best nutrition generally for all dogs
So we’ve learnt so far that small breed dogs benefit from diets that are calorie-dense, moist, contain small pieces, and that they don’t need to be quite as high in calcium as foods for larger breeds. Lets look now at what some other factors you should look out for in dog food, regardless of whether you’re dealing with a large or small breed.
We all know that a balanced diet can ensure a healthy happy life! But, have you ever wondered what goes into creating the perfect balanced diet for your dog? AAFCO (the US regulator of pet foods) outlines requirements for 37 different nutrients and that’s not necessarily all there is to consider. More and more research is released each year into pet nutrition. Here’s the main elements to consider:
Protein is made up of amino acids, and all dogs require 10 essential amino acids included in their diet. These include arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. As a general rule of thumb, an adult dog should have a minimum of 18% protein in their diet. However, higher protein levels are much preferred and puppies or lactating bitches especially have higher protein requirements
Dogs are considered facultative carnivores which means that dogs are most often carnivores but they’re pretty adaptable scavengers and can survive on a vegetarian or vegan diet. However dogs thrive best on meat based proteins.
Fats and fatty acids
Fat is another important macronutrient that is essential to your dogs diet. Saturated fats (including fats from meat) are a great energy source, and when readily available, ensure more protein is used for muscle building and repair (rather than solely energy). Polyunsaturated fats are also essential – these include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fatty-acids have an array of functions in your dog’s body including
• maintaining normal physiological and cellular processes
• maintaining normal functioning of smooth muscles, and
• helping mediate inflammatory responses
Without fatty-acids, a dog could develop severe skin and coat conditions, eye diseases, constant allergies, and even digestive problems.
Carbohydrates aren’t technically necessary in a dogs diet but are digestible and can help form an important source of energy alongside protein and fats. They can also help form part of the roughage of a food which can help regulate bowel movements and reduce the possibility of anal gland blockages which is what causes some dogs to scoot uncomfortably around the lounge.
The key is that the proportion of carbohydrates should be relatively low as it is not as important as other energy sources in the food.