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Nutritional Needs of Dogs

We all love our dogs, and we want to make sure they are getting all the nutrition they need to keep them healthy for a long time.  But how do we know we are providing them with the proper nutrition?  The ASPCA has written an excellent article on dog nutrition entitled “Dog Nutrition Tips.”  We have highlighted many of the tips from their article here and have referenced their entire article at the end.

Six Essential Classes of Nutrients

- Water:  Always make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water available.  A deficiency of water can be detrimental to your dog’s health and could be potentially deadly.

- Proteins: According to the ASPCA, “Proteins are the basic building blocks for cells, tissues, organs, enzymes, hormones and antibodies, and are essential for growth, maintenance, reproduction and repair.”  The good news is that high quality commercial dog foods are produced to provide all the protein your dog requires.

- Fats: The ASPCA also highlights the need for a sufficient amount of fat in your dog’s diet.  “Fats are the most concentrated form of food energy, providing your pet with more than twice the energy of proteins or carbohydrates. Fats are essential in the structure of cells, needed for the production of some hormones, and are required for absorption and utilization of certain vitamins. Fats also provide insulation and protection for internal organs.”

- Carbohydrates: Regarding carbohydrates, the ASPCA notes that “Carbohydrates provide energy, play a vital role in the health of the intestine, and are important for reproduction. While there is no minimum carbohydrate requirement, there is a minimum glucose requirement necessary to supply energy to critical organs such as the brain.”

- Vitamins: Dogs do not require a significant amount of vitamins so the vitamins that are contained in commercially produced dog foods should be sufficient.  The ASPCA does not recommend vitamin supplements unless specifically prescribed by your veterinarian.

- Minerals: Again, according to the ASPCA, “Minerals are nutrients that cannot be synthesized by animals and must be provided in the diet. In general, minerals are most important as structural constituents of bones and teeth, for maintaining fluid balance and for their involvement in many metabolic reactions.”

The ASPCA article also addresses Weaning and Feeding Your Puppy, Feeding Your Adult Dog, Feeding Your Senior Dog, and Overweight Dogs. For more information on these topics, we encourage you to read the entire ASPCA article “Dog Nutrition Tips” here.  


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