Dog nutrition: What are the important nutrients for your dog?

To function properly and to get sufficient amounts of energy, your body requires a wide variety of nutrients in a balance. Nutrients are essential for a person’s survival too.  Similarly, dogs also require all the vital nutrients for their growth, functioning, and survival. The lack of any of the vital nutrients could cause your dog to fall sick or even die.

Dog food that has the label ‘complete and balanced’ usually contain all the necessary, nutrients, vitamins and minerals as they are prepared specially to satisfy all the nutritional requirements of your dogs. Commercial dog food is also prepared using different amounts of nutrients for different stages of your dog’s life. Depending on whether your dog is a puppy, adult or a senior you can choose a food that is designed for that particular stage of life.

If you prefer to give your dog home cooked meals, you need to have a clear understanding of all the important nutrients and how to maintain a nutritional balance in the diet. Consult a vet regularly to ensure that your dog does not lack any of the vital nutrients required. You can check out to help your dog stay calm and relaxed while consulting a vet.

The vital nutrients required for a dog

Protein enriched diet

The protein comprises amino acids which are considered to be the building blocks of life. It supplies your dog with the required amounts of energy. It is considered to be a macronutrient that works side by side with fats and carbohydrates. The optimal function of a body depends on hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and neurotransmitters which are made by proteins. The growth of bones, muscles, and hair also depends on it. During the absence of fats and carbohydrates, protein supplies the required energy. People who prefer to feed their dogs with home-cooked food can include eggs, meat with lean muscles, fish, beans and lentils as they are rich in proteins. The puppies and the dogs that are lactating or pregnant require twice the amount of proteins compared to an adult dog.

The necessary vitamins

Dogs require vitamins in small quantities for good metabolism. There are two kinds of vitamins.

  • Fat soluble
  • Vitamin K: required for blood to clot
  • Vitamin D: Levels of phosphorus and calcium are regulated
  • Vitamin A: Boosts immune system
  • Vitamin E: Serves as antioxidants

These vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues.

  • Water soluble
  • Vitamin C: Serves as antioxidants
  • Vitamin B: Function of the nervous system

These vitamins cannot be stored in the body.

To get all the important vitamins you need to feed your dog, plant-based food products that dog-friendly, and meat including organs and muscles. If your dog’s diet is home cooked it is important to include vitamin supplements.


Compared to carbohydrates and proteins, fats contain double the amount of calories. Your dog gets the highest source of energy through fats. Fats are also necessary to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, to regulate the temperature of the body and to protect internal organs. Including hemp seed oil, flaxseed oil, fish (low in mercury) and fish oils in the diet of your dog would give them the necessary amount of healthy fats.

Healthy carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are not essential for dogs as they can absorb glucose from dietary fats and proteins. However, carbohydrates can supply your dog with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that promote good health. Grains that are free of gluten, fruits, and vegetables that are dog-friendly and legumes can be included in your dog’s diet.

Minerals for your dog

Your dog requires sufficient minerals for good metabolism and for a number of bodily functions essential for life. Calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper, zinc, potassium and sodium are some of the important minerals that have to be absorbed from the diet. Meat including organs and bones, and shellfish can be included in your dog’s diet as they are rich in different kinds of minerals.


Around 70 to 80 percent of a dog’s body mass comprises of water. Some of the important functions of water include dissolving nutrients and transporting it to cells, regulating temperature, and flushing out waste from the body. Your dog should have access to clean water always.

Most of the time home-cooked food need not contain all the nutrients required for your canine companion. Unless you give the necessary supplements to fill in the gaps due to lack of complete nutrients, you could bring harm to your dog. Visit your vet regularly to ensure that your dog is healthy and happy.

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