Logo NHC

Canine Nutrition Basics: What You Need to Know

canine nutrition
Learn the facts about canine nutrition.

A healthy diet is a top priority for most of us. You work hard to provide the proper nutrition for you and your family every day, and that should include your pets. Canine nutrition is crucial to a long and healthy life for man’s best friend, so here’s what you need to know.

Canine Nutrition, According to Age

Your dog’s dietary needs primarily rely on how old he or she is. Just like people, dogs of different ages, from puppies to seniors, require different levels of nutrition, and more importantly different dog vitamins and nutrients to support their current phase of life.

Puppy Phase

A puppy’s nutrition during the first four weeks of its life comes exclusively from its mother’s milk. After that, a puppy needs to be weaned off milk and slowly onto a high quality puppy food (moistened with warm water). The entire weaning process (where the puppy consumes both mother’s milk and puppy food) should be completed by about 8 weeks of age. You should look for a puppy food that has a high protein content, ideally at least 30 percent. Follow the package instructions on portion size according to your puppy’s weight.

Adult Phase

Adult dogs need proper canine nutrition to support energy levels and to support and maintain healthy joints and digestive system. How much a dog eats depends on its size and activity level. Working dogs and very active dogs will require extra calories, where as laid back lap dogs will need only a fraction of that. Talk to your veterinarian for advice on how much and how often to feed your dog. Then shop for natural pet health supplements on NHC.com!

For adult dogs, try Canine Immune Support from Standard Process (free consultation required for purchase).

Senior Phase

A dog’s digestive system begins to slow down in his senior years, so his canine nutritional needs will need to be adjusted again. After about seven years of age, your dog’s weight and vitamin intake becomes even more important. Extra weight can put a major strain on a dog’s joints, heart, and other vital organs, so it’s important that they don’t overeat. You’ll also want to add supplements to your senior dog’s diet such as joint support, and a geriatric multivitamin.

For senior dogs, try Agile Joints Large Canine from Pet Wellbeing, a liquid herbal supplement. Also try Canine Geriatric Basics, capsules by Thorne Research.

The quality of dog food you feed to your pet makes a huge difference. Just because a package claims to be high protein doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s made with high quality ingredients. In fact, many dog food manufacturers get away with labeling food high protein when it’s made using undesirable cuts of meat, and even non-digestible substances such as feather, hides and hooves. That’s why it’s important that you read the ingredients label before purchasing.

What do you do to help ensure your pet is receiving the proper canine nutrition? Let us know in the comments below!