Nutrition for dogs: essential nutrients for health and basic food Pet Food by Main Glenn - March 2, 20210 There is a lot to know when it comes to selecting the best dog food for your newly adopted puppy, and it is one of the most important decisions you will make to ensure he lives a long and healthy life. With that said, we’ve broken down the basics of dog nutrition, what to look for when selecting that perfect food, and the basics of feeding. Table of Contents ProteinVitamins and mineralsAAFCOFeeding guidelines Protein The bottom line is that dogs need protein to thrive, and it’s one of the most important ingredients to consider when evaluating different brands of dog food. What is the first ingredient on the bag or can of dog food? It is important that the first ingredient is a protein because the first ingredient listed on the nutrition label on your dog’s food will be the most prominent. You may wonder why protein is so important. For dogs, protein is a very important source of essential amino acids and energy. “Protein is an important part of a dog’s diet.Twelve of these amino acids that a dog produces in its body, but the other ten must be supplied by animal sources such as meat, chicken, fish in the dog’s diet. Vitamins and minerals Vitamins and minerals are very important and play a vital role in the health and development of our puppies. Because of this, many brands of pet food include vitamins and minerals when making food. Initial dog food recipes contain important vitamins and minerals for your dog, such as vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, and vitamin E supplement. Vitamin A is excellent for supporting your dog’s vision. Vitamin D3 is great for the skin of dogs, as they cannot get vitamin D from the sun. Last but not least, vitamin E helps your dog build healthy and strong muscles and keeps his immune system strong. AAFCO AAFCO may be one thing that can stand out on the bag or can of dog food. AAFCO stands for the Association of American Food Control Officials, and they have guidelines outlined for pet food companies to follow when creating their food. With that in mind, it is important to ensure that any dog food you are evaluating for your dog has the AAFCO statement. What this means is that the pet food has been created according to AAFCO nutrient requirements or has conducted AAFCO feeding studies to help ensure it meets your dog’s nutritional requirements to stay healthy. Feeding guidelines Following the feeding guidelines listed on the dog food you are feeding your dog is a great rule of thumb to follow. These eating guidelines will be based on age and weight. “Older dogs generally don’t need to consume as many calories to maintain their ideal body weight, and it may be a good idea to consider a senior diet or a lower calorie diet to prevent your older pet from becoming overweight. Adopting a new dog is a fun and rewarding experience, and diet is very important to ensuring its health for life. If you have any specific questions about your dog’s dietary needs, consult with your veterinarian.