Your puppy depends on a number of different nutrients for his health. This article discusses what they are and how they work
Your puppy depends on a number of different nutrients in order to be healthy. Each nutrient fulfils certain needs, so the body has to get them in a specific quantity and in the right ratio. The need for energy suppliers or minerals will differ enormously according to your dog’s age and activity level. This is why it’s nearly impossible to get the “right mixture” of nutrients with home-made food. So a commercially prepared puppy or dog food is best.
Here’s a list of the important nutrients your dog needs for a long and healthy life:
Water is the most important nutrient for your dog. His body consists of 70% water, and each day he loses liquid, which must be replaced. Water is indispensable for many processes of metabolism. A dish of fresh water should always be available to your dog. Milk, on the other hand, may cause diarrhoea.
Proteins are the basic components of cells. The body needs protein, especially to build muscles. Meat and fish contain a lot of protein; however, some plants such as soybeans are also rich in protein. By the way, a dog’s need for protein is only half as much as that of a cat. This is why cats and dogs should not eat each other’s commercially prepared foods.
Fat is an important supplier of energy. Certain vitamins are “fat-soluble”, which means the body can only absorb them in conjunction with fat. Special fatty acids are important for the health of your dog’s skin and coat. But be careful; too much fat means extra pounds for dogs as well as humans.
Carbohydrates are important fuels. They are found in such starchy foods as rice, grain and pasta, and in sugar. Carbohydrates supply the body with energy, which is then very quickly converted to output. Vegetable carbohydrates have to be cooked to enable your dog to digest them and thus to use them.
Minerals are substances that are present in different body structures. Calcium, for instance, is an important component of bones and teeth, phosphorus can be found in muscles, iron in the red blood cells. Many deficiencies are caused by a lack of certain minerals. The right calcium-phosphorus ratio plays an important role in growing puppies.
Vitamins maintain the functions of metabolism. Vitamin A is important for sight, Vitamin B for nerves, Vitamin D for bones, Vitamin E protects the skin, and Vitamin K supports blood coagulation. Only Vitamin C doesn’t have to be supplied in food for dogs and cats, as they are able to synthesize it.
Dietary fibre is the term for those components of food that are excreted undigested. It supports a healthy digestion, and can be found mainly in vegetables. A lack of dietary fibre leads to constipation.