Adopting a puppy will certainly bring a lot of joy and happiness to any home, but it also brings with it many responsibilities. This is especially true when it comes to food. Many dog parents don’t know how many meals their puppy needs, what the correct portions are, and what nutritional ingredients to look for.
Most of them believe that because they are carnivores, they need large portions of meat, but that could affect their health. Although each breed has its own rules when it comes to portions and ingredients, some common rules apply to all types. As a dog parent, you should be aware of what your pet needs to ensure their happiness and health.
If you prefer to purchase dry or canned food for your furry friend, it’s important to ensure that it has all the needed components that match your dog’s age, size, and breed. According to this detailed guide on DogEmbassy.com, mixed breed dogs like Maltipoos, for example, may require different protein and fat ratios than purebred one as they’re more prone to allergies.
However, in both cases, you should make sure that the food you’re buying has ’complete and balanced nutrition’ written on the package, and always check the ingredients before purchasing dry food. For a dog to live a long and happy life, they need many kinds of nutrients such as, amino acids that come from proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals. Here are some nutritional facts that will help your dog enjoy a healthy life.
Protein Is the Most Important Nutrient
Protein is the most important nutrient that will ensure a healthy life for your furry friend. Dogs cannot survive without protein in their diets as there are 10 essential amino acids that their body cannot produce on its own. Their bodies make 13 of 23 amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. These essential amino acids provide the carbon chains a dog’s body needs to produce glucose, which generates energy. They’re also responsible for improving it’s hair growth, skin, nails, muscles, and bones. The 10 amino acids that dogs need from proteins are vital for hormonal balance, produce enzymes, antibodies, and neurotransmitters.
Studies found that dogs can tell if their food lacks the essential amino acids and usually refuse these meals, and when given the choice, dogs will choose meals that are high in proteins and full of the essential amino acids. However, food that’s rich in protein and the essential amino acids does not necessarily mean only meat, it could come from other sources. Your dog can survive on a vegetarian diet, but you should ensure that it has sufficient amino acids. Food that’s rich in protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, beans, and lentils.
Fats are Vital for Canine Development
Fats are as important as proteins for dogs because they provide a concentrated source of energy for dogs. Some fatty acids that serve as carriers for fat-soluble vitamins cannot be produced in their bodies, so they have to take it from food that’s rich in fatty acids. Foods that contain a high level of fatty acids improve the structure and function of the cells in their bodies. If your dog’s skin and coat are not healthy, then the food you’re providing lacks the essential fatty acids. Puppies should have a high level of fatty acids because it contains omega-3 and omega-6 that improves their overall health. Deficiency in omega-3 or omega-6 could affect your dog’s vision and learning ability.
Carbohydrates Provide Energy
Carbohydrates are the main source of glucose for dogs. They provide energy, components that are used as building blocks, and work as a source of heat when metabolized. There are two types of carbs: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs are fructose, sucrose, and lactose, while complex carbs are starches and fibers.
The simple carbs require little digestive breakdown and are absorbed through the small intestine where they are converted into glucose. Complex carbs, especially fibers, require more time to be digested. Starch requires more enzymes produced by the pancreas to break down. However, both types of carbs generate energy for dogs, which is important for their day-to-day activity, growth, pregnancy, and lactation.
Minerals Regulate Various Body Functions
When it comes to the essential minerals for dogs, there are twelve of them that should be included in your dog’s diet to maintain a healthy life. These minerals are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, sulfur, selenium, copper, iodine, zinc, and manganese.
- Calcium and Phosphorus are important for your dog’s bones and teeth. Deficiency in one of them could lead to bone weakness or deformities. However, providing your dog with a higher level of calcium and phosphorus than they need might lead to abnormal growth, especially in large breeds.
- Magnesium allows the dog’s body to absorb calcium and helps in bone and muscle development. It can be found in fish, beans, wheat, and vegetables.
- Sodium and Chloride work together to control and monitor the amount of fluid inside and outside the cells. They also help the functions of the heart and nervous system. An insufficient amount of sodium and chloride in your dog’s diet could result in hair loss, dehydration, and fatigue. They can be found in whole grains, tomatoes, fish, sweet potatoes, and beans.
- Potassium also works to control the balance of fluids and it’s essential for nerve functions, similar to sodium and chloride. However, a deficiency in potassium could cause diarrhea and vomiting. Potassium is also responsible for healthy heart functions.
- Sulfur is responsible for your dog’s skin, hair, and nail growth. It’s also responsible for healing wounds and detoxifies their bodies.
- Zinc, Copper, Iodine, Selenium, and Iron are called trace minerals. Dogs should consume a small amount of them, but they’re essential for blood circulation, energy production improves the immune system, and enhances bone growth.
Maintaining a healthy diet for your dog is crucial. If you’re not sure how much you should feed your furry friend, it’s preferable to consult your vet. You can tell whether your dog is underweight by checking their ribs, vertebrae, and pelvic bone. If you can see these parts through their skin, then your dog is underweight and you’ll need to consult a professional to adjust their diet.