Dogs need nutrients too?

Of course, all animals need nutrients to survive. If dogs did not need nutrients, then all advertisements for dog food stating that they provide a complete diet would be scams.

Like humans, dogs have a food pyramid that closely resembles ours.

This pyramid demonstrates the amount that a dog normally should consume. Vitamins and minerals are near the top of the pyramid not because they should be consumed the least but because the amounts you consume should be fairly small.


All animals require almost the same collection of nutrients: calories, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids. However, the official numbers for nutrient breakdown for canines varies, this has been hard to determine since dogs differ with activity levels, size, age and breed. In general, dogs need the same vitamins and minerals but in different quantities (Nestle & Nesheim, 2010).

Age is a factor in determining nutritional needs. The three stages of a dog’s life includes puppy, adult and senior.

During puppy years, their diet should be devoted to growing. But the nutrition should be in correct portions to average out growing rate to prevent skeletal deformities.

Nutrition in adult years are devoted towards maintenance. Dogs should be fed their age appropriate food since there are nutritional difference that can result in malnutrition (Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, n.d).  For example, puppies need four times the amount of arginine compared to adult canines (Eskew, 1999).

The last stage of a dog’s life would be senior years. Senior dogs have reduced amounts of physical activity as well as basal metabolic rate. Therefore, their diet should reduce the amount of daily energy intake. Studies have shown that senior dogs need 18% less amount of daily energy intake compared to an adult dog (Harper, 1998; Taylor, Adams & Neville, 1995).

Dogs comes in different sizes, toy breed, small breeds, medium breed, large breeds and giant breeds. Large breed dogs are more prone to orthopaedic disease such as hip dyspepsia or arthritis. Having lower energy dense food with balanced ratios of calcium and phosphorus have proven to help cases of these orthopaedic issues. In smaller breeds their digestive systems are much shorter resulting in high metabolic rates. In order to make up for the energy loss, smaller breeds should have calorie-dense foods to prevent issues like weakness, lethargy or hypoglycaemia. Therefore, the calories per pound that a dog intakes may vary due to their size (Coates, 2012).

Activity level and its association with caloric intake is widely recognized. The more physical activity done, the more calories should be eaten in order to provide enough energy for the body (Richard, 1998).

The nutritional differences between breeds has been a widely debated topic.  The advertisement states that the diets are tailored to the specific breed.  For example, Yorkshire terrier having no undercoat makes them susceptible to environmental factors. So their diets should be altered to ensure that their coat quality is good (Nestle & Nesheim, 2010). Another example would be how sporting dog foods would incorporate calcium and glucosamine with higher percentage of fat calories relative to other breed specific foods in order to enhance performance (U.S. Patent No. 6156355, 2000).


Veterinary guidance will allow you to know what is best for your dog.
Dogs that are overweight may have diet plans tailored to their needs.

Since there are so many different brands of food out there, you will definitely be able to find a brand that is suitable for your budget and your dog’s needs. Choosing the right diet for your dog is extremely important. The right diet will be able to provide the necessary nutrients for your dog to maintain a healthy life. This will reduce in possible vet bills in the future for any sicknesses or illnesses.

Providing the right diet for your pet greatly benefits its health and welfare since the animal will be much “happier” and healthier