Almost every animal we know commonly requires six essential nutrients to survive. These are- Water, Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, and Minerals.
In order to keep your pet healthy and provide them with long and happy life, these six nutrients must be added in a balanced amount to your pet’s diet. Nearly 2% of dogs are said to suffer from malnutrition.
Even if you feel you’re giving your dog a huge amount of food, if the meal isn’t balanced, your beloved pet may still be malnourished. Here are the six essential nutrients and their roles in your pet’s physiological system.
Let’s first talk about the most essential nutrient- water. As we know, it is a colourless, odourless molecule made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Without this nutrient, no life can exist.
Water contributes to nearly 80% of the body mass of a lean and healthy dog. Some of the most important functions of water are to transport essential molecules to and fro, dissolve particles, regulate body temperature, hydrolyze proteins or fats for better digestion, and eliminate waste components from the body.
Even though most dogs self-regulate their water intake to meet their needs, the amount of water consumed may vary based on the breed or temperature. Give your dog plenty of fresh, germ-free water every day.
Protein is a macronutrient that is made of several combinations of amino acids. They mostly help to provide energy to the body.
Proteins supply the body with essential and non-essential amino acids that are necessary for survival. They help to form various structures of the body like nails, fur, and even muscles or bones. Proteins are also needed to form proper neurotransmitters or hormones.
Since dogs are not able to produce adequate proteins by physiological means, they need to be fed with a healthy amount of proteins. Some great protein-rich foods are eggs, fish, meat, and beans.
Fats are also macronutrients. They are made of fatty acid molecules and can be polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, or saturated. Fats supply the highest amount of energy, almost twice more than proteins.
They also supply your pet’s body with essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and protect internal organs. However, too much fat intake can cause pancreatic problems or obesity. Feeding your dog fish oil, flaxseed, or hempseed can be good sources of fats.
These macronutrients are made of sugar molecules in varying compositions. They can also be made of starch or fibre. This is probably the only nutrient that is not essential for dogs since they can manufacture glucose from their dietary proteins or fat sources. Carbs are the main source of the body’s fuel. Although not essential, they should definitely be included in your dog’s diet since they promote good health and energy. Make sure you never give high-glycemic junk carbs to your dog as they can cause problems. Give it dog-friendly fruits, vegetables, and gluten-free grains instead.
Vitamins, though required in small amounts, are very important for the body’s well-being. They contain carbon and can be either fat-soluble (Vitamins A, D, E, and K) or water-soluble (Vitamins B and C).
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in tissues or the liver whereas the water-soluble ones are not stored. They regulate calcium and phosphorus levels, boost the immune system, and keep the nervous system healthy. Any kind of home-prepared dog food will require vitamin supplements.
If you feed your dog any balanced meal from a physical or online pet store, make sure to not add fat-soluble vitamins additionally. Muscle meats and organic plant-based items can be given to your dog for vitamin sources.
Minerals are inorganic compounds required for metabolic activities. Since the body is unable to synthesize minerals, these have to be taken from other sources.
Minerals form bones, carry oxygen, help neural transmission, and regulate body fluids. Growing pups and large breeds require a good amount of mineral-based food items for proper bone growth.
Meat items contain phosphorus while bones have calcium. Give your dog a balance of all these items to ensure proper mineral intake.
Over to you…
These six nutrients are very important for your pet, irrespective of which breed it belongs to. Make sure to supply each nutrient in the prescribed amount. In case you feel your pet is malnourished, talk to a vet immediately and give it supplements if needed. Only a healthy meal will ensure a healthy pet.