Nutritional needs for dogs, what you need to know

Nutritional needs for dogs

The nutritional needs for dogs depend on various factors but the essential nutrients are the same ones for all canines.

A dog that does not suffer from food disorders can control itself its ration of food. It is still necessary that the servings fill its nutritional needs.

Understand the nutritional needs for dogs

One could think that small race dogs have less nutritional needs than the large ones. It is absolutely not the case, and even the opposite; proportionally speaking with the weight, since they are determined by body surface, among other things.

Various factors indeed make the nutritional needs for a dog vary: its age first of all – they are twice more important for a pup, then decrease with the years -, the lifestyle of the dog, its environment, etc.

An animal which lives in the cold will need more energy (to maintain its temperature body), just as a working dog or one that does a lot of exercise.

Thus, in period of hunting, a pointer or runner will multiply its nutritional needs by two or three compared to the periods of rest. And even within such a group of dogs, the needs will be different according to whether your companion makes efforts over a duration of time or, on the contrary, on short and intense efforts, in which case it will need more lipids. Another factor is the relationship between thin tissue (the muscles) and adipose tissue (the fat) of the dog.

Which rations for my dog?

The calculation of the estimated energy requirement for maintenance (EERM) results from an equation that takes into account the weight of the animal and its living conditions. To make it simple, a middle age dog, with an ideal weight of 10 kg and in good health will need 730 kCal per day whereas for the same dog in overweight and lethargic, we would recommend only 370 KCal per day.

All that it is necessary to well feed your dog

The dog is not a carnivore but an omnivore. To give him a diet exclusively on meat would be a mistake. Admittedly, proteins play a great part in its food since they account for 15 to 25% of the food intake. A sporting dog will need moreover 15 % of lipids (5 to 10 % for an animal which has no activity). As for carbohydrates, they will not exceed 40 or 50 %.

Vitamins and minerals

In addition to the vitamins, minerals are absolutely necessary to the dog. This is particularly for calcium and phosphorus, essential to its bones growth and renal function. As for its cardiovascular system, it is protected by sodium and chloride. Concretely, choose a mineral corrector whose calcium ratio on phosphorus is equal to 2 (Ca/P = 2).

And fibers?

As for fibers, they facilitate the intestinal transit and bring a feeling of satiety. They come from vegetables, which represent on average a third of the ration. It should be noted that we can help a dog in overweight by increasing this fiber rate.

Should we change the menu?

Once you have chosen the composition of the menu for your dog, it is not recommended to modify it with the risk to cause diarrhea. If you really wish to vary the tastes, proceed by stages and replace one ingredient at a time.