It is pointless to mention how crucial it is to supply your dog with all the essential nutrients its body require to function properly. A well-balanced diet is not only important for the dog’s physical health, but for its emotional health as well. Yes, a well fed dog probably is active, full of energy and enjoys an overall happier life than a dog who is poorly fed. “Ok, so what shall I feed my dog?” is a question that may be going through your head right now. Read on to find all the answers you need to know about your dog’s nutrition…
What are the key nutrients for a balanced & healthy diet?
Water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins are all ingredients that your dog needs within a healthy diet. But what proportion of each nutrient is required – this is actually the more difficult question! However, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has made it easy for you as it has set nutritional guidelines for different pets at different life stages. Examples of food that meets the AFFCO’s guidelines are Orijen puppy food as well as Acana dog food, made by the same manufacturer, Champion Pet Foods.
The table below shows the right proportions of key nutrients your dog should consume, according to the AAFCO guidelines. It is worth mentioning that the nutritional requirements for an adult dog is not the same as for a young puppy. This is because young puppies are growing and developing their bodies, bones and teeth, and hence higher rates of some nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus and proteins, are required to support their growing bodies at this stage.
|Nutrient||Growth & Reproduction||Adult Maintenance Minimum||Adult Maintenance Maximum|
|Copper||7.3 mg/kg||7.3 mg/kg||250 mg/kg|
|Zinc||120 mg/kg||120 mg/kg||1 000 mg/kg|
|Vitamin A||5 000 IU/kg||5 000 IU/kg||250 000 IU/kg|
|Vitamin D||500 IU/kg||500 IU/kg||5 000 IU/kg|
|Vitamin E||50 IU/kg||50 IU/kg||1 000 IU/kg|
|Thiamine||1.0 mg/kg||1.0 ,g/lg||-|
For a more detailed guideline on all essential nutrients required, have a look at this link.
What type of food to choose for my dog?
As a dog owner, you have more than one option to choose from. Some people prefer homemade food, while others go for commercial ones. But which is the best? Let’s see the pros and cons of each type.
Homemade food: For your budget, this option is probably the best. However, for your dog’s well-being homemade food is not so good. Well, let’s be realistic. It is really difficult to provide your dog with the right proportion of all essential nutrients with homemade food. Thus, homemade food may not form a well-balanced diet for your dog.
Commercial food: commercial food labeled to follow the AAFCO nutrition guideline will let you rest assured that your dog is having all required nutrients with the exact proportions in his diet. Thus it is really important to check that the brand of food you choose has this label. In addition, it is also crucial to buy food that is suitable for your dog’s age because a young puppy’s nutritional requirements are not the same as an adult dog. Hence make sure to check the AAFCO label along with the life stage label of the food before you buy it. There are 2 types of commercial food: dry and moist. You want to typically look at the best puppy food brand you can find in order to get a good example of the essential nutrients it needs to contain.
Dry food: Nowadays, there are lots of dry food brands. Generally, dry food is a good option and has more than one advantage. First, the big plus of this type of dog food is that it has a long shelf-life and does not even need to be refrigerated. Moreover, you can fill up your dog’s bowl with a big portion of dry food that will last for the whole day (or even a couple of days) without worrying about the food getting ruined. We don’t particularly recommend this method of feeding though as we strongly believe in following a strict feeding schedule to keep your dog’s weight under control. On the other hand, dry food is dry, which means it does not help with your dog’s hydration.
Moist food: Unlike dry food, moist food has a shorter shelf-life and once the can has been opened it must be refrigerated. Furthermore, you can’t leave large portions of moist food for your dog to last the whole day because it will get spoiled after a few hours. The good thing about it is though is that it is easy to eat and swallow, especially for younger puppies who may find dry food difficult to chow down.