Do Dogs Get All Their Nutritional Needs Through Dog Food Only?

As a father of a senior dog, I am always concerned about what kind of food she needs. When I browse the options at the store, I am lost at all the different ingredients and diet plans that are sold. For example, some foods promote joint health for senior pets while others are meant for puppies or middle-aged dogs. I’ve even had a vendor once tell me that the dog food I have been giving my dogs has too much protein since they’re not very active. So, I have tried this brand, that brand, and all the brands until I found the one my dogs like. But are they getting all their nutritional needs?

Dogs only need meat, right?

It’s a myth that we all believe. But the truth is that dogs, like humans, are omnivores and can meet their nutritional needs by eating a combination of plant and animal foods. It is possible for a dog to live off a properly balanced vegetarian diet, but not to survive from a strict meat diet. An all-meat diet does not meet the nutritional requirements that a dog needs.

What does a dog need from his food?

Research suggests that a balanced diet for dogs needs to include water, protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Your goal as a dog parent should be to meet these needs with the highest-quality food you can afford. Keep in mind, two brands might advertise 27% protein, but the source of the protein will have an effect on your dog’s digestive system. A higher-quality food assures you that your dog will be able to digest the food more easily.

Selecting Dog Food

If you are unsure about the ingredients found on the label, select the brand that includes whole-food ingredients. Your dog’s meal should resemble yours with recognizable and real ingredients. Also, beware of the calories of your dog’s food. They might seem like they burn 500 calories a minute by the way they jump off of the walls, but they don’t need lots of calories per meal. Most indoor dogs, whether sprayed or neutered, do not require a high calorie diet. 350 calories per cup is ideal for an indoor, sedentary, adult dog . But if you feel that your dog requires more, ask your veterinarian if a high-calorie diet is right for them.

Which Harmful Ingredients Should You Stay Away From?

As stated above, different brands gather their food ingredients from different sources. A lower-quality brand might say the food contains chicken but could include any part of the chicken including beaks, feet, and other harder to digest parts of the chicken. Always make sure the ingredients found on the label are recognizable, and if not, select another brand.

Life-Stage Foods

Life-stage food is dog food that has been formulated to meet a dog’s demanding nutritional needs depending on their age. Puppy food and senior food are examples of life-stage food. For example, puppies grow rapidly and need additional calcium in every meal. Puppy food is design to meet those needs in order to help your dog grow into a healthy adult . Likewise, senior dogs do not need as many calories as adult dogs or puppies. Therefore, senior food has lower calories but higher protein content in order to provide the right nutritional needs for a senior dog. Senior dogs can also benefit from the additional antioxidants like omega-3 fatty acids to counter inflammation in the joints.

So, Do Dogs Get All Their Nutritional Needs Through Dog Food Only?

Unless your dog is ill and you have been instructed by your veterinarian to give your dog additional supplements, your dog will receive all the nutrition they need from dog food. But not all dog food will meet that dietary requirement needed. Remember to select the highest-quality food you can afford to ensure your dog is eating rich, nutritional, whole-foods. And if your dog is a puppy, a senior, or very active, don’t be afraid to select the brands that advertise those needs. Their formulas have been created to meet a dog’s demanding lifestyle.


Image by jagdprinzessin from Pixabay

Nutrition – General Feeding Guidelins for DogsVCA Hospitals

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