Sunday, December 9, 2007

Questions About Dog Nutrition (1)

Why does my dog need to have a nutritionally balanced diet?

How important are proteins to my dogs diet?

How important are carbohydrates to my dogs diet?

How important are fats to my dogs' diet?

Do all dog foods include all the vitamins and minerals that my dog needs?

Should I give my dog vitamin and mineral supplements?

How much should I feed my dog?

How often should I feed my dog?

Is feeding dogs table scraps acceptable?

Is there a correct amount of vitamins and minerals for my dog?

Is dry food better than canned food?

Is it okay to only feed my dog canned food?

My veterinarian recommended feeding my dog a premium food. Why is premium food better?

What are life stages and how do dog foods for various life stages differ?

Some people leave food out all day long for their dog. Is that okay?

I am afraid to change my dog's food. Will he get sick?

My dog won't eat his food anymore. Why?

Are there things I shouldn't feed my dog?

Is it okay to give my dog treats?

Are some dog treats better than others?

How long will dog food keep?

Why does my dog need to have a nutritionally balanced diet? Dogs require a minimum of 39 nutrients, all in the correct proportion, to maintain their health. These nutrients include amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals. The nutrients must be in a form that can be used by dogs. The food containing these nutrients must also be palatable so dogs can eat the food containing these nutrients. Lastly don't forget the most important nutrient, water. Dogs should always have access to clean water.

How important are proteins to my dogs diet? Are some proteins better than others?
Proteins are made up of amino acids and these amino acids are the building blocks the dog uses to make muscles, hair, skin and enzymes. Since each protein has a unique mix of these amino acids, proteins differ widely in their value to the dog. Generally, egg protein is regarded as the best, with animal proteins generally being higher quality than plant proteins. Many foods blend just the right mix of animal and plant proteins to provide the optimal mix of amino acids.

How important are carbohydrates to my dogs diet? Are some carbohydrates better than others? The carbohydrates found in pet foods usually come from plant sources like corn, rice, wheat, sorghum, barley and oats. While not absolutely necessary, carbohydrates are usually found in most pet foods because they are an excellent source of energy. Cooked carbohydrates from the grains listed above have all been shown to be readily available to dogs. A recent research report shows the more commonly used grains (rice, corn, wheat and barley) to be highly digestible while sorghum was less digestible.

Another class of carbohydrates provides bulk to the food and small amounts are generally regarded as being beneficial in helping promote the proper digestion and movement of food in the animal. These carbohydrates are referred to as fiber and common sources include beet pulp, rice bran, wheat middlings, corn bran and cellulose. Since these fiber sources are not well digested, they are commonly found in lite dog foods to decrease the calories in the food.

How important are fats to my dogs diet? Are some fats better than others?
Fats have three important roles in a pet's diet. First, they provide energy and there is more than twice the amount of energy in an ounce of fat than an ounce of protein or carbohydrate. Second, they help in making the food more palatable, as long as the fat is of high quality and is properly protected from spoilage. Finally, fats provide essential fatty acids to your pet, which they need for a healthy skin and shiny coat. Some researchers believe the right balance of fatty acids is as important as the actual levels of fatty acids.

Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California

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