Dogs & Diets: 5 Nutrients Your Dog Needs to Stay Healthy
Everyone needs basic nutrients to function at an optimal level. But while humans tend to need higher quantities of both macro and micronutrients, the animals that live alongside us are also reliant on these power-packed natural chemicals designed to support physical and mental health.
If you are a dog parent looking for ways to improve your best friend’s health, learning about the essential nutrients and chemicals they need will help you take better care of them in the long run. And they may just teach you a thing or two about your own nutritional requirements too.
Every Dog Is Different – But All Of Them Need Nutrients
Much like humans, most dogs can get the vitamins and minerals they need from the food they eat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their nutrient quota is being sufficiently met.
There are a couple of different factors that will influence the essential nutrient requirements of an individual canine. The size, breed, age, sex, and general health status of your dog will ultimately determine which nutrients are needed to keep your particular dog happy and healthy.
There are two main groups of nutrients needed in both human and dog health: macronutrients and micronutrients.
The three macronutrients are fat, carbohydrates, and protein. These provide energy, important chemical reactions, and healthy intestines, amongst other things.
Micronutrients facilitate smaller, but equally important internal chemical processes and make sure everything from bones to growth to digestion are functioning smoothly.
The micronutrients most needed for canine health are phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, Omega-3, B-complex, and a range of major vitamins. Making sure to include these nutrients in your dog’s diet is vital for their health and longevity.
So, let’s find out more about them and why they are so important.
Phosphorus plays a leading role in the functioning of a healthy dog’s body. Also known as dicalcium phosphate, this potent mineral is responsible for maintaining healthy teeth, bones, and metabolism.
Phosphorus works closely with other macro and micronutrients such as calcium, proteins, and lipids to help stabilize the integrity of bones and teeth. Without it, your pup would become vulnerable to bone breakage, stunted growth, and inhibited red blood cell function.
But don’t worry, phosphorus deficiency is extremely rare in dogs. If your dog does show signs of deficiency, feeding them eggs, lentils, and salmon can help bring their levels back up to standard.
Similarly to phosphorus, calcium helps the body to regulate bone and teeth strength, as well as muscle development, heart health, and a strong nervous system. If your dog does not have enough calcium in its diet, adding foods like chicken, sweet potato, dairy, and spinach to their weekly meal rotation can give them a much-needed boost.
Some common symptoms of calcium deficiency include loss of appetite, muscle twitching, and physical weakness. Female dogs who have just given birth are likely to develop lower calcium levels due to nursing, so make sure to keep an eye on your post-pregnancy pups.
Vitamins A, K, E, and D
These vitamins serve as pillars of health for both humans and dogs. Each with a unique purpose and function, no diet is complete without the addition of these important four vitamins.
- Vitamin A – helps with clear vision, shiny coat, strong teeth, and healthy mucous membranes
- Vitamin K – synthesized by gut bacteria, co-factors in the metabolic process and enzyme components
- Vitamin E – defends against oxidative damage and maintains a healthy reproductive system
- Vitamin D – increases absorption of calcium and phosphorus and enhances intestinal mobilization
While humans tend to need a fairly high intake of vitamin C, dogs are actually able to synthesize their own inside the liver. However, supplements may still be necessary for dogs that struggle with inflammation or cognitive aging.
Magnesium is a powerful micronutrient responsible for energy production. Every heartbeat, muscle movement, or thought that humans or animals have can be attributed to the presence of magnesium.
Magnesium deficiency in dogs can be expressed through muscle weakness, trembling, restless sleeping, lethargy, or muscle pains. If you suspect your pup has low magnesium levels, introducing foods like bone meal, dark leafy greens, pumpkin squash, and fish can bring them back up to par.
Consuming electrolyte-rich foods can also help the body to regular magnesium levels and keep energy levels high. With your vet’s approval, you can make your own electrolyte solution using salt, sugar, and some filtered, boiled water.
Omega-3 is one of the most important nutrients to add to your dog’s diet. A part of the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) group, Omega oils are fat soluble and provide several wide-ranging health benefits.
Supporting brain health, boosting kidney and heart health, decreasing anxiety, and even fighting against cancer cells are just some of the many ways that Omega-3 helps dogs to stay healthy. This nutrient also prevents inflammation and itching, limiting the amount of scratching and fur loss that occurs. If you suffer from allergies, ensuring your dog gets enough Omega-3 is essential, as less scratching means less dander and a reduction in the amount of fur they shed.
Omega oils are particularly beneficial to puppies or older dogs, who both need the developmental support provided by this fatty acid. You can find it in plenty of fish, such as sardines, anchovies, krill oil, or salmon.
Is It Safe For My Dog To Consume Nutrifusion Products?
While it is somewhat rare for dogs to need nutritional supplements outside of their regular kibble (which typically contains all the necessary nutritional ratios), there are safe supplementary products available for dogs to consume—and yes, one of them is Nutrifusion.
If a vet has approved the decision to manually add certain nutrients to your dog’s diet, Nutrifusion fruit and veggie powders can safely provide the necessary balance of vitamins and minerals needed for optimal canine health.
Fortunately, nutrient deficiency is relatively rare in dogs and can be quite easily fixed with a diet reassessment. So, don’t jump to any conclusions about deficiency until your dog has had an appointment with the local vet.
When it comes to health, no one can afford to take risks, especially when it comes to caring for a beloved pet. Make sure to take your dog for regular check-ups and always get formal approval for supplements before feeding them to your pup.
As an editor, Ellen Klein covers topics such as financial management and risk management, as well as health-related topics. She’s a realist and believes that planning for life’s unknowns is best. When she’s not busy with volunteer social work, she can be found scribbling away at her keyboard.
NutriFusion provides highly nutritional blends for pets, dogs in particular. These blends are available from premium pet companies such as Sundays for Dogs and Guardian Pet Food. NutriFusion® vitamin blends for pets are made from fruits and/or vegetables
NutriFusion can help! Visit us at www.nutrifusion.com.