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Dog Food: The Untold Story Essay

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It is no coincidence that well fed dogs are usually the happiest and healthiest dogs. Just like people, dogs need to eat a well balanced diet to maintain their health and live long, active lives. Dog nutrition is very similar to human nutrition, but dogs are not people. They are unique animals with dietary needs based on centuries of evolution. While dogs are more omnivorous than pure carnivores like cats, they are not true omnivores like human beings. They evolved from wolves, so they tend to do best on meat based diets.

Important nutrients to consider when planning a dog’s diet include water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Often overlooked, water is a necessity to sustain life and maintain good health. It helps transport food through the digestive system and makes up around 70% of a dog’s weight. Proteins are essential for building body structures and for driving metabolism, while carbohydrates provide an extra energy source and contribute dietary fiber to aid digestion. Fats are necessary for many body systems, and contribute to making foods taste good to dogs. Although only needed in relatively small amounts, vitamins and minerals are necessary components for any healthy canine diet.

While there are general rules for good dog nutrition, the best diet for any dog will be based on its individual needs. A good diet balances all of the important nutrients and takes into account a dog’s age, activity level, health, reproductive status and current body condition. A truly excellent diet not only allows a dog to survive, it promotes optimum health and longevity.

Water

Owners sometimes overlook the importance of fresh, clean water in dog’s diet. However, good hydration is a cornerstone ...


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... order to stay healthy. Vitamins are organic substances that the body uses to drive or aid metabolism. Minerals, on the other hand, are inorganic substances that the body cannot synthesize but are essential for healthy life. Both of these types of nutrients need to be present in a healthy canine diet.

Complete, balanced commercial dog foods contain appropriate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals to maintain canine health. Vitamin and mineral supplements are sometimes necessary to address certain health conditions, but they should only be used in consultation with a veterinarian. In some cases consuming large excesses of certain vitamins and minerals can be as bad as or worse than not consuming enough. Minerals, especially, should never be supplemented without professional advice. Improper supplementation can cause serious health problems in dogs.




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