Pawfect Pooch Diet: Essential Nutrients for Dogs

Raising a healthy dog requires a healthy and nutritious diet. But picking the right pet food is not an easy feat, especially if you are a first-time pet owner with limited know-how of animal nutrition and in particular, nutrients for dogs.

Here, I did a little research and have highlighted the basics of essential nutrients for dogs, including what foods to feed your dog when they’re sick as well as the harmful ingredients to watch out for when feeding them store-bought meals.

Whether you own a puppy or an older dog, the following information will help you in keeping your pet fit and healthy, regardless of what their age and activities might be.

Essential Nutrients for Dogs

As is the case with a balanced diet for humans, a healthy diet for dogs should also contain a sufficient amount of all the essential nutrients including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and certain vitamins and minerals.

The following is a brief overview of the most important nutrients for dogs and why they must be present in your furry friend’s daily meals:


Carbohydrates serve the same purpose in a pet’s diet as they do in yours. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy, and are responsible for keeping your pet on all fours throughout the day. When your pooch runs, jump, and play or even bark for that matter, they derive most of the energy for that activity through carbohydrates stored as packets of energy in their body.

If your pet loves to play all the time, or participates with you in relatively high-intensity physical activities such as hiking, make sure to provide them with a carb-rich diet.


Proteins are vital for your pet’s health because of many different reasons.

Since they are composed of amino acids, they provide your pooch with particular compounds that their bodies cannot manufacture on their own. These agents, in turn, help in ensuring proper growth. They facilitate the production of healthy tissues and keep various organs functioning properly.


Fatty acids commonly known as just fats play an important role in ensuring that your dog stays in the best of their health. Certain fatty acids boost skin health and thus, help your furry friend maintain a thick and shiny coat.  While you must control the amount of fats in your dog’s food, keep in mind that a limited quantity of fats can make your pet feel malnourished and lead to certain skin problems such as seborrhea.

Fats also enhance the overall flavor of a food item. So, a specific amount of fats is necessary if you want your dog to eat their meals.

Vitamins and Minerals

There is a long list of nutrients under this category that your dogs need in order to stay healthy and active. If you feed them fresh fruits and veggies from time to time, it will usually be sufficient to provide them with all the vitamins and minerals that they need.

However, some minerals that you need to be mindful of include magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium. These are highly important, especially for puppies, as they aid in the development of strong bones and muscles.

Foods to Feed Your Dog When They Are Sick

It is not usual for even the healthiest of dogs to get a stomach upset once in a while. Therefore, it would help to know beforehand what to feed your dog when he’s experiencing digestive problems.

Chicken and Rice

This bland meal is not only good for dogs with stomach issues, but also ridiculously easy to prepare at home. If your beloved pooch has had an upset stomach before, you might already be aware that a mix of boiled rice and chicken is the first meal that vets recommend.

You can use both white and brown rice because they are equally light on your dog’s stomach. If your dog refuses to eat it because it seems to tasteless, you may add some chicken or vegetable broth. However, you must avoid adding butter or any other similar seasonings because it will beat the whole purpose of the dish.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes can be an excellent way to boost your dog’s digestive health whether or not they have been sick lately. This is because sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals like manganese and potassium. Together, these nutrients can treat an upset stomach.

When feeding your dog sweet potatoes, you should preferably cut it into small cubes that are easy to chew. Also, boil the potatoes before feeding them to your pet.


Pumpkins are a rich source of dietary fiber which is the primary requirement for improving digestive health. Whether your dog has constipation or diarrhea, it is unlikely that a hearty helping of pumpkin won’t solve the problem.

Ideally, you should go for fresh pumpkin, but if that’s not readily available you can use canned pumpkins too. Just make sure that it is not flavored and does not contain any spices. Also, rinse it under clean water to wash off any preservatives because your pooch doesn’t really need that.

You can feed them boiled pumpkin directly or make a pumpkin puree and mix it with their regular food if the problem isn’t too severe.

Note: Although these foods are good for getting rid of tummy issues in dogs, you must not delay seeing a vet if your dog’s diarrhea or vomiting persists for more than a day. Failing to do so can lead to dehydration and further complications.

Harmful Ingredients in Dog Food

Whether or not you are an advocate for raw homemade dog food, there’s a chance that your dog gets to enjoy prepackaged pet food at least once in a while.

However, not every pet food product available in the market is good for your pooch’s health. While they might contain the essential nutrients for dogs, they often also contain agents that can be rather harmful to your pet’s health.

Here are the main ingredients that are not only harmful to your canine companion but can actually prove to be toxic in the long run:

  • BHT and BHA Preservatives – can increase the risk of cancer in dogs
  • Menadione – Excessive use of menadione and its derivative compounds can be damaging for your pet’s liver
  • Sweeteners – Sugary foods tend to make dogs hyperactive. Plus, since sugar can be addictive, your dog might lose interest in their regular meals and start demanding unhealthy, sugary treats instead

To help your dog live a long and healthy life, it is best to talk to a vet or an expert animal nutritionist as they can help you decide the proper diet plan according to your pet’s specific needs.

by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™

Facts About Animal Homelessness:

  1. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
  2. The main reasons animals are in shelters: owners give them up, or animal control finds them on the street.
  3. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Act as a publicist for your local shelter so pets can find homes. Sign up for Shelter Pet PR.
  4. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  5. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2% of cats and only 15 to 20% of dogs are returned to their owners.
  6. 25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred.
  7. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.
  8. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States. Estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
  9. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. Overpopulation, due to owners letting their pets accidentally or intentionally reproduce, sees millions of these “excess” animals killed annually.
  10. Many strays are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
  11. According to The Humane Society, there are about 3,500 brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US and 10,000 rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America.

Here are a some adoptions for consideration: