Nutrition | AuthorityDog

Your Pampered Pooch Deserves Nutritious Food - Don't Skimp Out

The world is becoming increasingly more obsessed with dog nutrition and dog food is really no different. It stands to reason that there should be an upswing in food consciousness; particularly with documentaries and reality shows being churned out on what seems like a daily basis. Junk food is out, wholesome food is in. If you deserve adequate nutrition, your pet does too.

The market is flooded with mass-produced dog foods that are little more than a combination of maize flour, wheat, and bone meal. That's hardly adequate for any living creature to survive on. It's time that dog owners learn what's right for their four-legged furkids.

What Your Pet Really Needs

Both dogs and humans rely on six major classes of nutrients for their survival:

  • water 
  • protein
  • fat 
  • carbohydrates 
  • minerals 
  • vitamins

Water

It almost goes without saying that life can't exist without water. Approximately 70% to 80% of an adult dog's lean body mass is made up of H20. The all-important functions of water include the transportation of nutrients to the cells and assisting in regulating body temperature. Additionally, water hydrolizes protein, fats, and carbohydrates for digestion and flushes waste from the dog's body.

Protein

This macronutrient supplies energy to the dog's body. Made up of amino acids, proteins help to promote strong and healthy fur, skin, claws, muscles, and bones. They are also necessary for the production of hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, and enzymes that keep your pup's body functioning at optimal conditions. Protein is also capable of supplying energy when there is a lack of carbohydrates and fats.

A dog's body can't store protein, which is why it needs a constant dietary supply thereof. In order to receive essential amino acids from their diet, they need to be given foods that contain lean-muscle meats, fish, and eggs. Certain plant-based foods also contain the right kinds of amino acids. These include beans and lentils, which should really only be included in smaller amounts.

Fat

On the face of it, fat is a macronutrient made up of fatty acids. Within your dog's diet, fat is the most concentrated source of energy. It offers more than twice as much energy as protein or carbohydrates and enables the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Additionally, this macronutrient provides essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids whilst assisting in regulating body temperature and offering the nervous system a serious health boost.

The best sources of fat for your dog are low-mercury fish and fish oil as well as plant-based oils like hempseed and flax. Fatty table scraps are somewhat of a no-no as overindulgence in fat can trigger certain gastrointestinal problems.

Vitamins

These organic compounds are required for optimum metabolic function. They play the following crucial roles in your dog's body:

  • Boosting the immune system (Vitamin A)
  • Maintaining nervous system function (Vitamin B12)
  • Offering antioxidant functions (Vitamins E and C)
  • Regulating phosphorous and calcium levels (Vitamin D)
  • Ensuring that the blood clots when necessary (Vitamin K)

    Vitamins A, D, E, and K are soluble in fat whilst vitamins B and C are soluble in water. While the fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver, water-soluble vitamins aren't stored at all. Vitamins need to come from your dog's diet because they can't be synthesized by the body in sufficient amounts. A varied diet which contains both organ and muscle, as well as dog-safe plant-based foods, is generally the way to go. 

Minerals

These inorganic compounds help your dog's body to maintain all the proper metabolic functions. As an inorganic compound, a mineral cannot be naturally produced in the body itself and as such needs to be found in external food sources.


Minerals for dog nutrition.There are two major classes of mineral, namely:


Microminerals - iron, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iodine.
Macrominerals - calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and chloride.

The body requires macrominerals in larger amounts than microminerals, though the latter is no less important for optimum physical health. Much like vitamins, minerals fulfill a wide variety of functions within your dog's body. Calcium and phosphorus are a major part of your dog's bone structure. Iron assists in transporting oxygen within the body. Zinc helps to speed up the healing process. Sodium, chloride, and potassium help to regulate fluid balance and selenium helps to provide antioxidant support.

Minerals can be found in a wide variety of different foods including shellfish, organ meats, and other lean meats.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are made up of starches, sugars, and indigestible fibers. Surprisingly enough, dogs are able to synthesize glucose from fat and protein. This means that carbohydrates are not strictly necessary for canine nutrition. However, it is important to note that carbs supply a variety of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, so ensuring that they are a part of your dog's mealtime routine is definitely a good idea.

Healthy carbs can be found in dog-friendly fruits and vegetables, and gluten-free grains.

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