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Dog Food 101

Dog Food Nutrients

dog food nutrients

Dog food can provide a lot of essential nutrition elements to the dog. Among many of them, here’s a list of 6 major nutrients provided from dog food:


 (1) Carbohydrate
      Carbohydrates, which contains mainly sugar and fiber, are the main source of energy for dog. Dog requires a lot of energy to maintain its physical activities, heartbeat, blood circulation, gastric motility, muscle contraction and other activities. 80% of these energy needed comes from carbohydrates.
     The daily requirement of carbohydrate for adult dogs is 10 grams per kilogram of body weight; and 15.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for puppies.
(2) Protein
Proteins are the main source to form the body tissue and body cells for the dog. It serves the main purpose of water balancing, nutrient transport, and muscle contractions etc.

The dog’s ability to digest protein vary depends on different food source ingredients. For animal viscera and meat, it can digest up to 90-95% of protein. For plant feed, such as soybean protein, it can only digest 60-80% of it. If the dog food contains too much non-digestible vegetable protein, it will cause abdominal pain or diarrhea; Moreover, excessive degradation of the protein will increase the burden on the liver and kidneys.
In general, adult dog’s daily intake of protein should be 4-8 grams per kilogram of body weight, and 9.6 grams per kilogram of body weight for the dog in their growing stage.

(3) Fat
Fat is an important component of dog’s body, which participates in the formation and repairs of almost all the cells. Fat exists in the dog's skin, bones, muscles, nerves, blood, and visceral organs. Dogs’ body fat accounted for 10-20% of body weight.
Fat is also an important source of energy. The lack of fat will result the symptoms of itchy skin, increased dander, dry and rough fur, and possible ear infections.
Moderate intake of fat can stimulate dog’s appetite, making food more palatable for them, while accelerating the assimilation of vitamins A, D, E, and K. The assimilation rate of fat for dog is almost 100%.
For adult dog, the daily intake of fat is 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight, and 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight for dogs during their growing stage.
(4) Minerals
Minerals, which includes elements such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium and iron, are another essential nutrient for dog.
Minerals can help to regulate dog’s body acid-base balance, muscle contraction, and nerve reaction.
Dogs will most likely lack the calcium and phosphorus. These deficiencies can lead to many bone diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia (puppies), osteoporosis (Adult dog). Calcium and phosphorus imbalance can also result to leg disease (leg lame, etc.).
Sodium and chlorine may be missing in some of the dog food, therefore small amount of salt should be added to the feed.
(5) Vitamins
Vitamin is molecular organic compounds which cannot be synthesized from the body. The main source of vitamins needs to come from dog food.
Vitamins do not provide energy, but they are indispensable. Lack of certain types of vitamin can cause metabolic disorders for the dogs.
Fat-soluble vitamins: vitamin A, D, E, K, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, choline) and vitamin C.

(6) Water

Did you know that dog can survive three weeks without food, but will die within days without water.
Water can transport essential chemicals within the body, as well as get rid of the body waste. It also regulates body temperature, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract.
Adult dogs should be given 100 ml of clean drinking water per kilogram of body weight every day; and puppies for 150 ml water per kilogram of body weight.