You are what you eat. We take our health very seriously by highlighting our nutrition intakes. Similarly, healthy diets are a huge part of caring for our dogs as well. Today let’s take a close look at nutrition for dogs, and we will focus on nutritional supplements for dogs, represented by nutrition shakes for dogs. Now let’s start the healthy dog nutrition guide.
What Are the Basic Nutrients for Dogs
As a loving and informed parent for your fluffs, you must educate yourself on what nutrients your puppy needs. Here is what you should know about the daily nutritional needs of dogs.
All living species require a wide range of nutrients, which are food-derived compounds that supply energy and allow our body to function. Water, protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals are the six primary categories of nutrition.
H2O is the source of all lives. 60% to 70% of an adult dog’s body weight is composed of water and losing only 10% of it can make your puppy lose its life. Access to clean water is essential for a dog’s health at all times because of its magic functions: dissolving and carrying nutrients to cells, assisting in the regulation of body temperature, hydrolyzing other nutrients for digestion, cushioning the blows to the body, and eliminating waste.
The portion of the water needed depends on the environment and health conditions of the dog. If there is a high percentage of wet food in your puppy’s diet, it can drink less water. However, water in food can never replace fresh drinking water intake. You can get your dog its H2O straight from drinkable tap water once properly filtered.
Protein is the bricks and fuels of the body. It makes up the body and provides energy. Protein is made from amino acids, which are the fundamental components of cells, tissues, organs, enzymes(closely related to the immune system), hormones, and antibodies, and they are required for growth, reproduction, and self-healing. Meanwhile, when there are not enough carbohydrates, protein can also serve as an energy supply. If you think about basic nutritional requirements for dogs, protein is top of the list.
As a member of the carnivore family, our puppy can get protein from animal-based foods such as chicken, beef, fish, mutton, etc. Eggs are usually the powerhouse of protein because they contain all kinds of amino acids your dog needs. Protein can also be found in vegetables and grains. Soybeans are a good source of protein. So although dogs are known as carnivores, a mixed diet with both meat and vegetables can provide balanced nutrition for dogs.
Carbohydrates are the macronutrients made up of sugars, starches, and indigestible fiber. They provide energy from manufacturing glucose and key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant-based compounds that are important for health. Carbs are also good for your puppy’s intestines.
Among the wide range of carbohydrates, fibers are worth highlighting because they can change the bacterial herds in the small intestine, which can help monitor and control the dog’s bowel movement. The advised type of fibers is the fermentable ones. Your pooch can get those fibers from certain veggies and gluten-free grains.
Fats are the most effective energy source compared to carbohydrates and protein. They are necessary for vitamin absorption, cell construction, and hormone generation. Fats can also protect the internal organs and maintain body temperature. Your puppy’s skin and fur are also healthy because of a stable intake of necessary fatty acids such as linoleic acid, omega-6, and omega-3.
You can involve more healthy food sources including fish, flaxseed, hempseed, sunflower, and olive oil. However, be careful with the portion of fat intake and don’t go overboard. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis and digestive disturbances.
Vitamins are carbon-containing organic molecules that are required in modest amounts for appropriate metabolic activity. As micronutrients, vitamins are a necessary part of adequate nutrition for dogs. They are crucial for metabolic functions. Some vitamins like V-B and C can resolve in water, while others such as V-A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are not preserved, so vitamins must be obtained from the food since the body is unable to produce enough doses needed.
If you want to provide the best-balanced nutrition for dogs, you should mix up your pup’s diet with animal organs and muscles, as well as certain vegetables and fruits.
As the last part of the basic nutritional needs for dogs, minerals are the inorganic chemicals that cannot be produced by the body. They are necessary for metabolic activities and the building of bones and teeth. This is why dogs must intake them from their food. The main minerals for dogs include calcium, magnesium, and sodium.
Different minerals can be found rich in different foods. For example, bones are rich in calcium and seafood zinc. Create a better recipe for your fluffy that contains the complete nutrition for dogs!
