What Type of Dog Food is Best for My Dog?
Getting down to the ‘4 Basics “of your dog’s nutrition really is not that difficult.
1. Proteins 2. Carbohydrates 3. Fats 4. Calories
Sure, we know what role it plays in our lives, but do you really know what role it plays in your dog? Let’s take a good look and break it down one-by-one, because as a dog owner, it’s important to be knowledgeable on your dog’s nutrition so you can provide a healthy lifestyle for them.
1. PROTEIN ON DOGS
This is a very important part of any diet because it allows the continued growth and development of their immune system. Amino acids are ingested as protein and are the key element to this nutrient. A deficiency in any of the amino acids can result in illness and death.
Your dog needs up to 22 amino acids. (12 of them they can produce on their own) It is up to us to provide our pet the rest and this is through a healthy diet. The remaining amino acids are as follows: arinine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Are you confused yet? Do not worry it’s not as hard as you think.
It is not enough that the dog food you buy has just “some” protein sources. The protein quality is known as the “biological value”, with an egg as the highest at 100. To put this in perspective, beef has a 78 in biological value with meat and bone meal at 50. This means that dog food with beef instead of “vague meat and bone meal” has a better protein quality and provides more amino acids that your dog can use.
Premium brand dog foods are the ones with better protein quality. Please do not buy dog food that has bone meal or by-products in the ingredients! READ LABELS!
2. CARBOHYDRATES ON DOGS
Oh those horrible carbs! Is not that what makes us fat? Not so fast my little doggie friends, we’re talking about your dog. Carbohydrates include all sugars and starches. They provide energy and are a source of bulk in their diet. They should make up NO MORE than 50% of a dog’s balanced diet. 2-5% of that should come from fiber.
Your dog can convert large amounts of carbohydrates into the same energy they get from proteins. This is not necessarily a bad thing just as long as they are in a digestible form. However, there is a downside. Even though eating lots of carbohydrates can give them energy, your dog MUST be exercised to burn off those extra calories or else those carbs will turn to fat. So be careful when choosing a dog food. Read those labels. This is the reason you should always buy a Premium dog food. An alternative would be to just make your own dog food so you know exactly what’s in it.
For anyone who has ever had to go on a diet, the word “fat” seems to be our enemy. But in reality, fats are a needed nutrient in your dog’s diet and health as long as they are the right type and your dog gets enough exercise. Here are some benefits:
-it helps the skin to remain healthy -it keeps their coat healthy -helps with kidney function -assists in temperature regulation -allow your dog to store food
The fatty acids that make up dietary fats include arachidonic, linolenic, and linoleic. When looking for foods with fatty acids, vegetable oils that can be found through soy, peanuts, and corn are all high in linoleci acid, while meat fats contain small amounts of this acid, along with arachidonic acid. Fats from certain kinds of vitamins such as F, D, E, A, and K help with hormones and Omega 3 and Omega 6 help with the body’s response to swelling, and inflammation.
Dry dog food needs 5% to 13% fat. This variances due to the type of food and any specialized conditions and feeding requirements. Please remember that fats in dog food can be harmful if your dog does not get enough exercise. (fats contain twice the calories of both carbs and proteins) It’s not a good idea to feed your dog fat free dog food. This type of dog food has chemicals in it that are harmful to your pet. Premium dog foods are often the ones with the purest form of Fats and fatty acids, unlike some of the other commercially available foods.
Calories play a significant role in your dog’s diet. They are used to measure energy and are gained from food intake through protein, carbohydrates, and fats, and should be taken seriously because it will determine how healthy your dog is.
Your dog does require a certain amount of calorie intake daily. If he / she is very active, they will need more calories. If your dog is inactive they will obviously need less but you can guarantee he / she will be overweight.
Puppies and younger dogs will need more calories, too. Sometimes they need up to twice the requirement for their body weight. If calorie intake is more than the rate your dog can burn them off, those calories will be stored as fat. Again, I can not say it enough … please exercise your dog. They will be a lot healthier, too.
Here is a general guideline to determine how many calories your dog may need:
Small dogs who are generally active and who weigh less than 20 pounds (9.07 kg) will need around 40 calories per pound each day.
Larger dogs over 100 pounds (45.36 kg) will use 15 calories per pound daily.
The rule of thumb is this: a dog will need 25 calories per pound each day to maintain a healthy weight.