Dog Nutrition: Essential Nutrients for Health and Feeding Basics
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There’s a lot to know when it comes to selecting the best dog food for your newly-adopted pup, and it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make to ensure he lives a long and healthy life. With that said, we’ve broken down the fundamentals of dog nutrition, what to look for when selecting that perfect food, and the basics of feeding.
The bottom line is dogs need protein to thrive, and it’s one of the most important ingredients to look for when assessing different dog food brands. What is the first ingredient listed on the dog food bag or can? It’s important the first ingredient is a protein because the first ingredient listed on the nutritional label on your dog’s food will be the most prominent.
You may be wondering why protein is so important. For dogs, protein is a very important source of essential amino acids and energy. “Protein is an important part of a dog’s diet,” said Dr. Bradley Quest, DVM. “Protein is made up of 22 amino acids, which can be thought of as the building blocks of protein.
Twelve of these amino acids a dog makes in their body, but the other ten need to be supplied by animal sources such as meat, poultry, fish in the dog’s diet.”
When reading the nutritional label on the Inception dog food line, for example, you’ll find protein is the first ingredient listed. As an example of this is the Inception Pork Recipe, which not only has pork but also comes with pork meal, oats, millet, milo, among other ingredients. The pork in the Inception Pork recipe comes from the farmlands of Iowa, where the farms are owned and ran by local farmers, and agriculture is thriving.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are very important and serve a vital role when it comes to the health and development of our pups. Because of this, many pet food brands include vitamins and minerals while making food. Inception dog food recipes contain important vitamins and minerals for your dog, such as vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement.
Vitamin A is great for supporting your dog’s vision. Vitamin D3 is great for dogs’ skin since they can’t get vitamin D from the sun. Last but not least, vitamin E helps your dog develop healthy and strong muscles and keeps their immune system strong.
AAFCO may be one thing that may stand out to on the dog food bag or can. AAFCO stands for The Association of American Feed Control Officials, and they have guidelines outlined for pet food companies to meet when creating their foods.
With that in mind, it’s important to make sure any dog food you’re assessing for your dog has the AAFCO statement. What this means is the pet food has been created to AAFCO nutrient requirements or has undertaken AAFCO feeding studies to help ensure it meets your dog’s nutritional requirements to stay healthy.
Follow the feeding guidelines listed on the dog food you’re feeding your dog is a great rule to follow. These feeding guidelines will be based on age and weight. “Older dogs typically do not need to consume as many calories to maintain their ideal body weight, and it may be a good idea to consider a senior diet or less caloric dense diet to keep your older pet from becoming overweight,” said Dr. Quest.
For example, when comparing Inception to other pet food brands that recommend you feed 1 to 1 ½ cups for dogs who are 10 pounds or less and between 1-3 months old, for Inception, you will feed ¼ to ¾ cups per day despite the dog’s age. When comparing a second pet food brand who recommends you feed 1 to 2 ½ cups for a 2 to a 3-month-old dog weighing 3 to 12 pounds, again with Inception, you feed ¼ to ¾ cups per day despite the dog’s age.
Adopting a new dog is a fun and rewarding experience, and diet is very important in ensuring their lifelong health. If you have any specific questions about your dog’s diet needs, consult with your veterinarian.