The Six Essential Nutrients for Dogs

Ever wonder what your dog’s body needs for a healthy body and lifestyle? It all boils down to six essential nutrients, listed here by a Cedar Park veterinarian.


Proteins build cells, tissue, hormones, enzymes, and internal organs, and are essential for proper growth and other bodily functions. Most of your dog’s protein will come from other animal sources: meats like chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb, as well as fish and eggs.


The right types of fats provide your pet with energy, even more than protein or carbs. They also help absorb and use vitamins, and are key in cell and hormone structure. If your dog doesn’t get the right fatty acids, growth problems, skin issues, and other medical concerns can follow. Make sure your dog’s food contains the proper ratios and proportions of fats.


Carbohydrates give your dog’s body energy, promote intestinal health, and may play a key role in reproductive processes. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that helps regulate your dog’s digestive system. Ask your veterinarian if your dog’s food contains the right amounts of carbohydrates and fiber for your pet.


Since most essential vitamins can’t be produced by your dog’s body, it’s imperative that he get them from his diet. Vitamins promote enzyme reactions and keep your dog’s metabolism functioning. If you’re giving your dog a balanced, quality diet, vitamin supplements won’t be needed—they’re typically only for dogs with deficiencies or other medical issues. Don’t give your dog vitamin supplements unless recommended to do so by your veterinary professional.


Minerals help may up bones and teeth, maintain fluid balance, and are involved in metabolic reactions within your dog’s body. They can’t be synthesized by your dog’s body, so they need to come from the diet.


Let’s not forget about water, which is the most important nutrient to proper and healthy living for your dog. Water deficiency can result in serious illness and even death for dogs, considering it accounts for 60 percent or more of a grown dog’s body weight. Make sure your pet has water available at all times, and ask your Cedar Park veterinarian how to avoid the deadly effects of dehydration.

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