We write about products and services that we use. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
These are the bare minimums that need to be included in your dog’s daily diet.
After evaluating the basic nutrients, we’ll look at some of the other ingredients commonly found in dog food, in order to help you make a wise choice for your dog.
The Nutrients Your Dog Needs
While food may help meet some of your pet’s water needs (dry food has up to 10 percent moisture, while canned food has up to 78 percent moisture), pets need to have fresh clean water available to them at all times. A deficiency of water may have serious repercussions for pets: a 10-percent decrease in body water can cause serious illness, while a 15-percent loss can result in death.
More about your dog’s water needs:
- How Much Water Does A Dog Need?
- Avoid Dehydration: What To Do If Your Dog Won’t Drink Water
- How Much Water Should An Active Dog Drink?
- Dog Water Drinking 101
Proteins can be obtained from a number of sources. Animal-based proteins such as chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish and egg have complete amino acid profiles … Protein is also found in vegetables, cereals and soy, but these are considered incomplete proteins.
More about your dog’s protein needs:
- Protein In Pet Food FAQ
- High Protein vs Low Protein Dog Food
- Protein In A Dog’s Diet
- Dog Protein Requirements For Good Nutrition
Fats are the most concentrated form of food energy, providing your pet with more than twice the energy of proteins or carbohydrates … Fats provide the body insulation and protection for internal organs. Essential fatty acids must be provided in a pet’s diet because they cannot be synthesized by a dog in sufficient amounts. A deficiency of essential fatty acids may result in reduced growth or increased skin problems … Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid for dogs. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in healing inflammation.
More about fats in your dog’s diet:
- The Best Omega-3 Fatty Acids For Dogs
- Dog Fats 101
- Fats & Oils Are Good For Your Dog’s Health
- Benefits Of Fats In Your Dog’s Diet
Fibers are kinds of carbohydrates that modify the mix of the bacterial population in the small intestine, which can help manage chronic diarrhea. For dogs to obtain the most benefit from fiber, the fiber source must bemoderately fermentable … Examples of moderately fermentable fibers include brans (corn, rice and wheat) and wheat middlings. Foods that are high in fiber are not good for dogs with high energy requirements, such as those who are young and growing.
More about your dog’s carbohydrate needs:
- How To Estimate The Carbohydrate Content Of Any Dog Food
- Carbohydrates And Raw Dog Food Diets
- Research: Carbohydrates In A Dog’s Nutrition
- Carbohydrates As Energy Sources In Dog Foods
Tiny amounts of vitamins are essential to dogs for normal metabolic functioning. Most vitamins cannot be synthesized in the body, and therefore are essential in the diet … When feeding a complete and balanced diet, it is unnecessary to give a vitamin supplement unless a specific vitamin deficiency is diagnosed by a veterinarian. Due to the practice of over supplementation, hypervitaminosis — poisoning due to excess vitamins — is more common these days than hypovitaminosis, or vitamin deficiency! Excess vitamin A may result in bone and joint pain, brittle bones and dry skin. Excess vitamin D may result in very dense bones, soft tissue calcification and joint calcification.
More about your dog’s vitamin needs:
- Dog Vitamins & Supplements Guide
- How Dog Vitamins Prolong A Dog’s Life
- Do Dogs Need Daily Multivitamin Supplements?
- Multivitamins FAQ For Dogs
Minerals are inorganic compounds that are not metabolized and yield no energy. These nutrients cannot be synthesized by animals and must be provided in the diet.
- Minerals In Dog Nutrition
- 10 Essential Vitamins And Minerals For Dogs
- Minerals For Dogs
- Importance Of Vitamins & Minerals In Your Dog’s Diet
Now that you know the bare minimums that should be in your dog’s food, let’s look at some of the specific ingredients that you want (and don’t want) in your dog’s food.
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn’t think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I’ve always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I’ve been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what’s ‘normal’ and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I’m not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.