Dogs are often called a man’s best friend, and if you are a dog parent it becomes your inherent responsibility to make sure that your pet gets love, care and adequate nutrition. Which is why it’s essential to focus on what they consume. So if you have recently adopted a dog or are planning to change the diet of your pet, you are in the right place. Anushka Iyer, founder of wiggles.in, says, “we know that our dogs love to munch and gulp almost everything which catches their fancy. But as responsible pet parents, it is on us to ensure that whatever they eat, provides nourishment.”
“A personalised nutrition chart for a dog lays down all the essentials based on the age (puppy, adult, old), gender (male or female), breed, size (small, medium, large, extra-large)” says Iyer.
Below, she shares nutrition recommendations based on the protocols offered by AAFCO or Association of American Feed Control Officials which “is regarded as the leading association when it comes to setting nutritional standards for both animal feed and pet foods,” mentions Iyer.
Basics of a nutrition chart
Eating habits of mammals are categorised into three broad categories — herbivores (plant-based diet), carnivores (meat-based diet) and omnivores (plant & meat-based diet).
“It is generally believed that dogs are inherently carnivores and they need a meat-based diet. This is true to a certain extent but with evolution, they have adapted themselves as omnivores. This means that they can consume both meat-based and plant-based products,” points out Iyer. That is why one needs to incorporate both — a mix of green vegetables, carrots, pumpkins alongside chicken, meat and eggs.
Your dog’s diet needs to include sufficient amounts of amino acids which can be easily found in eggs, fish, meat and regular dog food.
Vitamins, specifically A and B, are important. A, which provides nutrients for healthy eyesight, is also “important for keeping the skin, eyes, and inner linings of the body healthy and resistant to infection,” she says. This can be easily found in foods like broccoli, papaya, carrots, chicken and liver supplements.
Vitamin B, on the other hand, is important because it “helps regulate energy and metabolism, facilitates enzyme functions, is responsible for the functioning of the nervous system,” says Iyer adding that is also “helps in protein synthesis”.
Make sure you add mineral-enriched food items in your dog’s diet since it supports overall bodily functions. Minerals like iron, zinc and manganese are important because while iron is essential to produce the oxygen-carrying haemoglobin in the red blood cells, zinc is “crucial for collagen and keratin synthesis contributing to skin integrity and coat quality” says Iyer. She adds “manganese contributes to the formation and quality of the bones and joint cartilage.” Feed your dog optimum amounts of peanut butter, whole grains, eggs and fruits.
We all know that fats reduce inflammation and guard the body against any bacterial or viral infections. This component is equally important to maintain your dog’s healthy coat and skin. Iyer says, “add omega 3 to your dog’s diet because not only does it help in organ development in puppies but can also treat a variety of canine diseases like arthritis. Additionally, omega 6 is required for the growth and a better immune system including the overall coat health.” This can be provided by adding fish and fish oil to the diet along with sunflower and flax seeds.
Iyer says, “carbohydrate is an abundant source of glucose which provides energy for daily bodily functions. It is also considered a building block for other nutrients and can be provided to your pets by offering rice, corn or whole grains.”