Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs, Feeding Your Dog The Best Nutrients
The nutritional needs of dogs will vary depending on their active or sedentary lifestyle, age, health, and working status. It is very important to know the best way to feed our dogs as it will have a huge impact on their health and life expectations. We all wish our dogs would live forever, and certainly, giving them proper nutrition will help them to live as long as they can, and in good health.
Basic Nutrients Dogs Need
There are six basic nutrients dogs need in their food: water, protein, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Whether you feed your dog with organic ,raw , homemade or store bought food or with dry food or wet food you need to make sure that the food is supporting every single basic nutrient to meet their needs for proper canine nutrition. Below, we’ll take a closer look at each of the ingredients:
Water is vital for dogs because, like humans, they can survive for a time without food but not without water, and can quickly become dehydrated. Puppies will have 80% water and adult dogs will have 50-60% water in their body weight.
Dogs fed dry dog food may need up to 2 liters of water per day. Every morning, it is a good idea to change the water checking their consumption throughout the day, especially in hot weather.
If the dog is pregnant or nursing it will be very important that the water is clean and accessible at all times. The water will contain nutrients not only for the mother but for the fetus helping to eliminate the waste from the dog’s body.
If you think your dog is drinking too much, check with your Vet as diabetes, kidney failure, and other dog diseases are characterized by increased thirst.
Proteins are made up of amino acids which is what a good diet should have. Dogs need 12 amino acids, 2 of which are manufactured by the body and the remaining 10 should be obtained from foods containing animal or vegetable protein.
Eggs, meat, and fish will be ideal protein foods for a balanced diet for a dog. If you have a very active and healthy dog, a small amount of daily protein will be enough. On the other hand, if you have a puppy, a pregnant or nursing dog, as well as dogs that work a lot, they will require more of protein in their food.
Carbohydrates will help your dog’s energy supply by assisting in the proper functioning of the intestines. Some simple carbohydrates are vegetable fiber, Dog food should not exceed 50% carbohydrates for a balanced diet.And vegetable fiber should be organic and not contaminated with pesticides or GMOs if possible.
Vegetable fiber will also help them to lose weight or to keep it off. The primary source of carbohydrates in most commercial dog foods is corn, soybeans, and wheat. Non of these is really ideal as, those are not what once made up the canine ancestral diet thousands of years ago, Also these carbohydrates are products of factory farming and will have been exposed to pesticides and modified for greater production of the crops. Many genetically modified crops are hard on the gastrointestinal track and can cause digestive issues as time goes on.
A better source of carbohydrates would be organic vegetables and or a small amount of organic fruits .
A large amount of fat will lead to weight problems in dogs, but a fat-free diet will not be beneficial either. You’ll need to balance the fat and other nutrients. Active dogs will be able to have a higher amount of fat in their daily diet.
Magnesium will help build nerve tissues, Zinc will be useful for the formation of skin and enzymes and Potassium will be very good for the dog’s heart and kidneys. Dogs will also require minerals, like Calcium and Phosphorus necessary for the health of their bones. Centuries ago wild dogs and Wolves would have obtained these minerals from the bones of the animals they consumed as food.
If we make sure that our dog follows a complete diet he or she will not need mineral supplements. However if you are feeding homemade food it is essential that you check with your Vet and make sure you are providing the proper minerals and vitamins for your dog.Your Veterinarian can recommend supplements which will keep your dog’ s diet from being deficient.
Vitamins will also be essential for animals being able to metabolize vitamin C. They will require water-soluble (vitamins B and C) and fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, K, and D).
Water-soluble vitamins should be replaced daily by eliminating excess urine. The liposoluble or fat-soluble vitamins will remain longer in the body avoiding some serious problems. A balance will need to be struck because an excess of vitamin A, for example, will also cause difficulties for the dog.
Allergy to certain food
Constant itching, ear infection, diarrhea, even vomiting, are signs that our dog may suffer from food allergy. These symptoms can appear without warning and become chronic if we do not do something about them.
