Basics of Canine Nutrition and Proper Diet
Keep the supply of the various food groups carefully balanced, paying particular attention to the calorie intake in relation to the other nutrients.
Every time a pet owner increases the calorie content in his dog's diet by adding too many fats or carbohydrates (bread or cakes, given supposedly as a treat for the dog but, in reality, as a treat for the owner), the proportion of proteins, minerals, and vitamins in the diet must be increased.
In fact, the richer the food is in calories, the less of it the animal absorbs, and the balance of nutrients needed to meet the dog's dietary requirements may be disrupted.
Furthermore, you cannot just increase the percentage of protein; you must also watch its quality. By combining high- and low-protein foods such as meat, offal, fish, cereals, and vegetables, you can provide a proper diet, in both quantity and quality.
Energy needs are influenced by the body surface area, therefore large dogs require less energy on a body weight basis than do small dogs.
The nutrient composition of dog foods is calculated on a dry weight basis-that is, the amount of protein in wet, semi-moist, and dry foods can only be compared when the quantity of moisture has been subtracted from the food's net weight.
For example, if a tin of food weighs 100 units and 80 per cent of those units (80 units) is water and 10 per cent of those units (10 units) is protein, the dry weight of the Un is 20 units, 10 units of which (or half) is protein. A 100-unit sack of dry food, on the other hand, typically contains 5 per cent moisture (5 units) and 20 per cent protein (20 units). Thus, only 19 per cent of a dryweight unit of dry food is protein compared to 50 per cent of a dry-weight unit for wet.
Quality commercial foods generally contain added vitamins to compensate for any nutrient loss during processing. For the same reason, you should be sure to provide a vitamin supplement if you prepare your dog's food yourself.
When cereals or vegetables are cooked, as they must be in dog food, they can lose between 5 and 40 per cent of their vitamins. Eggs should always be given cooked since raw egg white interferes with the absorption of biotin, an important B vitamin.
Staples in Canine Diets
Dogs may become accustomed to a particular diet and refuse to eat other foods. To avoid the development of dietary 'bias,' young dogs should be exposed to a variety of foods.