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Nutrition Guidelines for dogs | Part 1


Perhaps the most common question pet owners ask their veterinarian is "What should I feed my dog?" Feeding your dog an appropriate amount of a well-balanced diet is vital to its overall health and well-being. To understand how and what to feed your dog, you need to understand what the nutritional requirements of dogs are and how these requirements have developed through the process of biological evolution.

Since dogs are carnivores, doesn’t this mean that they need to eat a diet that is meat based? As a species, the dog is a member of the scientific order Carnivora, a large group of mammalian animals that share a similar tooth structure. The dietary needs of animals belonging to this order vary. Some members of this group have an absolute requirement for meat in their diet (called obligate or true carnivores), while others can meet their nutrient requirements through eating plant material (herbivores) or a combination of meat and plants (omnivores). Cats are an example of an obligate carnivore, cows are an example of an herbivore, and dogs and humans are two examples of omnivores. Because of the dietary needs of dogs, both their tooth structure and intestinal tract have become adapted to an omnivorous diet. This means that, under normal circumstances, dogs can meet their nutritional needs by eating a combination of plant and animal foods. The source of the proteins and fats is less important than the quality and digestibility of these essential components of the dog's diet. Dogs can thrive if they are fed a properly balanced vegetarian diet. However, an all-meat diet would be unbalanced and would not meet all of a dog's nutritional requirements.

"Under normal circumstances, dogs can meet their nutritional needs by