Nutrition of Dogs

Introduction to Dog Nutrition

The well being of the dog depends on the health status, exercise of the animal and predominantly the “Nutrition”. The most important thing that any dog owner does for his dog is ‘Feeding”. He trains it once in its lifetime, vaccinates only once in a year, grooms it before a show, baths it when it is dirty but is fed regularly. Now days lot of multinational companies are producing commercial foods, this is the time that veterinarians should give moir√© attention to the foods that are available in market, evaluate the food and thus helping the owner to choose the right kind of food that his pet, most in need of. Awareness about different pet foods would not only clear the myths regarding feeding but also ensure proper maintenance of dietary requirement of an animal. Moreover it helps in preventing metabolic disorders and deficiency diseases.

Requirement Of Nutrients

The requirement of energy, and other nutrients can be calculated as per the following recommendations.
For an adult dog, daily caloric requirement varies according to size, stage of life and type of food.

According to size of dog, the recommendations are:
Body weight (kg) Kcal ME/kg BW/day
> 10 kg85
10-35 kg 60
Over 35 50

The life stage requirement of calories is as follows: –
Maintenance -100%
Gestation (trimester 1&2)- 100%
Gestation (3rd trimester)- 125%
Lactation -200-300%
Moderate work- 120%

Protein and amino acid
Ten essential amino acids required for dogs are arginine, lysine, isoleucine, leucine, histidine, methionine, phenyl alanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine, of which lysine is first limiting amino acid. Methionine, threonine or isoleucine can be limiting depending upon protein source.


Dietary fat is concentrated source of calories. There is no known requirement as such: however, linoleic acid is required primarily to maintain normal hair and skin condition. Addition of fat will improve palatability of food.

Carbohydrate is not required for dogs; nevertheless, dry type canine diets frequently contain 40-60% carbohydrate. Carbohydrate must be cooked prior to feeding to prevent digestive disturbances.


Of the Minerals, calcium and phosphorus require prime considerations. The preferred calcium and phosphorus ratio is within the range of 1.2: 1 to 2:1. The dietary calcium levels should not exceed 1.8%. Dietary calcium above 4% (DMB) will decrease the growth.

Thumb rule in feeding
General recommendations for an adult dog is 21% protein
Growth 3500/ME/Kg diet
AT6 weeks of age 3Xcalories intake of adult
At 20 weeks of age 2Xcalories intake of adult (Ration 27% protein,3500 kcal ME/kgdiet)
27%protein 4400Kcal /ME/Kg
Lactation 2-3 X as that of adult
Geriatrics 25% protein, 3000 Kcal ME/KG diet.

Making pet food recommendations
After knowing the basic requirement of nutrients it is essential, to appreciate the factors to be considered for recommendations of pet food. It should be based on age, body condition, life stage and life style along with the preference of owners for cost and convenience.

Pets less than one year of age requires food for growth and hence recommendations are to be made according to body condition, whether it is normal thin or overweight.

Recommendations should also be made according to life stages as sedentary, moderately active or active

Categories of the products
1. Growth food – protein >21% fat 8%
2. Adult food- protein >21-26% fat >8-18%
3. Reduced caloric food- protein 14-25% fat 7-8%s

Performance food of all stages – protein >27%fat >9%.

Types of PET FOOD

Click here to know the types of pet foods.