Dogs require a balanced diet to maintain their health. The food they eat needs to give them enough energy to work and play throughout their lives. Dogs’ nutritional requirements change with their age. Their breed and size also play an important part in their nutrition.
What Are the Nutritional Requirements for a Dog?
Dogs need a balance of six essential nutrients: proteins, fats/oils, water, fibre, carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals. They need to get all of these different nutrients from a regular diet to aid the basic functions of their bodies.
What Do Essential Nutrients Do for a Dog?
Proteins: Dogs need to eat enough protein, as it’s their main source of energy. It helps to fuel a dogs’ development –– maintaining healthy muscles and soft tissues. Fish is highly palatable and therefore one of the best sources of protein for your dog, which will help the growth and repair of skin and muscles.
Fats/Oils: Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 all give your dog energy and keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. As your dog can’t naturally produce enough essential fatty acids by itself, it needs essential fats to come from its food. These essential oils help to reduce inflammation, as well as improving immune and digestive systems and maintaining brain and eye health in dogs of all ages.
Water: This is essential for dogs –– it makes up about 50% of an adult dog’s body weight. The consequences could be fatal if your dog loses as little as 10% of the water in his body, so your dog must always have fresh, clean water available.
Fibre: Some parts of plants cannot be digested, but these parts help to soak up excess water in a dog’s colon, helping to aid digestion, keep dogs feeling fuller for longer and avoid diarrhoea.
Carbohydrates: Found in vegetables, carbs provide your dog fibre to help digestion, as well as providing extra energy due to their sugar and starch content.
Vitamins and minerals: These facilitate the repair and regeneration of cells. Vitamins A, B, D, E, K, as well as calcium and phosphorus, help keep your dog’s bones and tissues strong. Dogs don’t need extra vitamin C, as their bodies naturally produce it.
Your veterinarian can advise you if they think your dog’s diet needs to be supplemented with extra vitamins or minerals.
What Is the Best Nutrition for a Dog?
Complete dog food will provide your dog with the right balance of all six essential nutrients. Depending on your dog’s age, size and breed, portion sizes will differ, but complete dog food is the easiest way to ensure your dog is getting the right nutrition.
The more you can invest in your dog’s food, the more you are investing in your dog’s long term health and wellbeing.
What Should I Look for in Dog Food?
Fresh, natural ingredients –– such as meat, fish and vegetables –– offer the highest value nutrition per meal. Check the list of ingredients on the packet of your dog’s food and take note of the quantities of each ingredient listed. Animal protein should be highest on the list, making up the majority of the food’s composition (above 30% is a good indicator). The remainder should be made up of fresh vegetables, fruits and botanicals.
As important as the ingredients is the cooking process itself, as this will determine how much of the nutritional value of the food is preserved. A gentle cooking process –– like the process used by Angell Petco –– will ensure that the nutritional integrity of the food is maintained. It’ll also generate a higher bio-availability of the food, ensuring that your dog can absorb all of the nutrients from what they eat. Importantly for your dog, it’ll also be more palatable so they enjoy every meal.
Can I Make Dog Food at Home?
You can make your own dog food at home. However, it can become very time consuming and it’s often difficult to ensure your dog is getting the right balance of nutrients. For a more complete solution for your dog’s nutrition, Angell Petco’s Complete Dog Food range is founded on gently cooked fresh ingredients to maximise the nutritional value for your dog. This will provide your dog with everything they need without the hassle of making the food yourself.