Common Nutritional Deficiencies in Dogs
If a dog lacks certain nutrients, there are some signs and symptoms for alerts and even trigger diseases caused by poor nutrition in dogs. This part should further tell you about the importance of dog nutrition.
- Weight Loss
A dog owner is suggested to take regular weight checks on the puppy. A close monitor on weight can present early alerts on body mass and other health conditions. If your dog has experienced drastic weight loss in a few months or even weeks, there is a high possibility that it is suffering from malnutrition syndromes. The owner must give the dog clinical check-ups and monitor the dieting. Start with the major basic nutrients like water, carbs, fat, and proteins to rule out the feeding issues.
- Low Spirit
A lack of energy is another indicator of malnutrition, particularly suggesting a lack of carbs. Carbohydrates provide the energy for puppies to run around carefree. If your pooch doesn’t look playful as usual or even looks droopy and sad, think about whether you have cut down on the carbs in its diets. This asks you to take mental notes on your dog’s behaviors.
- Skin and Fur Conditions
Skin is the biggest organ for humans and dogs. If there’s something wrong with that beautiful coat of your dog, there might be something wrong with the nutrition intake. If your pooch suffers from dull and rough hair, irritation on the skin, fur loss, or even severe infection, take vitamins or fatty acids into consideration.
- Changed Stool Situation
Believe it or not, poops are a crucial indicator of health. For stool observation, there are 4 Cs – content, color, consistency, and coating. A healthy color for dog poops should be fresh brown. There should be no mucus and they should be consistent and stable. Any unhealthy stool may suggest digestion issues related to a lack of certain amino acids, vitamins, etc.
- Weakened Immunity
Your dog’s body isn’t getting what it needs to perform with insufficient nutrients. As a result, the immune system is one of the first things to deteriorate. And the next thing is to suffer from common nutritional diseases in dogs. The signs for weakening immunity include non-healing wounds, or allergies, which means your dog may develop sensitivities to the surroundings. Your puppy can only boost its immune system and get better after being nourished again. If you want to build your pup’s immune system, you should provide complete dog nutrition to your fluffy friend.
Do Different Dogs Have Different Nutritional Needs
Humans have different diets according to different demographics, and similarly, your dog may have its unique requests for nutrition intakes. For example, there are different nutrition requirements for dog breeds and extra nutrition for dogs with sensitive stomachs. And you also have to provide extra nutrition for pregnant dogs and growing puppies. And unfortunately, a single bag of dog food is not enough to cover all kinds of nutritional needs for your puppy and this is when you need to think about giving it supplements.
For puppies, they need calories, like, a lot of them. They also need way more proteins, fat, vitamins, and minerals than older dogs. As they are at the early stage of cell and tissue growth, they need extra nutrients to lay the foundation for a healthy and functioning body. Before they reach 1 year old, they need special baby diets. And for large breeds, there should be tailored plans for their bigger body forms.
These young and energetic fluffs are at the prime time of their lives, and they need to enjoy their life with a moderate intake of all nutrients. It is suggested for the owners to create a meal plan for their dogs and stick with it. Any change in the diets should be only made after careful consideration and consultation from the vets and experts.
- Old Age
Senior dogs need special attention in terms of nutritional intake. They are less active with slowing metabolism and degeneration of body functions. For this group, the diets are suggested to increase the protein intake. For some that are fighting chronic diseases, the owners can add in more carbs intake. Again, the dietary plans should be made under consultation.
- Pregnant Moms
For these brave mommies, they need special care for their pregnancy and lactation. Usually, there are dog foods labels made for these pregnant ladies, which should meet their needs. However, for some breeds or females with special conditions, the diets should be created accordingly.
What Are Nutritional Supplements for Dogs
Supplements are concentrated nutritional substances you put in your pet’s food to improve nutrition intake for health to strengthen crucially, but often difficult-to-find components. These are not daily necessities, but they can be a game-changer for certain puppies who need to boost their nutrition intakes.
