Diet and Nutrition for Dogs: What to Feed Them and What to Avoid

Each canine is different, so there’s really no set formula for what to put in their bowl. But there are a few general guidelines you can keep in mind when feeding your furry friend.


Ensure the Food Has All the Essential Nutrients


Dogs need six nutrients to achieve optimum healthy living. These nutrients are:

  • Proteins — Your dog can get this nutrient from animal-based meats like lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, fish, and cooked egg.

  • CarbohydratesDogs also need carbohydrates. But it should be fibers from a moderately fermentable source like beet pulp and wheat middling.

  • Fats — Fats give dogs energy, insulation for internal organs, and many other benefits. Some essential fatty acids are Omega-6, Omega-3, and linoleic acid.

  • Vitamins — You should only give your dog vitamins if they have an unbalanced diet or suffer from a particular vitamin deficiency. Be careful not to over-supplement.

  • Minerals — Dogs also need calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and other minerals. They can get it from common meats, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, or pre-combined powdered mixes. Minerals should be given in moderation because over-supplementation can also cause problems.

  • Water — Water is essential for dogs, so ensure your pet always has access to clean water and does not rely on water found in canned dog food. A decrease in the amount of water in your pet’s body could have serious consequences.


Feed According to Dog’s Age & Activity Level


Dogs’ nutritional requirements vary depending on their life stage and activity level. Any specific condition can also affect their diet. Consult your veterinarian to determine the right type and amount of food for your dog’s age and activity level.


Control Portion Sizes


Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can cause malnutrition. The amount of food your dog needs will depend on several factors, including their body weight, number of meals, type of food, metabolic rate, and activity level. Follow the feeding guidelines on the food label to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy weight. Talk with your vet if you have any questions.


Be Mindful of Treats


While treats can be a great way to reward and train your dog, it’s essential to be mindful of how many treats you give them. Treats should never exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Choose healthy, low-calorie treats that won’t contribute to weight gain or other health issues.


Learn About the Foods Toxic to Dogs


While providing your dog with a nutritious and balanced diet is important, it’s equally important to avoid feeding them certain foods that can be toxic or harmful to their health. Here are some foods that you should never give your dog:

  • Chocolate

  • Alcohol

  • Raw eggs

  • Cooked bones

  • Onions and garlic

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Persimmons seeds

  • Peach and plum pits

  • Caffeine

  • Grapes and Raisins

  • Almonds

  • Cinnamon

  • Milk and dairy products

  • Salty food

  • Foods with artificial sweetener (Xylitol)

Proper nutrition plays a vital role in your dog’s overall health and well-being. Therefore, it’s essential to provide them with the right nutrients in the right amounts to keep them healthy and happy.

For more information on dogs’ diet and nutrition, visit Brekke Veterinary at our Castle Pines or Castle Rock, Colorado, office. Call (303) 474-4260 or text 720-790-5095 or 720-782-6144 to schedule an appointment today.

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