Allergies in dogs are mostly caused by the intake of some type of food, with effects on the skin. To a lesser extent, allergy can be caused by other agents, such as flea and tick bites, or even contact with plants such as ragweed. Allergies are the third largest cause of skin diseases in dogs.Also there are certain dogs that maybe allergic to something in their environment. Such as the material in their bed, or toys or in the house itself, such as carpeting.
Allergies can occur at any age, regardless of gender or breed.
The most common allergenic foods for dogs are beef, soy, and dairy products. Which are common in commercial dog food.Also many dogs can develop an adverse reaction to wheat, pork, chicken, corn, horse meat, eggs, and fish.
What should we do?
The first step a visit to your Veterinarian. Only he or she will be able to make a diagnosis of an allergic reaction in your dog. And further will no doubt recommend an elimination diet to see if the actual food is causing the allergy or if it is something else, such as the dog’s immediate environment or exposure to a allergen is the dog’s daily life.
What is the exclusion or elimination diet for dogs?
To determine which food is causing your dog’s allergy, it is necessary to follow an exclusion or elimination diet. It is very simple, but one that requires time, patience and money. It consists of feeding your dog food that only contains a single source of animal protein, so if our dog is allegoric to chicken we feed a food that only contains lamb as a source of animal protein. And then see what the results are of that replacement of protein.
Veterinarians will tell you that when a change is made in a dog’s diet, the first few days the dog may not assimilate it well and have loose stools or even diarrhea, so it is important to introduce the new diet gradually.
Excluding sources of animal protein one by one, you will know if our dog has an allergy to certain animal proteins. Perhaps they have a lamb allergy and we have been feeding lamb in the diet; you will know because the dog will not get better… However, if a dog has a lamb allergy and we substitute a fish protein instead and they will get better the you will know that lamb is at least one, the source of the allergy.
Although not everything is based on animal protein, your dog may have an allergy to cereal. Cereals are a main source of food allergies in dogs, it is rare to find dogs with an allergy to rice as it is a very digestible and but just because it is rare does not mean it is impossible.
The cereals that produce the most allergies in dogs are wheat, corn or barley. This is why it is important that even if you choose a food with a single source of animal protein, it should also be free of cereals and grains.
Which hypoallergenic dog food should I choose?
Choosing food without cereals and grains with a single source of animal protein is usually a good method to try. For example, a food without cereals and with lamb, or a food without grains and with salmon or fish are good ideas to start with. Since allergies are a serious problem, you should always do this exclusion/elimination diet under Veterinary supervision.
When choosing a hypoallergenic food for your dog, always remember to look at the ingredient label. All dog foods are required to include the ingredients on the label, so you can rule out those that include cereals ,grains and more than one source of animal protein. Also look for where the ingredients are sourced from.You want to be sure that they come from the USA. Ingredients sourced from outside the United States may be contaminated with heavy metal residue and or other harmful substances.
Exclusion diets are slow but highly efficient. As a tip, many times dogs simply have an intolerance or allergy to the food itself because of its manufacturing process (extrusion or cold pressing). Sometimes it is advisable to try a home-made diet based on fresh quality products, which are organic and do not contain GMOs.
This diet should be followed exclusively for between three and ten weeks, avoid giving snacks and treats during this period. A reduction in allergy symptoms should be seen. If these have not decreased, then it may not be a food allergy, or the diet, It maybe an environmental toxin. As ,mentioned above, which could be the material in the dog’s bed or sleeping area, the carpeting in your home, or even a pesticide that the dog is exposed to through their paws when walking in a park or grassy area on a daily basis.
Here are a few hypoallergenic dog foods available in most retail stores, some specialty pet food stores and of course Amazon.com usually has almost anything available to be shipped to your door.
Instinct Brand Raw Boost ( Available at Walmart)
P S Hypoallergenic dog food ( This food is sourced from New Zealand)
Acana Singles Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food (USA based ingredients and made. Also available at Walmart)