What are the building blocks of nutrition for a healthy dog?

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Dogs require almost 40 nutrients on a regular basis and all in correct proportion. If you make sure your pet has adequate amounts of the following, you’ll be certain to keep it healthy

  • Water: It’s important to monitor your dog’s intake of water as drinking too little can lead to dehydration and even death; but drinking too much water can result in stomach bloating or electrolyte imbalance. A good rule of thumb is for him or her to drink ½ to 1 ounce for every pound of body weight; however, keep in mind that your dog may need more, depending upon diet, exercise, hot climates, etc. Some veterinarians eschew any liquid but water, some agree that milk or even Pedialyte is acceptable. Dr. Tracy Sane, DVM. of Greenwich Village Animal Hospital in New York City says he has no problem giving milk to a dog as long as there is no history of digestive upset. He said when he gives almond milk to his own dog, who loves it.
  • Proteins: Necessary for all aspects of growth and development, proteins are very important in structural makeup and the immune system, as they are burned as calories and can be converted to and stored as fat.
  • Amino Acids: 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. Your dog needs 22, 10 of which must be provided by diet; the other 12 amino acids can be self-manufactured in her liver.
  • Carbohydrates: Important for providing energy and fiber.They usually come from grains, cereals and plants, including brown rice, corn, potatos or oats.
  • Fats: Fats are the most concentrated source of energy for dogs.They also provide essential fatty acids—necessary for a shiny coat—carry nutrients to cells and aid in metabolic regulation.
  • Vitamins: There are 16 vitamins a dog should have: Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, A, E, D, K, Pantheon, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin (also known as Vitamin H) and Choline (often grouped with the B Vitamins).
  • Minerals: According to Purina, your dog must have calcium and phosphorous for bone health; magnesium for heart-health; potassium for muscles, and sodium for cellular activity. They all must be in the correct ratio. For instance, an imbalance of calcium and phosphorous could cause weakness.
  • Fiber: Some studies suggest that omnivorous animals (which dogs are) get some of their energy from fiber found in plant foods, legumes and other carbohydrates. The amount needed depends upon your dog.

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