Nutrient Requirements And General Feeding Guidelines For Dogs

A healthy and balanced diet is necessary for the growth, maintenance, and improvement of a dog's overall health. Most of the commercial foods available on the market are made by keeping your dog's particular needs, such as deficiencies, illnesses, and requirements, in mind.

But the nutrient requirements of dogs are based on their age, so knowing how much to feed your dog at different stages of life is important. Basically, different nutritional substances are given to your dog as an energy source and necessary nutrients for their growth and maintenance.

If you want to know your dog's nutrient requirements and tips for good dog nutrition, read this article to the end.

Nutrient Requirements of dog

There are basically six essential nutrients for dogs, and each nutrient requirment is discussed in detail below.


Water is an essential nutrient to maintain the balance of life. In fact, our adult body weight constitutes 60-70% of water. The foods your dog eats on a daily basis may meet some of the water requirements. As dry food contains 10% moisture and canned food is almost 80% moisture, but your dog still needs a fair amount of water all the time.

If your dog suffers from a water deficiency or dehydration, this can result in serious health problems. If the body loses 15% water, it can result in death.


Fats are an essential part of the dog's diet and are actually a concentrated form of energy. Fats contain twice the energy of carbohydrates and proteins. Fats are necessary for the production of some hormones, the structure of cells, and the absorption of certain vitamins.

Fats are also essential because they provide protection and insulation to internal organs. If your dog suffers from a fatty acid deficiency, many growth and skin problems will occur. The fat requirement of an adult dog is 5 to 15% of the total diet.


Dogs need protein in their usual diet because it is essential for their maintenance, growth, repair, and reproduction. Protein is basically the building block of tissues, cells, hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and hormones. Your dog can get protein from various sources, including lamb, chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, and fish, and also from some vegetable and grain sources.

The protein requirement of an adult dog is 2.62 g of protein per kg of metabolic weight. The requirement of lactating females, pregnant females, and puppies is greater than that of an adult dog.


Carbohydrates are a source of energy for your dog and play an important role in maintaining a healthy gut. In reality, there is no minimum carbohydrate requirement. Still, there is a glucose requirement that is necessary for the function of many organs in the body.


Dogs cannot synthesize their vitamins, and it is crucial to provide them in their regular diet. Minerals are essential structural components of teeth, bones, and maintaining the body's fluid balance. Two types of minerals are required by the dog body, such as macrominerals and microminerals. Macrominerals are required in excessive quantity compared to microminerals.


A small amount of vitamins are necessary to perform the vital function of the body. Dogs basically require 13 essential vitamins in their regular diet, which are A, E, D, K, B1, B2, B6, and B12.

Most vitamins are not synthesized by the dog's body, and it is essential to provide them through the diet. However, it is crucial to provide the vitamins according to the dogs' nutrient requirements. You can use a multivitamin supplement like TRU Multivitamin to avoid vitamin deficiencies in dogs.

Tips for feeding puppies

The nutrient requirements of puppies are twice as compared to adults. Puppies generally need a food that contains between 25% and 30% protein.

An important point to keep in mind is that adult body size and weight are determined by genes, not by how fast the body grows. Therefore, it is useless to overfeed a puppy in order to accelerate his growth.

If your puppy eats too many calories, he will be overweight and have many health problems. In small breeds of dogs, it has been seen that they can reach their adult weight in nine to twelve months.

In small breed puppies, you can leave food and let them eat according to their will, but in the case of medium and giant dog breeds, free-feeding can cause many bone and joint problems. It is best to consult your vet and feed your puppy according to his life stage.

Tips for feeding your adult dog

You should feed your adult dog according to its size and energy needs. An adult dog that has regular body activity should receive maintenance energy for daily activities. If your dog has an active lifestyle and exercises regularly, he may need 20-40% extra energy along with maintenance energy.

Some other factors, such as temperature, also play a role in your dogs' feeding requirements. This is because to keep a dog's body warm and cool, it needs additional energy. As a result, the dog needs a diet high in energy. You should talk to your vet about increasing or decreasing energy requirements when the temperature rises or falls.

Tips for feeding your senior dogs

When dogs reach the age of 12, they begin to show visible signs of age-related problems. It is also important to keep in mind that immunological, metabolic, and body composition also change with age. Some age-related problems are not easy to deal with, but some can be treated with diet.

When considering feeding your senior dog, maintaining optimal body weight, good health, and minimizing chronic disease development should be the primary goal.

When selecting a good diet, it is vital to feed your senior dog highly digestible protein that can help him maintain the right muscle mass. It has been seen that older dogs can gain weight despite feeding them low-calorie food; this may be due to the change in metabolic rate.

However, it is important to feed your adult dog a low calorie and low protein diet so that he will live happily in his old days.


It is important to meet your dog's nutritional requirements. Each dog's nutrient requirement is different as it depends on different factors such as age, breed, activity level, etc. It is best to consult your veterinarian because they can guide you on how you can handle your dog's nutritional needs.