We believe in the the four pillars of creating a balanced diet for your dog serve a purpose for dogs, allowing them to live the healthiest life possible.
It’s a fact that the balance of a dog’s nutrition requirements changes at each stage of its life. For example, a puppy will require a specific amount of protein, fatty acids, and calcium as they are in the rapid growth stage.
Whereas an older dog may require more protein due to muscle mass reducing with age, higher fibre for ease of digestion and more fatty acids for better mobility and cognitive function.
Other factors to consider are pregnant dogs, medical conditions, and different breeds. This blog will outline the consistent nutrition needs, however, we recommend you consult with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist to help you design a specific diet for your pet based on their individual needs.
At all stages of life, water is an essential requirement
And at all stages of life, water is an essential requirement. Much like humans, dehydration in dogs can cause organ damage and other health issues. It’s important to always keep them hydrated.
The Four Pillars of a Canine Diet
Let’s look at the four pillars of canine diet.
Pillar 1 – Protein
Protein plays a critical part in your dog’s health. It is responsible for important functions such as cell production, and maintenance. Plus repair of cartilage, tendons, bone, muscles, and ligaments. In addition, it supports skin, fur, nails, blood formation and digestion.
Amino acids which are vitally important for dogs are produced when protein is broken down. Dogs’ bodies require ten essential amino acids to produce energy and maintain a quality life. The term ‘essential’ means they must come from the diet because their bodies cannot produce them at the required levels.
Animal protein is the best source of high-quality amino acids.
Ideal protein sources:
Pillar 2 – Vitamins and Minerals
Your dog requires vitamins and minerals for a variety of purposes, including:
- the synthesis of DNA
- bone and muscle formation
- heart health
- organ health
- joint health
- digestion health
- cognition health
- overall well-being.
Together, vitamins and minerals help your dog’s body function normally. Fresh produce rich in essential nutrients such as fruits and vegetables is a great source as well as high-quality meats and dairy.
It’s important to ensure your dog receives the right amount of vitamins and minerals in their food to achieve a healthy and balanced diet.
Due to the variations in natural food items, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the sources of vitamins and minerals in your dog’s diet to prevent deficiencies and overdoses. To ensure sufficient levels, it can be preferable to utilise an all-natural supplement designed for specific needs.
Read more on the vitamins and minerals required for your dog’s optimum health.
Pillar 3 – Fibre
One of the biggest mistakes people make when providing their dog with homemade meals is forgetting the fibre.
Fibre plays an important role in your dog’s gastrointestinal function and health. Due to its ability to speed up the waste elimination process and lower the exposure to any carcinogens your dog has taken. Fibre may help lower the risk of colon cancer in dogs. Fibre can also lessen your dog’s symptoms of constipation and diarrhoea.
It’s important to provide your pets with high-quality fibre from natural foods rather than unhealthy highly processed fillers often found in commercial dog food. Plant-based fibre is as good as it gets! Adding whole fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet will give them the quality fibre they need.
Keep your dog’s daily fruit intake to
10% and vegetables to 20%.
Too much fibre can cause issues such as excessive gas and diarrhoea, so it’s important to find the right amount. Keep their fruit intake to 10% of their daily food intake and vegetables to 20%. Note, the fruit and vegetables you provide offer far more benefits to their health than just fibre.
Benefits of fibre:
The helpful bacteria normally present in your dog’s colon frequently digests fibre into fatty acids. The colon is then able to heal from injuries, which also aids in preventing the proliferation of any harmful bacteria. Making fibre a fantastic resource for a dog’s digestive system.
Obesity in dogs is a growing concern. It is a large contributor to many health issues in dogs. Adding a natural fibre source to their bowl will make them feel fuller. It’s lower in calories and aids in their digestive health.
Improving Diabetes Mellitus
A growing number of veterinarians have discovered that fibres can lessen a dog’s sensitivity to insulin, however, it’s unclear exactly how this happens at this point. What is known, however, is that many vets feed diabetic dogs a fibre-rich diet. Of course, it varies from dog to dog since some diabetic canines perform better with moderate or less fibre.
Ideal fibre sources:
- Pumpkin – Blanch for better absorption
- Green Beans
Pillar 4 – Healthy Fats
Although most of us consider fats to be unhealthy, it’s important to note there is such a thing as healthy fats. And healthy fats are needed to support your dog’s growth and development. They are also a great source of energy.
Fats work in conjunction with other nutrients to keep your dog in top condition. They facilitate the absorption of certain vitamins, known as fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are essential for maintaining healthy cells and the body.
Introducing a balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in the correct ratio can help your dog with;
- Joint health
- Good gut health
- Immune health
- Healthy skin and coat
- Promote a healthy nervous system
- Support organ health
In addition, Omega 3 fatty acids contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which promotes brain development in puppy, DHA supplementation is very important to promote optimal neuronal development.
Your dog’s body can’t make enough essential fatty acids on its own,
so they get them from food or an all-natural supplement
Ideal fatty acids sources:
There is one very important addition to the four pillars that pulls it all together and your dog cannot do without it – WATER!
Water is an essential nutrient and is required for many important functions in the body such as breaking down food (fats, protein, and carbs), regulating body temperature, dissolving, and transporting nutrients to the cells. It also helps with lubricating joints, flushing waste from the body and so much more. So, it’s very important to always keep your pets hydrated.
If you give your dog wet food, fruit, and/or vegetables, they may not drink as much water because they are getting some hydration through their food. Still, it’s important to always have continuous access to clean and fresh water.
Read more about A Guide to Safe and Healthy Foods for Dogs
Attention must be paid to your dog’s unique nutrition needs, one size does not fit all. Dogs at different stages of life require specific nutrition, as do different breeds. We recommend you consult with a holistic veterinarian or animal nutritionist for specific nutrition advice.
The Science Behind it
Don’t just take our word for it, here are some evidence-based studies for you to review.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. The team at Pet Squad Pty Ltd trading as PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.