Most of us have some version of a food pyramid ingrained in our minds, courtesy of what we learned in school. However, most of us might not have the same visual clarity when it comes to a food pyramid for our dogs. A complete, balanced, and wholesome diet for your furry friend is the best way to help them achieve longevity, health, and overall wellness. Here is a complete guide to a dog’s nutrition.
The Five Important Nutrients in The Dog Food Pyramid
For every dog, there’s a different definition of a balanced diet, based on factors like age, size, and breed. Regardless, there are certain basic nutritional requirements to ensure the wellness of an adult dog, as discussed below.
Vitamins play an important role in regulating several important bodily functions for a dog. These include helping in DNA synthesis and energy release from nutrients, eye function, bone development and strengthening, ensuring blood clotting, nerve signal transmission, and maintenance of cell structure.
Vitamins should constitute less than one percent of your dog’s diet. Some important vitamins to include are Folic Acid and Vitamin D3. Dairy products, fish oil, liver, and sweet potatoes are vitamin powerhouses.
Minerals are akin to behind-the-scenes superheroes when it comes to dog nutrition! They typically constitute about two to four percent of your dog’s diet. Minerals contribute to your doggo’s blood clotting mechanism, muscle function, healthy bones and teeth, nutrient metabolism and absorption, cell function, and nerve transmission.
Some important minerals that your dog might need include calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, and tricalcium phosphate. Bone meal, fish, muscle, and organ meats are some good sources of minerals.
Depending on your dog’s age and activity levels, their diet should contain about fifteen to twenty-five percent of healthy fat content. Fish oil and beef fat are rich sources of this nutritional group.
Fat contributes to your dog’s energy levels while improving the absorption of fat-soluble compounds like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These nutrients help in the maintenance of healthy skin and coat, boost the immune system, and aid in the development of your dog’s brain, vision, and joints.
Regarded as the building blocks of your furball’s body, proteins and amino acids are responsible for building their organs and tissues like tendons, muscles, fur, blood, and skin. Proteins also function as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.
This nutritional group should constitute seventeen to thirty percent of your dog’s diet. Beef and salmon are excellent sources of protein. It’s important to note that while dogs’ predecessors, wolves, were carnivores who relied on animal sources of protein, modern dogs are considered omnivores. This means that, unlike cats, dogs can fulfill their protein requirements with plant-based sources like a corn-gluten meal.
Healthy carbs and fibers should constitute twenty-eight to fifty-five percent of your dog’s food. Carbs are essential sources of glucose for energy and help your dog’s body stay warm. It is stored in their bodies as glycogen.
Fiber helps in maintaining the health of your dog’s colon and keeps weight and obesity at bay. Consider adding barley, blueberries, and beet pulp to your dog’s diet as they’re rich in healthy carbohydrates and fiber.
Every dog will have a differently-tailored food pyramid, based on certain factors like age, weight, breed, and size. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins are essential nutrients that’ll help you curate a complete and balanced diet for your furball. As far as possible, select high-quality, minimally processed foods. After consulting a vet, you can also consider whole-food vitamin supplements, if you’re concerned your dog isn’t getting enough.