Dog Food Nutrition Facts: Vitamins and Minerals

Analyzing Dog Food- Why Dogs Need Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals

Your dog’s diet should have fiber in moderate amounts because it can help with digestion. However, fiber has no nutritional value, as it passes through the digestive tract without undergoing any digestion. But it swells up and adds bulk to the food, helping its movement through the intestines, preventing constipation and hard stools. The indigestible cell wall of plant tissues is the main constituent of fiber. The amount of plant-based ingredients in the dog’s food determines the quantity of fiber it gets.

Excess fiber causes gas

Although it is beneficial, fiber content in the dog’s diet should be limited, as excess fiber can result in loose stools and too frequent defecation. It can also cause gas in dogs.

High-fiber diets may be prescribed by veterinarians for obese dogs and those having diabetes or anal gland disease. Fiber stabilizes blood sugar in diabetic dogs. Fiber satiates hunger in obese dogs as it fills the stomach with material containing practically no calories. The bulky stools resulting from high-fiber diet can exert pressure on the anal glands and help express their secretions. Frequent passing of stools prevent the impaction of these glands.

Vitamins and Minerals

Why vitamins and minerals are important

We know dogs need optimum amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates in their diet. But besides these major nutritional groups, they also require small amounts of vitamins and minerals as part of a healthy diet. Vitamin A, Vitamin C and B-group vitamins such as niacin are organic compounds necessary for the metabolic activities in the body. On the other hand, minerals are inorganic, and they have both structural and functional roles in the body. For example, calcium and phosphorus are needed for the bones while iodine and iron are necessary for glandular functions and exchange of gases in the blood.

Both vitamins and minerals should be present in right amounts in a complete, balanced diet for dogs. Good quality dog foods supply them in the right proportion.

Excess vitamins are worse than vitamin deficiency

You may see many vitamin and mineral supplements and fortified foods among the dog foods in the shops. Sometimes it may be necessary to use these supplements to treat specific health problems in dogs. But these should not be used without first consulting the veterinarian. All nutrients should ideally come from food; and in some cases, excess supplementation can cause more harm than their deficiency. Minerals, in particular, should be given to the dogs only on the veterinarian’s recommendation as unnecessary use can lead to severe problems.

Dog Food Analysis: The Importance of Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber For Your Dog

Moderate amounts of fiber in a dog’s diet can help to promote healthy digestion. Unlike other nutrients, fiber passes through the stomach and small intestine without being digested. While passing through the dog’s digestive system, fiber helps to move food, aids in keeping bowel movements regular and prevents constipation. Very high fiber diets, however, can cause dogs to develop gas, loose stool and have more frequent bowel movements. Because fiber is found in the cell walls of plants, diets with more plant material have higher fiber than those with less plant material. Consequently, plant based diets tend to produce bulkier stools than meat based diets.

Vitamins and Minerals

Sometimes veterinarians recommend high fiber dog foods to treat medical conditions including diabetes, obesity and anal gland disease. Fiber is beneficial to diabetic dogs, because it helps to stabilize blood sugar. Obese dogs benefit from high fiber foods, because the fiber produces a feeling of fullness without contributing extra calories. Dogs with anal gland disease benefit from the bulky stools caused by high fiber diets. These bulky stools help to express anal glands more frequently, reducing the risk of impactions.

Vitamins and Minerals

In addition to water, protein, fat and carbohydrates, dogs need certain vitamins and minerals from their diets in order to stay healthy. Vitamins, such as niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E and others, are organic substances that the body uses to drive or aid metabolism. Minerals, such as copper, iron, iodine and others, are inorganic substances that are essential for a healthy life. Appropriate types and amounts of vitamins and minerals need to be part of the analysis and present in a complete canine diet.

Complete, balanced commercial dog foods contain the proper amounts of essential vitamins and minerals to maintain canine health. Vitamin and mineral supplements are sometimes necessary to address certain health conditions, but they should only be used in consultation with a veterinarian. In some cases consuming large excesses of certain vitamins and minerals can be as bad as or worse than not consuming sufficient amounts of the same nutrients. Minerals, especially, should never be supplemented without professional advice and analysis. Improper supplementation can cause serious health problems in dogs.