A pet’s nutritional health depends on receiving the appropriate amounts and proportions of nutrients from the six required groups: water, protein, fat, fibre, minerals and vitamins. With the exception of water, commercial pet foods identified as 100% complete and balanced contain all of these required nutrients in the proper proportions. As important as these nutrients are, it’s equally important for pet owners to provide clean, fresh drinking water for their pets so that all of their nutritional needs are met. Read on for a closer look at the six essential nutrients.
This is a crucial ingredient for good health. Protein is the raw material of all the tissues of a dog’s body. Since a puppy’s body is rapidly expanding and developing during his first year (up to two years for some larger breeds), a high protein level in his food is essential. Any protein not used in tissue development and maintenance is used as an energy supply. Purina® Pro Plan® FOCUS Puppy Chicken and Rice has 28% protein on the guaranteed analysis.
Fat is a concentrated form of energy, containing more than twice as much energy per unit of weight as protein or carbohydrate. In fact, it has so much energy that a puppy might not be able to burn it all off, and the excess energy will be stored as body fat. For this reason, it’s important to feed in carefully regulated quantities. Fats also promote healthy skin and coat, and carry fat-soluble vitamins and omega fatty acids.
Like humans, puppies need an appropriate amount of fibre to aid in digestion. The roughage helps keep the gastrointestinal tract working properly.
There are some minerals that a puppy requires in larger quantities than an adult dog, such as calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for the development of strong bones and teeth. It’s also important that your puppy food contains the appropriate amount and proportions of minerals that your puppy needs.
Vitamins are key in metabolic regulation and the development of a dog’s body. Different types of vitamins are absorbed differently, and since puppies are growing, they need food with vitamins balanced for their stage of life. Purina® Puppy Chow® brand puppy food contains the vitamins a puppy needs to grow, including Vitamin A, Vitamin E and the B Vitamins.
Fat-soluble vitamins are those that are carried by fat and stored in a dog’s body over long periods of time. Vitamin A is important for vision, and a healthy immune system, skin and coat. Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and is important for proper bone development. Vitamin E helps support a healthy immune system.
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. Whatever is not used is excreted from the dog’s body, so they must be replenished every day. These vitamins include vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, choline, thiamin, biotin and pyridoxine. Many of these are used in nervous system functions, and others promote healthy skin and coat, or metabolism.
Like all living things, dogs need water. Water helps regulate body temperature, cushion joints and internal organs, digest food, eliminate waste, lubricate tissue, and allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body. Fresh drinking water in a clean bowl should be available to dogs at all times. Some puppies like their Purina® Puppy Chow® brand puppy food moistened with a little bit of water.