Fundamental Dog Nutrients - Protein, Carbs, Fats, Fiber & Vitamins
Tags: Health, Wellness, Food, Nutrition, Vitamins, Dogs, Puppies
Good Canine Nutrition
Dog Food Nutrition Pyramid of Sorts
Protein in Dogs
Fats (essential fatty acids) in Dogs
Carbohydrates in Dogs
Fiber in Dogs
Vitamins and Minerals
Measuring the Actual Nutrient Content from Dog Food Labels
Good canine nutrition is much like good human nutrition in that a complete daily diet should consist of protein, carbohydrates, fats (essential fatty acids), fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Protein is an essential part of any canines diet as it is required for good health, growth, and strong muscles. It is also needed to build a health coat (or any coat at all) and nails and just about any skin and tissue in and on their body. The main function of cells in the dogs body is to assemble protein molecules, which consist of amino acids. The sequence of amino acids in a protein greatly determines the proteins role or function in the body. The essential amino acids, the protein parts, only come from a nutritious diet well developed. Some proteins not made available in the dogs feeding can actually be produced in the body while nonessential amino acids can be synthesized if the dog gets adequate nutrition. Both lean meat and eggs have all of the essential amino acids dogs require for good health. Good sources of protein to look out for in commercial dog food is whole meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Some grains as well as yeast can also provide good protein.
Fat is a very important part of a dogs nutrition as it is required to transport and metabolize certain vitamins in a dogs system. It is also the primary source of energy as well as energy storage. Dogs actually like fat as it adds tasty flavor to any food. Fats are made out of fatty acids which contribute to the dogs health in different ways. Some help absorption of fat soluble vitamins while others break down for utilization. Good sources of fats found in commercial dog food can be found in animal fats and vegetable oils. Omega fatty acids like fish oil can be given as a supplement for arthritis symptoms.
Carbs are compounds used for energy and digestion and supply the body cells with glucose. Carbohydrates come in two forms, simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbohydrates are known as monosaccharides (disaccharides and polysaccharides) and come from starches and sugars, is immediate energy as it is quickly converted to glucose. Complex carbohydrates are stored as glycogen and come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables that contain fiber and take longer to break down. The slower digestion provides a slower but steadier stream of long term energy.
Fiber isn’t itself nutritious for dogs however it is necessary for the digestive process. Fiber is a the structural cell of a plant or vegetable and provides the bulk content for good bowel movement. Wood is almost all fiber, however it’s pretty tough to eat wood but carrots on the other hand are edible and are a nutritious form of fiber. Grain sources of fiber need to be cooked in order to be processed properly.
Good dog nutrition always has proper vitamin and mineral content as they provide the metabolism with mechanisms to process the carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Vitamins are also necessary for good vision and bone growth. Vitamins and mineral help to deliver the nutrition from food to the necessary organs and tissues, they help to regulate growth and affect many nervous system process. Minerals are crucial to health blood flow and healing. More on vitamins and supplements can be found here:
Some of the important vitamins that are essential for dogs are:
- Vitamin A: helps to sustain good vision and bone growth
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): Energy and appetite
- Vitamin B12 Energy and supports intestinal function
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Aids in growth
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): Supports protein metabolization and provides energy
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Energy, Metabolizes protein and forms red blood cells
- Vitamin C: Supports health joints and the immune system
- Vitamin D: Supports metabolize calcium and phosphorus for health bones
- Vitamin E: Helps coat and important for health muscles
- Vitamin K: Aids in proper blood clotting
- Biotin: supports enzyme properties
- Choline: supports the nervous system
- Folic Acid: Helps form red blood cells and works in harmony with vitamin B12
You can get a relatively accurate content analysis from the label by removing the moisture content leaving a dry-weight percentage. This can be used to compare content of fats, proteins and fiber amounts of kibble vs. canned food to help in your research and decisions. Generally, dry kibble has a moisture content of 10% while canned food is 75% moisture.
The calculation follows:
- Find the percentage of protein, fat or fiber
- Find the moisture percentage
- Subtract the moisture percentage from 100 to get the dry-weight percentage
- Divide the protein, fat, or fiber percentage by the dry-weight percentage.
- Multiply that number by 100
The resulting total is equal to the dry-weight percentage. Once you make a few comparisons you are likely to find that dry food and wet food have common properties that reoccur; canned food generally has higher protein content than dry food, while the kibble likely has more fiber.
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