Your Dog The Omnivore


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Your dog may be a meat-lover, but she or he is not a true carnivore, like cats.

Therefore, unlike other predators, dogs require more than meat for daily nutrition. It is true that no dog is the same, and nutritional and caloric needs of dogs do vary. Differentiating stages of the dog's life mandate evolving requirements, as well.

All dogs, though, require minimum quantities of six basic nutrients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and water.

Dogs are not herbivores, either, so while plant-based proteins can be beneficial, they are lacking in some essential amino acids provided by animal-based proteins, and should never be considered a sufficient protein source in and of themselves. Commercial dog foods are often rich with plant-based proteins, which are more difficult for your dog to digest and absorb. The type of protein contained in the food is essential to know. Foods containing cereal proteins (wheat, corn, barley) have little nutritional value for dogs. Muscle meats, eggs and organ meats (such as liver) provide much more usable protein.

The trick is to provide the six basic nutrients in a balanced diet, factoring in the calories that will suffice for your dog's growth, activity, and restoration. In addition, your dog's daily diet must contain vitamin and mineral supplements in balanced concentrations. Too much of one mineral may interfere with absorption of another; too little of a mineral may interfere with vitamin use or other mineral use.

If you plan to feed your pet fresh food, you want to make sure that you provide him with all the nutritional building blocks he needs to maintain a healthy body. Animal protein should be combined with vegetables, pasta, rice, cereals and other foods to provide all the protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals needed.

If you still opt for the convenience of commercial foods, it is wise to become versed in the art of decoding dog food ingredient labels so that you can be assured that the nutritional value matches (or, ideally, surpasses) the marketing technique employed.

The dog food manufacturers spend a great deal of time, energy and advertising revenue to persuade us that their products are natural and nutritionally complete. That would indicate,

1) That is what consumers would like the product to be, and
2) That is what the product should be.

Doesn't it make sense, then, that you select food for your dog that you know to be healthful and nutritionally sound? If you're still buying commercial dog food, you aren't feeding your dog what it needs and deserves.

May your dog have a long and happy life,

A Lewis


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