Dog Nutrition Facts

Dog nutrition is essential to maintain the pet healthy. You should look for a quality food containing all the essential nutrients. It is important to know what nutrients to look for on a label and to get a food that is suitable for your pet’s age and size.

Nutritional Needs and Age

A puppy requires a type of food that is higher in proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals and feeding adult food to a puppy is not recommended.

Also, the nutritional need of the dog will change with aging. The energy level of the dog will decrease, so the calorie intake should be reduced as well. A senior dog may often experience digestive problems, so the food should also be more digestible.

Make sure to adjust the dog’s diet according to his life stages. 

Essential Nutrients in the Dog’s Diet

There are a few nutrients that are essential to provide the needed energy and to facilitate the dog’s digestion. Each dog needs proteins, fats, fibers and carbohydrates. All dog food labels should contain the nutrient contents, so make sure you check the labels before you buy the food. However, the amount of proteins displayed on the food labels is the total amount of proteins, including the indigestible proteins. Only 70% to 80% of the proteins in the dog food are digestible.

Proteins for Dogs

Proteins help in the healthy growth and development of the dog and will also protect the immune system. The protein content in the dog’s diet may be between 18% and 28%. Puppies and lactating dogs require 28% of proteins in their food. If the dog has a kidney problem, the proteins should be reduced.

Fats in the Dog’s Diet

The fat is essential as it is deposited as energy blocks in the dog’s system and used when the dog is performing strenuous activities. The fats in the dog food should be between 10% and 17%. Sports or hunting dogs require a higher amount of fats.


Fibers have a digestive role and are all made up of different ingredients, which are actually carbohydrates. Even if fibers/carbohydrates are not considered essential nutrients, they are beneficial in the dog’s diet.

Types of Dog Food

Even if dry food is often the most recommended, there are also wet and semi-moist foods that may also be offered as an alternative food source.

Regardless of what type of food you choose, it is important that it contains quality ingredients that are easily digestible. Poor quality ingredients may not give the dog the needed nutrients, even if they may have the right amount of protein, fats, fibers and carbs. These nutrients may have lower energy contents and the nutrients may not be properly absorbed by the dog’s organism. Consequently the dog will be hungry and may require more food; get a quality food and the dog will require lower amounts of food.

Gradual Switch to New Food

If you consider switching to a different type of food, this should be made gradually, so that you won’t cause digestive problems in your pet. Take 7 to 14 days to switch to the new food. Start mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of old food at first and gradually increase the amounts of new food, until your dog gets 100% new food.