How Dog Nutrition Impacts Health and Mood

Dog nutrition is just as important as human nutrition. The diet that you feed to your dog directly affects his overall physical health, his weight, skin and hair, and even his mood. Just like humans, certain foods can cause dogs to become overly excited or nervous and a lack of nutrients from others can cause restlessness, irritability, and even fatigue. Good dog nutrition is a combination of the right vitamins and minerals as well as just the right ratios of things the dogs body needs such as protein and carbohydrates.

Impact on Health

Humans do not need meat in the diet to stay healthy, dogs do. Meat should account for a significant portion of your dog's diet. So, a nutritious, well-balanced dog food should be made up of 40% meat (protein), 50% veggies, and 10% carbohydrate. This will give it a healthy, vet recommended 40/50/10 ratio. A diet lacking in adequate amounts of protein can alter immune function, poor food intake, and retardation of normal growth, weight loss, muscle wasting, emaciation, and subnormal concentrations of blood proteins. A lack of vegetables can lead to vitamin deficiencies and carbohydrates are important to thyroid function.

Dog nutrition is also about maintaining a healthy balance of essential vitamins, minerals, essential and amino acids. When selecting a dog food, make sure that it includes Vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as Vitamin B1, B6, and B12, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid and Choline. In addition twelve minerals and ten essential amino acids are crucial to dog health and disease prevention. The twelve essential minerals include: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chlorine, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, and Iodine.

The ten essential amino acids include: Arginine, histidine, lysine, methionine, phenyalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine, isoleucine and leucine are the ten essential amino acids that dog's need for optimal body functioning. The dog's body needs essential amino acids in order to build muscle and tissue and to regulate antibodies within the immune system and the transfer of nerve impulses. Vitamin, mineral and essential amino acid deficiencies can cause weakness, joint pain, corneal disorders, eye lesions, gastrointestinal symptoms, lack of white blood cells, increased heart rate, poor appetite, excessive tearing, and enlargement of thyroid glands.

Dog Nutrition Impact on Mood

Vitamin deficiencies can cause a number of mood disorders in dogs. Mineral deficiencies can affect the dog's mood as well. For example, a Vitamin A deficiency can cause central nervous system depression and a Vitamin D deficiency can cause lethargy. Mineral deficiencies such as a sodium deficiency, can cause restlessness, and a magnesium deficiency can cause irritability. Other mood problems caused by lack of minerals include lethargy and depression.

Best Foods for Health and Mood

The best type of dog food you can buy for your dog is a high-quality, premium brand, all-natural dog food that contains the proper ratios (40/50/10), and adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. A nutritious dog food should not contain by-products or synthetic additives such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol (also used as a less-toxic version of automotive antifreeze), and ethoxyquin.