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Nutritional Requirements for Dogs

If you own a dog, or are planning to own one, then you need to give utmost importance to its nutritional needs. In the long run, this will ensure that your dog's health is not marred by illnesses.
DogAppy Staff
If you bring home a puppy, you have to make sure you know what responsibility you are taking. You have to be careful with its eating, sleeping, hygiene, exercise, and other habits. As with human babies, even the young ones of dogs go through various phases, and their personalities are shaped by their upbringing. Treat him as if it were your child, and the puppy will give you love, affection, respect, and loyalty in return. Of the various things you need to consider while raising a dog, the most important―perhaps―is its diet.

Nutrition Guide for Dogs

If you don't take care of their diet, you are indirectly making them vulnerable to various illnesses. This will eventually lead to paying their medical bills, when you could have taken care of it by ensuring that they don't fall short of their dietary requirements! Thus, to avoid such diet problems in dogs, you should always make sure your little buddy is eating healthy food and getting necessary nutrients in right amount. Like us, dogs need the basic nutrients, which are water, proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, fiber, and trace elements that are required for their overall growth, development, and metabolism.

Proteins
It's a well-known fact that proteins and amino acids are the building blocks of living beings. Thus, proteins are the most essential nutrients required by a dog to stay healthy and fit. Their tissues, bones, and muscles are all made up from different types of proteins and therefore, if you want your dog to stay healthy, you should include a good amount of proteins in its food. Proteins also play a crucial role in regulated metabolism, which lets the body function properly by maintaining internal systems, blood flow, and excretion.

Meat is the first name that comes to your mind when someone says proteins. However, there also exist grains, beans, and vegetables, which are rich in this nutrient. Thus, don't keep feeding your dog meat, but also include these ingredients in its diet. Excess meat can cause problems like indigestion, fermentation of undigested food, obesity, heart problems, arthritis, etc. You should feed your puppy low protein food and gradually shift to high protein food as it grows older.

Vitamins
Another major part is the requirement of vitamins―both, fat soluble and water soluble. Even though they are required in small amounts, vitamins are necessary for normal functioning of the body. Excess of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) can lead to health problems related to bones and tissues. However, excess of water soluble vitamins (B, folic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin, and choline) is not toxic as they are regularly flushed out from the body. You can either feed your dog citrus fruits, nuts, beans, etc., or give it vitamin supplements.

Minerals
Dogs also require good amounts of about 20 minerals found in nature. Also known as trace elements, they are required for numerous body functions, including formation of teeth, bones, and cartilage, transportation of oxygen in blood, maintaining pH of blood, production of hormones and enzymes, and regulation of muscles and nerves. You need to make sure that you either give your dog mineral-rich foods, like milk, grains, and green vegetables, or dietary supplements.

Fiber and Carbohydrates
Dogs require fibers like cellulose, insulin, lignins, etc., which are found in plants and whole grains. Fibers can also be soluble and insoluble in nature. They are not broken down by enzymes in dogs. Some of these are also found in fruits, but you need to consult a vet before including them in your dog's diet. Carbohydrates, like starch, are easily broken down in the digestive system of a dog and thus, they prove to be good sources of energy. Wheat grain, brown rice, pumpkin, corn, barley, etc., are considered good sources of fiber and carbohydrates.

Along with all these nutrients, you also need to ensure that your pet drinks a lot of water and exercises on a regular basis to stay healthy. If these dietary requirements are fulfilled, your dog will seldom face any health issue. More importantly, it will stay fit and go on to become your companion for life―actually!