Protein and Healthy Fats
- Protein is an essential nutrient that helps grow and repair all of your dog's cells, organs and tissues. Fats found in meats, fowl or fish are best for your dog. In commercially prepared dog foods, beef, lamb and chicken are common sources of protein. If you choose to make your dog's food at home, these are good choices as well. Cooked eggs are another source of protein for your dog that contain healthy fats as well. Fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 provide energy for your dog and help promote healthy skin, joints and kidneys. Your dog can also get these fats from fish.
- Another source of energy, carbohydrates are part of a balanced diet for dogs. Soy, wheat and rice are the most commonly used sources of carbohydrates in commercial dog foods. Look for foods that include rice. Some dogs can have an allergic reaction to wheat and soy. You can also supplement your dog's diet with cooked potatoes, which are a healthy carbohydrate for dogs. Avoid feeding your dog raw or uncooked potatoes (and other raw foods) because bacteria or toxins in raw food can be harmful for your dog.
Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamins help your dog's metabolism to function properly. If you are feeding your dog a homemade diet, discuss fruit and vegetable options with your veterinarian. Because some vitamins, such as vitamin A, can be harmful in high amounts, you should never regularly supplement your dog's diet with fruits or vegetables without first consulting a veterinarian. Avoid some fruits and vegetables altogether. Grapes, avocados and fruits with pits can be toxic for your dog. You should ensure that your dog's food includes a balanced level of minerals, such as calcium. Your dog cannot produce these on its own, but they are essential for the development of bones and teeth as well for maintaining balance in your dog's metabolism. Calcium can be found in dairy products, such as cheese and milk.
- According to the ASPCA, 60 to 70 percent of your dog's body weight is made of water. Just as you need to remain hydrated to stay healthy, so does your dog. Do not restrict your dog's access to water. Leave bowls of fresh water down for your dog at all times, especially if you won't be home or if the weather is hot. Keep water in your house and your yard. Replenish it daily to provide your dog with fresh clean water. Dirty water (or water bowls) can contain bacteria that can be harmful for your dog.