NUTRITION FOR ALL LIFE STAGES
Water is a basic necessity of life. Water constitutes 70-80% of the body mass of an adult dog. As long as you make fresh water available to your dog you need not worry if he is eating dry food or wet food or if he is drinking enough. Your dog will drink the amount of water he needs depending on activity level, temperature, and what he eats as long as it is available.
Proteins are the source of the 20 amino acids that are the individual building blocks the body needs and uses to grow the body, operate it, and replace anything that gets damaged or wears out. Nine of them are considered “essential” because the body cannot produce them itself and must get them directly from food.
Jillian Kubala, MS, RD in an article for “Healthline” wrote,
“Unlike nonessential amino acids, essential amino acids can’t be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet.The best sources of essential amino acids are animal proteins like meat, eggs and poultry.”
The high quality, most nutritious dog foods have between 30% and 40% protein, and over 90% of that is named animal sourced protein, not protein from plant sources. Many less expensive dog foods use rendered protein from reprocessed euthanized dogs and cats as well as road kill or food waste from markets and
restaurants. Nutritious food will say Chicken meal or Turkey meal, or another named protein meal as their protein source. Chicken meal has 5 times more protein than Chicken because the water and fat has already been removed.
Fats are the concentrated source of energy and are made up of fatty acids. Fats provide twice the calories compared to protein and carbohydrates. The essential fatty acids that a dog requires in its diet are omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
An adult dog requires 5-15% fat in their daily diet. Fats perform the necessary functions in the body, as they promote the growth of the healthy nervous system and regulate body temperature.
Carbohydrates are a combination of starches and sugar that provide glucose for humans. They are not essential for dogs, because dogs can produce glucose from protein in a process called Gluconeogenesis. However, some carbohydrates are necessary to make a dry kibble dog food hold its shape. The carbohydrate should be a low glycemic carb, like cassava root, and not a grain or potato which have a high glycemic rating. Carbs are much less expensive than high quality animal sourced protein and less nutritious foods usually have a higher percentage of carbs versus protein.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Vitamins are the organic molecules that a body needs to grow and develop properly. Basically, vitamins are needed in small amounts to maintain proper body function. There are 13 basic vitamins that are
necessary for the diet, and these vitamins are A, E, D, K, B1, B2, B6, and B12. Vitamins play many important roles: they stimulate the immune system, balance calcium, and phosphorous levels, and serve as antioxidants.
Minerals are chemical elements that are necessary to perform various functions in the body. Animals cannot prepare minerals in their bodies and need them from external sources. There are two types of minerals: macro minerals and micro minerals. The macro minerals are (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride)
The essential micro minerals are (iodine, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, selenium). Both types of minerals are important to dogs, but higher amounts of macro minerals are required than micro minerals.
ALL LIFE STAGE NUTRITION
The dog's nutritional needs are fairly constant throughout its entire lifetime, contrary to some marketing claims; it is only the volume of food the dog eats, if it is balanced, nutritious, and species appropriate, that needs to be adjusted depending on whether the dog is a puppy, pregnant, nursing, or an adult. You don’t need different formulas. Mother Nature doesn’t provide different formulas of food for her Wolves depending on their age or pregnancy status, the wolves just eat more of what is nutritious.
Dogs and wolves in the wild basically eat the same diet their entire lives because it is nutritious and species appropriate.
Dogs ability to digest protein lessens a bit as it gets older so it needs more protein not less, as is commonly thought, or added enzymes to help it digest the protein as it ages. Regardless of the age, or life stage of the dog it simply needs a nutritionally balanced food that is high protein (30% to 40%) with over 90% of it being animal sourced protein versus vegetable protein. There should be no high glycemic carbohydrates like grain or potatoes and it needs a quality animal fat. The nutrients need to be balanced to each other not just added independently between some high / low limit set by AAFCO. There are about 7 symbiotic nutrients that must be balanced to each other to work correctly like Calcium to Potassium, Calcium to Phosphorous, Calcium to Zinc, and 4 others. If the food is of high nutritional quality and well balanced then it will be appropriate and healthy to feed your dog that highly nutritious food for a lifetime.