To understand how and what to feed your dog, you need to understand what the nutritional requirements of the dog.
The six basic nutrients are:
Early in life, puppies must eat often and lots! They need relatively larger quantities of food because they are growing rapidly.
At 6 to 8 weeks of age, they need to be fed about four meals a day.
By 6 months, they can be fed two to three meals a day.
Because of their rapid growth, any nutritional “mistakes” made during puppyhood will have more severe, even irreversible and lifelong, consequences. Because growth is almost complete by 8 to 10 months of age, the average puppy can be switched to “adult” dog food at about 12 months of age.
Older dogs, especially those over 7 years of age, will benefit from a diet formulated for their needs. Senior dog diets often have lower calories, higher protein, lower sodium, and fewer carbohydrates.
Energy is what keeps the “Machine” running. Energy is needed for running, walking, getting up or even breathing. Energy is required for each and every cell to function. The primary source of energy of course is the Carbohydrates. They supply immediate energy and are also stored for later use as fats. When your dog is kept on a diet, the stored up fats get used.
Like we used to say back in fifth grade “Proteins are the Basic Building Blocks of Life”. And amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Animals require proteins as proteins are necessary for the structure and functioning of the cells and all amino acids cannot be synthesised by the body. Increased requirement occurs during pregnancy, lactation and growth period.
Fats are also a source of energy but are considered to be secondary to carbs. They are stored sources kept aside for tougher times. Fats are also needed for providing a better texture to the food.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamins and minerals are an indispensible part of the diet and directly act in many of the body functions and metabolic pathways. They help to regulate body metabolism. Some are required in large amounts while others in traces.
They do not specifically play a role in nutrition per say. But they act in helping the movement of food through the digestive tract. They help in managing constipation and diarrhoea. It’s usually of plant origin and composed of indigestible materials.
Water is the absolute essentiality of life. Your dog cannot go more than a few days without water. Water is continually lost through skin, breathing and excretion. It must be replenished through intake of fluid or by break down of ingested food stuffs.