Your dog needs “complete and balanced nutrition,” and this is what dog food products claim to provide.
It’s important to read the label before picking out a dog food product to buy. If it says “complete and balanced nutrition,” this is what it should have:
1 – Protein
Protein gives your dog energy. It also “beefs up” their bones, muscles, and skin.
Amino acids make up protein. Your dog’s body naturally produces half of the amino acids they need to live each day. The other half should come from their food.
The usual protein sources for dog food are meat, poultry, and fish. When you read the ingredients in dog food labels, make sure protein is one of the first three ingredients on the list.
2 – Fats
Fats are healthy for your dog. They regulate body temperature, promote a healthy nervous system, and protect their internal organs. They also promote a shiny coat.
If your dog isn’t getting enough fatty acids, they could get dry, itchy skin.
Dogs don’t naturally produce enough fatty acids in their bodies, so it needs to be supplemented through their diet. Omega-3, omega-6, and linoleic acid are the common fats you’ll see in dog food products.
3 – Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for dogs. Carbs also give them vitamins and minerals and promote healthy intestines.
Carbohydrates in dog food usually come from grains, barley, corn, and potatoes.
It’s important to note that ingredients lose their natural nutrients the more they are processed. Just like in a human diet, the more whole the carb source, the better.
4 – Vitamins
Your dog needs these vitamins to keep them healthy:
- Vitamin A – boosts their immune system
- Vitamin B12 – promotes a healthy nervous system
- Vitamin C – acts as an antioxidant
- Vitamin D – regulates calcium and phosphorus
- Vitamin E – also acts as an antioxidant
- Vitamin K – helps blood clot
5 – Minerals
Mineral is an essential part of your dog’s diet and is especially important to their bones, muscles, cartilage, oxygen flow, and hormone regulation.
Good-quality dog food products provide your dog these essential minerals:
6 – Water
How important is water to a dog? Water makes up more than half of their bodies. Without enough water, their bodies will not function well.
Specifically, this is what water does for your dog:
- digests food
- dissolves nutrients
- transports nutrients to cells
- regulates body temperature
- helps flush down body waste
If they lose even just 10% of water in their bodies, they could die.
One way to ensure they get enough water is to add wet food or canned food to their diet. Wet food is about 80% water. Some pet parents suggest adding water to their kibble or soaking it in water before feeding it to their pets.
Also, make sure they always have clean water available.