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 In Nutrition

Dog’s are omnivorous, just like human beings. Too often I hear about dog owners feeding their dogs like carnivores. While protein is a staple in a dog’s well balance diet, it should not be the only thing your dog eats. Dogs need proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water in the correct proportions according to VMRCVM Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Look for a Balanced Diet

The next time your in the store buying dog food check the nutritional information on the labels that say “well rounded’ or “balanced” diet. These should contain all of the vitamins and nutrients your dog needs as they are regulated by federal and state agencies.

When your skimming the label look for mention of a nutritional claim by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This is the best way to ensure that the nutritional contents “are what they are.”

25% of What? Cheese?

A label can be deceiving, especially the words on the front next to the image of the smiling dog. Regulations require that labels that read that a certain ingredient is the “sole” ingredient must contain 95% of that ingredient. According to Pet MD, “Phrases like dinner, platter and entrée means the foods must contain at least 25% of the named ingredient.” and if the label says the dish is “with” something, (like cheese) that something must amount to 3% per serving. Flavors listed on the label must be a detectable amount, so you’re welcome to test the legitimacy of the flavor on your palette.

Another way to ensure the nutritional adequacy of the dog food is to look for how it was tested for. This should also be displayed somewhere on the nutritional label. Feeding trails are the best way to guarantee nutritional adequacy. Look for feeding trails approved by the AAFCO posted somewhere on the label and you’ve got a trustworthy dog food brand in your hands. Feeding trails literally just means that the food was consumed by real dogs, and afterwards they didn’t experience any harmful side effects, or die.

No Supplements Necessary

dog food weightPay attention to the stages of life for dogs on the label, as different life stages require different amounts of vitamins and minerals for a healthy dog. Watch your dog’s weight after a few months and make sure there aren’t any irregularities in behavior. Look to make sure their coat is nice and healthy. If you have a label that say’s “balanced diet” you don’t need to supplement your dog’s diet with additional vitamins and minerals. All most dogs need at any stage of life is a consistent, balanced diet and fresh water to be nutritionally healthy.


Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine – Nutrition for the Adult Dog

Pet MD –

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