What is one of the best ways that you can support your dog’s overall health?
If you guessed “providing them with the correct food,” that’s exactly right. Your dog’s dietary needs are going to alter over time as they go through different stages of their life.
That being said, one thing that should remain the same is the quality of ingredients in the food you’re giving them.
Your dog’s suggested protein, fat, and carb intake depends largely on a few key factors. This includes their age, activity level, and their individual characteristics.
Today, we’re going to walk you through what you should look for when you’re picking healthy dog food—and talk about why it’s so important. After all, your furry friend deserves the best! Here’s how to give it to them throughout their entire lifespan.
Factors That Affect The Type of Nutrition Your Dog Needs
There are three main factors that can impact the type of nutrition that your dog requires. Gaining a better understanding of these factors can help you decipher where your dog might be lacking. These factors include the stage of life, activity level, and their own individual characteristics.
As always, if you have specific questions regarding the type of nutrition your dog needs, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with a trusted veterinarian. They could provide you with more guidance and confirm that you’re feeding your furry friend correctly.
Stage of Life
The first thing that impacts your dog’s nutritional requirements is their stage of life. Your dog goes through three main stages in their lifetime. Let’s break down the different necessities associated with each of them.
The first stage of your dog’s life is their youth—better known as their puppy months. Feeding a growing pup is a full-time job; we can say that for sure!
During a puppy’s first 6-12 weeks of life, they should be fed four times a day. You can cut this down to three times a day once your dog has reached three to six months of age.
The main takeaway is that your puppy requires more protein and fat during their growing period than they do during adulthood. This is to support their body as it grows and forms. Ensuring that your puppy gets the vitamins and minerals they require will help with their immune system health, as well as their overall body composition.
Your adult dog is going to require—you guessed it!—less protein and fat than they did as a puppy. In addition to this, you should transition from puppy formula to adult dog formula at some point. This transition period varies depending on what kind of dog you have, but generally falls somewhere between nine to ten months (for small dogs) or all the way up to 24 months (for larger dogs).
Finally, senior dogs have different requirements than puppies and adult dogs. Protein is also essential for your elderly dog to have. This is because dogs start to lose weight as they enter their senior years. A good rule of thumb to follow is that your senior dog’s diet requires an increased protein-to-calorie ratio. At least 25% of their calorie intake should be from a protein source.
The next factor to consider is your dog’s activity level. If your pup is a working or hunting dog, they will generally need much more protein and fat than a dog that gets a daily neighborhood walk. This allows them to replenish the energy they use every day.
Some veterinarians use a formula that allows them to decipher how many calories per day a dog will require. This could be helpful when it comes to breaking down how much food your dog needs. Dogs use proteins and fats as their number one source of energy. That’s why, if you have a working dog, supplying them with an ample amount of both is necessary.
Finally, your dog’s individual characteristics contribute to how much they should eat. When you’re considering this, ask yourself if your dog is overweight or underweight. What breed are they? What about their size?
While dogs overall require certain ingredients in their foods (such as proteins and fats, which they use for energy), each dog truly is different when it comes to their specific dietary requirements. This is because of all the above factors mentioned. Again, if you’re truly trying to figure out at least a rough estimate of how many calories your pet should be eating, using a vet-recommended formula could help.
Average Percentage Ranges
Of course, the exact amount of protein, fat, carbs, and other essential nutrients your dog requires is unique to your pup. Still, there are average percentage ranges that you can look out for to ensure that your pet is getting enough of what they need.
First, let’s run through the six essential nutrients that your dog needs to support their functions. These are:
- Carbohydrates (fiber is included)
On average, 18% protein will help your dog maintain their day to day health. This can increase if your dog is currently growing, but it should generally never exceed 30%. Up next are fats. These lipids are responsible for providing your pet with energy and assisting with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Your pet needs about 5% fats.
It’s important to note that there’s a wide range of acceptable values when it comes to carbohydrates. They provide an excellent source of dietary fiber, and they help form the base for other nutrients in your dog’s body.
Still, there is no required amount of carbohydrates for your dog—or for their food. This is because commercial dog food always contains enough carbohydrates to meet the daily requirements of glucose. Glucose itself assists with nervous system maintenance. This accounts for why there’s a wide range of how many carbohydrates your dog consumes.
The Usability of the Ingredients and Why It’s Important
One of the most important things to take into account is the usability of the ingredients that are in your dog’s food. This refers to the state of being able to be used by your dog. While your dog’s food might be stocked with ingredients, many of those might have little to no health benefit. They might not even provide your dog with any of the necessary nutrients they need!
For that reason, looking at the packaging and doing your research before you feed your pet is of paramount importance. If your dog’s food doesn’t include usable ingredients—ones that their bodies can apply to support certain critical functions—then it doesn’t matter if they’re eating the correct amount of food; they’ll still be at a nutrient deficiency.
Sundays’ Ingredients and Why They’re Better
At Sundays for Dogs, we understand your pet. Formulated by a veterinarian herself, Sundays For Dogs was created with the intention of providing your dog with food that they'll enjoy eating, as well as providingthem with all the nutrients they need.
To put it simply, Sundays is not your typical food brand. For one, our food is human-grade and created in a USDA-monitored kitchen. All of our ingredients and processing methods are required to meet the FDA safety standard of being fit for human consumption. After all, why give your dog something you wouldn’t feel safe eating?
Our formula was curated with your dog in mind. We never use anti-nutrients, common allergens (chicken or dairy), or sketchy fillers. That means you’ll never see vague “meal meats” in your dog’s food. In addition, we’re firmly against using anything artificial or synthetic.
What will you see in Sundays For Dogs? Protein-packed, air-dried meat that will appeal to even the pickiest of eaters, fruits and veggies that are rich in antioxidants, and—of course—we can’t forget the fiber! Those are just a few components of our human-grade food.
The exact amount of nutrients that your dog requires will alter over time and is based on your pup’s individual characteristics. What will stay the same? The necessity of feeding your pet high-quality food that provides them with everything they need to support their functions.
It’s as easy as choosing Sundays For Dogs. Join us today.