The answer to this question isn't simple, but your veterinarian is a great resource when it comes to selecting the right food for your dog.
Generally speaking, most dog foods contain proteins from a mix of plant and animal sources. It's the source of these proteins that makes a big difference to your dog's health.
Many veterinarians recommend high-quality pet foods that contain a balanced ratio of digestible, bioavailable protein sources like lamb, chicken, beef, and poultry. This provides dogs with the optimal ratio of essential amino acids.
Higher-quality pet foods also incorporate other nutrients and additives to make them more digestible and easier for your dog to absorb. These can include vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and other dietary fibers that contribute to overall health.
Dietary fats provide energy and help with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as choline and vitamin E. They can also help maintain a dog’s skin and coat quality.
Carbohydrates provide energy for dogs and can come from sugars, starches or dietary fiber. They also provide nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
They can be simple carbohydrates such as those found in sugary fruits or treats, or complex carbs from sources like grains and beans. Generally, we recommend that dogs have a balanced diet that has both types of carbohydrates.
The amount of carbohydrates a dog needs is determined by their age, gender, activity level and health status. Some dogs need more carbs than others, so it’s best to consult with your vet before changing the type of food you feed.
A well-balanced diet must include an appropriate amount of minerals, vitamins, and essential amino acids (from proteins). These components are required to build and maintain tissue and carry out biological reactions.
Protein is important for the formation and maintenance of bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, hair, skin, nails, and blood. It also provides energy for dogs and helps them maintain a healthy weight.
Carbohydrates, including sugars and starches, are needed to provide energy for your dog's cells. They are also used to support brain and muscle function, as well as maintain a stable body temperature.
Vets recommend a diet that's low in carbohydrates, which can help your dog avoid conditions like diabetes or obesity. They also suggest a diet that's low in fat, as fat is often toxic to the kidneys and liver.
While most dog foods are formulated with sufficient amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fat to maintain the body’s energy levels, dogs may also benefit from an extra boost in fiber. A nutrient that isn’t often talked about, but is an essential component of a healthy diet, fiber is important for your pet’s digestive health and a variety of other functions.
Insoluble fiber, which doesn’t dissolve in water, helps keep your dog’s gastrointestinal tract functioning properly and prevents things like constipation. It can be found in a variety of foods including apples, carrots, flaxseed and wheat germ oil.
When choosing a dog food, veterinarians recommend that you choose one with whole, natural ingredients. This will help you to avoid fillers, such as corn and grains, which are common in many commercial pet foods. Instead, look for meals that contain raw meat or meat meal as the primary ingredient. These meals are made with high-quality, free-range proteins and fresh produce that is devoid of antibiotics and steroids.
Veterinarians also recommend that you choose a food that has the correct balance of amino acids and fatty acids, which are necessary for your dog’s health and well-being. These nutrients are also important for maintaining a healthy immune system and promoting joint and skin health. Lastly, veterinarians encourage you to select a food that is made with the proper amount of vitamins and minerals.