Key Nutrients & Ingredients to Look For in Dog Food

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Feeding a high quality dog food is one of the most important things you, as a dog parent, can do to keep your dog healthy and active. But what constitutes a high quality dog food and how can you tell if your dog is receiving the nutrition he needs to thrive?

A high quality dog food is one that is complete and balanced, containing all of the nutrients necessary to support your dog's body functions. There are six nutrient groups that are important for all dogs: protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.


Proteins perform many functions and are important for growth, maintenance, reproduction and repair of damaged tissues. Amino acids are the building blocks on which proteins are formed. Essential amino acids are those that are required in the food because your dog’s body is incapable of synthesizing them in sufficient quantities. Non-essential amino acids are those that your dog’s body can synthesize so they are not required in the dog food.


Fats are an important energy source but are also required for various body functions. Fatty acids, a specific type of fat, play an important role in regulating the body’s inflammatory response and are particularly important for your dog’s health – particularly for the skin and a coat.


Carbohydrates are another important source of energy for your dog. Carbohydrates include simple sugars such as glucose as well as more complex sugars such as fiber which helps keep the intestinal tract healthy. Though there is not a minimum required carbohydrate requirement for dogs, carbohydrates present in dog food can provide a valuable source of fiber and energy, sparing the protein in the dog food for more important body functions.

For the complete article on dog food ingredients and nutrients, dogs are what they eat, visit petMD