Dog food contains many important ingredients. Some of the most popular are: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. A complete dog diet also includes fiber.
Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that helps keep the gut healthy and normal. It can also help with weight management and diabetes. Using a high-fiber dog food diet may even help prevent chronic canine conditions.
Proteins are essential for dog’s growth, development and overall health. They are needed for the creation of energy, muscle tissue and amino acids. They also play an important role in the formation of nails, hair, skin and cartilage.
Proteins can be obtained from animal or plant sources. But the latter cannot provide all of the amino acids your dog needs. Animal protein must be a part of a complete dog food meal. Ideally, it should be from a quality source.
The most commonly used source of protein in commercial pet food is chicken meal. However, the top ingredient in many dog foods is actually chicken fat. This is a good source of phosphorus, potassium and carotenoids. You might consider using a dog food supplement made from fish oil or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These can help improve your dog’s coat and brain.
Carrots are another great source of nutrients. They contain a variety of vitamins, including vitamins C and K. Additionally, they are rich in potassium, fiber, and phosphorus. They have anti-inflammatory properties. Avoid feeding your dog kale, as it can cause bladder stones.
Fish oil capsules are another good source of omega-3 fatty acids. They can improve your dog’s brain and reduce arthritic pain. Also, they can help with chronic canine conditions such as giardia and salmonella.
Choline is a vitamin that is important to your dog. Choline is found in a variety of foods, such as cereal germs, lecithin, glandular meals, and egg yolks. Deficiencies of choline can result in fatty livers, stunted growth, increased blood clotting times, and other health issues.
Niacin is a B3 vitamin that is related to pantothenic acid. Deficiencies of niacin can result in blood in feces, convulsions, and death. Most commercial pet foods have niacin added.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines the ingredients in commercial pet foods. Products must undergo proper analyses and testing to ensure that they meet the nutrient requirements of dogs.
Many people think that dog food contains more protein than it actually does. While this is true, the AAFCO’s minimum for adult dog food is 18% protein. For high-energy dogs, this level should be closer to 20%. Your vet can help you determine whether or not your dog’s diet is lacking in certain nutrients.
Another important factor is how much your dog is active. If your dog is sedentary, he may not need a very high-calorie diet. On the other hand, if your dog is highly active, he will need a food with at least 20% carbohydrates.
Finally, you should consult your veterinarian before switching your dog’s food. In addition, you should have him recheck his nutritional status twice a year. This can include a physical examination, body condition scoring, and gastrointestinal absorption testing.