When we talk about dog foods as being “balanced and complete”, it means they include the essential vitamins and minerals our dogs’ bodies need to function optimally. But how many of us know the nutrients our dogs rely on to stay healthy and happy? We’ve made an easy checklist, so you can make sure your dog’s diet provides them all.
Vitamins and Minerals Your Dog Needs
You need them in your dog’s main diet, but you can also use many of these sources as healthy snacks!
Found in carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, fish oil, and eggs.
Benefits: Weight loss, fights disease, eye and skin health.
Found in whole grains (such as brown rice or teff), green vegetables, and beans.
Benefits: Aids in cell growth and development.
Found in many fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, green beans, and zucchini.
Benefits: Immune boosting, promotes healing, and fights illness.
Found in fish oil, egg yolks, beef, and cottage cheese.
Benefits: Strengthens bones and teeth.
Found in leafy green vegetables (like kale), seeds (such as chia seeds), and whole grains.
Benefits: Eye and skin health, powerful antioxidant.
Found in leafy green vegetables, cabbage, and fish.
Benefits: Blood-clotting, keeps bones strong.
Minerals come from a variety of sources, and play unique roles in conjunction with the essential vitamins listed above. Check off this longer list through whole foods or vitamin supplements!
Found in tofu, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Found in meats, eggs, and fish.
Potassium, Sodium, & Chloride
Found in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Found in red meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and legumes.
Found in seafood, dairy, and kelp.
Found in seafood, meat, brown rice, and vegetables.
Found in seafood, whole grains, seeds, and legumes.
Found in nuts, whole grains, and leafy vegetables.
Found in vegetable oils, and lean meat.
Found in legumes, cereals, and organs.
How can you make sure your dogs gets these vitamins and minerals?
- Rely on whole foods. A majority of vitamins and minerals should be found in whole meats, vegetables, and oils in the diet, with only slight additions to ensure a complete diet. Highly-processed diets tend to lose many natural sources of vitamins and minerals in production, and are less likely to naturally supply these nutrients. If you’re needing to add your own vitamins and minerals to your dog’s food, that’s a sign to switch to a different diet– you shouldn’t have to add any nutrients on your own.
- Do not prepare your own dog food, unless advised by a veterinary nutritionist. DIY homemade dog food recipes seem like a healthy solution to kibble, but are often lacking in nutrients. Only prepare your dog’s food yourself if following a recipe created by a veterinary nutritionist who specializes in fresh recipes. Chicken and rice diets are not balanced, nor complete, and DIY raw diets can be flat out dangerous when prepared on your own.
- Do your research. Rather than going to the store and trying to assess the nutritional value in person, do your research at home. If you can’t find sufficient nutritional information posted anywhere, contact the company directly. You shouldn’t feed your dog anything you aren’t sure about, and should clarify that a diet includes all the essential vitamins and minerals listed above.
Being a pet parent means constantly learning about our pet’s nutritional needs, and discovering what we can do to best satisfy them!