The first thing you need to do before you get dog nutrition products is to check the dog food nutritional information and compare nutritional values of dog food and supplements so that you can see if your dog is getting enough nutrients from the meals.
Common nutritional supplements include dog nutritional drinks, dog nutritional powder and nutrition shakes for dogs.
What Are the Benefits of Nutrition Shakes
Vitamins shakes are one of the satisfactory nutritionally-based dog food. They contain the key nutrients for your pooch’s health, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc.
For regular dogs, the nutrients shakes can cowl the needs of all the needed amino acids. The canine body can synthesize 13 of these amino acids, while the remaining 10 essential ones must be obtained through meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, eggs, and fish. They are used as a source of energy in the dog’s body. Besides providing energy, they are also crucial for normal body functions including constructing cells, improving metabolism, managing digestion, etc.
These shakes can particularly benefit energetic and athletic dogs because these active puppies would consume a lot of calories daily. An intense level of activity means the need for an ample source of energy and strong bones, muscles, and tissues. This means your puppy can bounce around with a stronger body. The steady and sufficient intake of proteins also can prepare your pooch for older years with slower degeneration of body functions.
So yes! Nutritional shakes are not just OK for dogs, but they can offer great health benefits to a lot of dogs with special nutritional needs. However, make sure that you have done thorough research about the product or the brand before purchasing anything. You need to first understand the current health condition of your pooch and consult the vet about what it needs. Once you understand what specific nutrients your dog needs, you can search for the nutrition shakes products containing those specific nutrients. Besides the target nutrients, you should also keep an eye for other ingredients and ensure that all components are safe and healthy for your dog.
Chef Time! - How to Make Nutritionally Complete Homemade Dog Food
Besides your dog the food products, nothing says love better to your puppy than cooking it a homemade meal. However, you need to make sure it is safe and healthy for your fluff. Here are some balanced-nutrition homemade dog food recipes.
- Salmon Veggie Dish
- You need 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 squash, 3 potatoes, 2 salmon chunks with skins, and 1 head of broccoli.
- Prepare the vegetables except for potatoes, mix and steam/bake them with olive oil.
- Air-fry the potatoes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Pan-fry the salmon with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Remember to start with the skin at the bottom, and then flip it and place it in the bowl.
- Take out the vegetables and potatoes, and mix them with the salmon. Give it 15 minutes to cool off and your puppy’s dinner is served!
- Rice Stew
- You need 3 cups of water, 1 cup of brown rice, 2 sweet potatoes, 2 chicken breasts, and 2 pounds of mixed veggies of peas and carrots.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes
- Put in order the rice, the chicken, and the veggies into the rice cooker, and pour in the water.
- Start cooking for 8 hours(overnight) on low gear.
- Take everything out and shred the chicken into chewable sizes and mix the rice with veggies and chicken shreds. And you are ready to serve!
*Tips: you can store the stew into different portions of containers and put them into the freezer so that next time you can take them out, heat, and serve.
- Turkey Mash
- You need 2 pounds of turkey, 5 chicken livers, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 zucchini, 2 carrots, and 1 head of broccoli.
- Put together the greens by cutting them into small portions.
- Take out a double boiler and add the 3 cups of water in.
- Steam the veggies tender and then add the turkey and chicken livers.
- Take out all the ingredients and wait for the veggies to cool off a little.
- Put the veggies into the food processor and start churning. Pulse 3 times during the process so that the veggies are fully mixed.
- Add turkey and livers and start churning again until everything is perfectly mixed. Allow some cooling time before serving the delicacy to your pooch.
As the chef, you have to make sure that all ingredients are safe for your puppy and are part of its normal diet. Any change in the food structure should be consulted with the experts!
What is the Takeaway
Now that we have learned everything about nutrition for dogs, we can finally answer the question raised in the beginning. YES, nutrition shakes are more than OK for dogs. In fact, many dogs may have special nutritional requirements and they would need these supplements more than their peers. If your puppy is one of them, make sure it gets the best nutritional source from both daily meals and supplements like nutritional shakes!