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Understanding Common Dog Food Ingredients
Understanding Common Dog Food Ingredients

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Understanding Common Dog Food Ingredients

Nutrients are divided into subcategories: protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, and water.

 

Protein in Dog Food

Common dog-food protein sources include meat, poultry, fish, and some plant ingredients such as corn gluten and soybean meal.
 

Protein is best known for supplying amino acids, or protein subunits, to build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. It also plays a main role in hormone production.
 

Dogs, best fed as carnivores, require essential amino acids, that are not all found in the correct balance in single plant-protein sources such as soybean meal.

 

Carbohydrates in Dog Food

Common carbohydrate sources are plants and grains. Carbohydrates, also categorized as starches (sugars) and fibers, provide energy and bulk, respectively.
 

Starches are made up of various types of sugar, such as glucose or fructose. Through digestion, dogs can easily convert sugar into usable energy.
 

Fiber may or may not be fermented or broken down into short-chain fatty acids by bacteria in a dog's intestines. Highly fermentable fiber sources, such as vegetable gums, provide high amounts of short-chain fatty acids. Moderately fermentable fibers, such as beet pulp, provide short-chain fatty acids and bulk for moving waste. Slightly fermentable fibers, such as cellulose, provide mainly bulk for moving waste through the digestive tract and only a few short-chain fatty acids.

 

Fats in Dog Food

Fats are found in meats, poultry, fish, and plant oils, such as flax and vegetable oils. Fat, for all of its bad press, fulfills many vital body functions. Animal-cell membranes are made of fat. Fat also helps maintain body temperature, control inflammation, and more. Fat is the primary form of stored energy in the body, providing twice as much energy as carbohydrates or proteins.
 

Fats also provide the important fat subunits, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for skin and coat maintenance and proper membrane structure. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important in blood clotting and decreasing inflammation.

 

Vitamins and Minerals in Dog Food

Vitamins are responsible for promoting bone growth, blood clotting, energy production, and oxidant protection.
 

Vitamins A, D, E, and K require fat for absorption into the body, while vitamins such as the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C need water to be absorbed into the body.
 

Minerals provide skeletal support and aid in nerve transmission and muscle contractions.

Understanding Common Dog Food Ingredients

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    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels

    How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.

     

    1. The Ingredient Panel

    This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
     

    Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.

     

    2. The Guaranteed Analysis

    Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.

     

    3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address

    This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.

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