carbohydrates also have a protein-sparing action that helps to preserve the protein and use it for tissue building.


4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, coat, muscle, immunity, and proper vision. Deficiency of vitamin A can deteriorate the quality of fur, cause night blindness, impaired muscle growth, and problems with the nervous system.

Vitamin A is especially important for young puppies and pregnant females as it plays a crucial role in growth and development. But be cautious of excess vitamin A in their diet as this fat-soluble vitamin can cause toxicity.


5. Vitamin D

We, humans, make vitamin D in our bodies through exposure to sunlight. But our canine buddies aren't that good at making it. Dogs can only make a little vitamin D on their own and rely on the diet for it. Dogs can absorb vitamin D from meat and other dietary sources.

It helps to maintain the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body. Adequate vitamin D is necessary for healthy teeth, heart function, muscle function, nervous activity, bone growth, and development.

It helps to absorb calcium, thus maintaining bone health. It's another natural yet best joint supplement for dogs. It's a dog vitamin for joint health. Excess of vitamin D too can cause toxicity, so it's important to balance the diet well.


Essential Dog Nutrition

6. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and helps to protect your dog's body from oxidative damage. There are several free radicals produced in the body during metabolism, and such potent antioxidants will counteract their deteriorating health effects. Proper dietary vitamin E is required for healthy reproduction, heart function, muscle growth, liver function, nervous activity, and a hale skin coat.


7. Vitamin K

Vitamin K has a very important function in most mammals, and that is blood clotting. Blood clotting is carried out by coagulation factors, and four important clotting factors need vitamin K for their synthesis. Apart from this, it also helps to maintain heart health and prevent the deposit of calcium in blood vessels.


8. B complex vitamins

Vitamin B complex includes several B vitamins, all of which support your dog's health. Thiamine and pantothenic acid are required for carbohydrate metabolism and neural health. Niacin and riboflavin are essential for proper enzyme activity.

Pyridoxine is involved in glucose metabolism, nervous system health, synthesis of red blood cells, and hormone regulations. Folic acid is involved in protein and nucleic acid metabolism. These vitamins being water-soluble, flush out the body every time and thus have to be properly included in the diet. Another water-soluble vitamin is vitamin C. Although dogs can produce their own vitamin C, including vitamin C-rich foods in their diet won't do any harm.


9. Minerals

Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are essential for healthy teeth and bones for your dog. Calcium also has some other important functions like:

  • Regulation of nervous system
  • Helping muscle contraction
  • Acts as a cofactor of some important enzymes
  • Hormone production
  • Active role in blood clotting

Other minerals like sodium, potassium, and chloride help to maintain your dog's fluid-electrolyte balance. Magnesium and copper regulate neuromuscular functions, collagen production, and bone growth. Zinc is involved in wound healing, reproductive health, immunity, and proper digestion.

Selenium has an active role in thyroid function and immunity enhancement. Iron helps to transport oxygen from the lungs to other body parts. All these vitamins have to be adequately included in your dog's diet for maintaining their health.

Oysters and Green-lipped mussels oil are a very good source of minerals for dogs. These are especially useful for maintaining the bone and joint health of your dog. It acts as one of the best joint supplements for dogs.


10. Water

Water is a very crucial essential nutrient for every living being. In the case of dogs too, water is of utmost importance. Water has numerous functions in your dog's body, some important from it being regulation of body temperature, dissolving substances, digestion, transportation, hydration, removing bodily wastes, etc.

A dog should consume approximately one ounce per pound of body weight. It takes up to 80% of your dog's body composition. Adequate water is required for its body to function normally and optimally.

That's it, pals; this is the essential dog nutrition for maintaining your waggy tail's health. Adequate nutritional care for dogs is very important. It's best to give your natural dog sources of these nutrients. 

If your dog is being fed a well-balanced, nutritious diet, there's no need for supplementation. And if you feel like your dog needs supplements, get them prescribed by the vet. Wishing good health to your canine buddy. See you next time!