The nutrition in your pet’s food is used as a source of energy for growth. Dogs require a certain amount of nutrition in their diet to maintain their health. Most high-quality commercial pet food will supply all the nutrients your dog will need. Unless your’ pet has a health condition that requires a need for extra nutrients or supplements to be added into the dogs diet, he should be fine with good quality dog food, and a supplement that should be used to make sure.
More than one-third of dogs in the U.S. over one-year-old are considered to be overweight. Small dogs up to 66 pounds usually only need 185- 370 calories per day, while dogs between 67- 100 pounds will require 1,000- 2,000 calories daily. Of course, this also depends upon how active they are and how fast their metabolism works.
Here is a great slideshow that depicts skin and coat issues that are often caused by dietary needs http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-skin-problems-in-dogs
How will I know if my dog is under-nourished?
It is important here for dog owners to understand that not all dogs who suffer from malnutrition are abandoned or abused animals. Many are from loving, safe homes where the owners do not understand the nutrition their pet requires.
There are some signs you can look for that can indicate if your pet has malnutrition.
- Emaciated or extremely thin
- Strong and frequent passing of gas
- Inconsistent bowel movements
- Overly runny or hard feces
- Pain while defecating
- Vomiting bile
- Decreased energy
- Susceptibility to illness
- Hair loss
- Poor eyesight
- Weak bones and teeth
- Dry skin or dandruff
While these can also be symptom of other illnesses (including internal parasites) a combination of any of these can be strong signs of malnutrition. If you suspect that your pet is under-nourished, see your veterinarian. There could be an underlying health cause that is stopping your dog from digesting the nutrition available in his food.
How will I know if my dog is over-nourished?
Most older dogs and those with low activity can easily become over-nourished. As your pet advances in age he naturally becomes less active. Other factors such as environmental limitations, excessive snacking, and table scraps can cause a dog to gain weight. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to health issues.
- Diabetes mellitus
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Urinary bladder stones
- Weight management issues
As with malnutrition, a problem with over-nutrition could also be caused by an underlying health problem. If your pet’s activity level or eating habits have not changed, but his waistline is thickening, you may want to have him checked by your veterinarian.
A healthy balanced diet
One of the best things you can do for your dog’s health is to make sure that he is receiving a healthy, balanced dogs diet. Find out what type of nutrients are important for your dog’s breed, and pick a dog food that best suits those needs. If you are in question about what brand is best, it is always a good practice to ask your veterinarian.
A balanced diet that includes Vitamins A, E, and C, along with Omega Fatty Acids is a great start. Some pets may simply require an extra supplement to be added to their daily dietary intake to balance their nutrition levels. Keep in mind though, that your pet requires exercise along with a good feeding plan.