All living beings need a variety of nutrients from food that provide energy and enable us to function and survive. As we begin this journey it is important to know what exactly is needed for the best diet we can provide for our dogs, making sure they have all the nutrients they need in the proper form and amount. Please please note if your dogs has any medical issues or concerns, you must do your research on what is best for them. Raw is a great options but you need to remember that they need the best amount of nutrients to provide a balanced diet. SO:
There are six major classes of nutrients for dogs and people: water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Water: (1 oz per lb of dog**)
Water makes up 70 to 80 percent of a mature dog’s lean body mass. Water helps with: dissolving and transporting nutrients to the cells; helping regulate body temperature; hydrolyzing protein, fat and carbohydrates for digestion; cushioning the organs and nervous system; flushing waste from the body.
The amount of water will vary **based on health, activity level and environmental temperature. Most dogs self-regulate their water intake to meet their needs. Dogs fed high-moisture foods typically drink less than kibble-fed dogs. All dogs should always have access to clean, fresh H2O. On average a healthy dog drinks about ½ to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.
Protein: (building blocks for strong muscles and repair)
Protein supplies essential and non-essential amino acids that are critical to proper functioning systems in your pet’s life. Proteins help your pets body structure like healthy fur/hair, skin, nails, muscles and bones. Proteins are necessary to make hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes and antibodies that keep the body functioning properly.
Dogs must receive the essential amino acids from diet, as their bodies cannot produce them at the required levels. Protein can also supply energy when carbohydrates and fats are not part of their daily diet. Pets can’t store protein and can only produce ½ of the required amount they will need proper proteins in their food.
Please not special attention must be given to growing puppies, pregnant and lactating females they will require twice the amount of protein for maintenance.
Fats: (provide energy, maintain healthy skin & coat)
Fat supplies the most concentrated source of energy, with more than twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrates. It also provides essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; enables absorption of fat-soluble vitamins; protects the internal organs; regulates body temperature; and promotes a healthy nervous system.
Too much fat can trigger pancreatitis or gastrointestinal issues. Avoid fatty table scraps.
Vitamins: (help provide good health & support)
Vitamins are required in small quantities for proper metabolic function. Vitamins can be soluble in fat (A, D, E and K) or in water (B and C). Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fatty tissues and the liver; water-soluble vitamins are not stored. Because the body can’t synthesize vitamins in sufficient quantities, they must come from the diet.
Vitamins play a variety of critical roles, including: regulating calcium and phosphorus levels (D); boosting the immune system (A); serving as antioxidants (C and E); enabling the blood to clot (K); and maintaining nervous system function (B12). All home-prepared diets require vitamin supplementation.
Minerals: (help the body perform and prevent)
There are two classes of minerals: macro-minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chloride) and micro-minerals (iron, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, iodine). Macro-minerals are required by the body in higher levels than micro-minerals, but both are equally important.
Minerals perform a variety of functions in the body that are essential for supporting life, including: constituting a major part of bones (calcium, phosphorus); carrying oxygen throughout the body (iron); assisting in wound healing (zinc); providing antioxidant support (selenium); aiding in nerve transmission (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium); and regulating fluid balance (sodium, chloride, potassium).
Growing puppies require more than double the calcium as they grow so quickly and will need the support of proper minerals. Calcium and phosphorus levels and ratios must be monitored closely in all growing puppies.
Carbohydrates: (provides energy, in processed dog food)
A macronutrient made up of units of sugars, starches or indigestible fiber. Since dogs can synthesize glucose from sufficient dietary protein and fat, carbohydrates are the only nutrient class that is not essential for dogs. Why they’re important: Carbohydrates are the main source of glucose, the “fuel” the body runs on. Although carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient for dogs, healthy carbohydrates supply important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant-based nutrients that help promote optimum health.
Consuming a portion of energy from healthy carbohydrates spares protein for other important functions. Most commercial kibble is produced with grains, wheat, corn, rice, barley to give kibble structure and texture, and to make kibble easy to digest and allows healthy dogs to function with processed proteins.
Where to find your best options:
Water: Clean and readily available (1oz water per lb of dog)
Protein: Whole egg(1 egg equals 6 grams of protein)
Fat: Sardines(low in mercury, nutrient rich, high in Omega 3 acids EPA & DHA)
Carbs: Butternut squash(High in Vitamin A & C, loaded with antioxidant rich carotenes has a great source of vitamins, minerals, vitamin E, B6, magnesium, manganese and potassium.
Vitamins:Dark Leafy Greens(rich in Vitamin A, C, E, K and folate, carotenoids and many minerals, they are shown to protect against Cancer)
Minerals:Oysters(source of Copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and Vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acid)