5 Guides from Canine Nutritionists to Help You Understand Your Dog's Nutritional Requirements
Step 13 of 18 in the Dogly Basic Nutrition Channel
with Cory & Jane of Dogly

To help your dog lead a happy and healthy life, it's important to make sure you're giving your dog all of the nutritional requirements he or she needs from dog food.

With so many different types of dog food on the market and confusing food labels, it can be hard to know where to start.

That's why we've brought together Dogly Nutrition Advocates, all certified canine nutritionists, for five step-by-step guides that will help you understand the five essential nutrients dogs need and how to choose dog foods that match your dog's nutritional needs.

Here are the 5 step-by-step guides from canine nutritionists/Dogly Nutrition Advocates on the nutritional requirements dogs need from dog food:

Check out each guide directly above or you can see all of the guides in the Basic Nutrition Channel here on Dogly as well as additional guides on how to feed your dog for his/her different life stage, activities to improve your dog's diet, or you can ask questions in the Community discussion.

Let's get into a short overview of how to make sure your dog is getting the most health benefits by eating dog food that matches his/her nutrient requirements in each guide below...


Needed Nutrients Guide 1: The nutrients that could be missing in your dog's diet

Many people think as long as they're feeding their dog a "complete and balanced" food, their pup is getting all of the nutrients he or she needs. However, even the best quality foods on the market can be deficient in certain nutrients. How can this be?

Most commercial pet foods adhere to nutrient requirements from The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) which means these foods were formulated by nutritionists and food scientists to meet nutrient requirements. However, that doesn't take into account what can happen to nutrients in the processing of dog food. That's why it's important to look for minimally processed dog food with whole, quality ingredients to give your dog the best chance at receiving adequate amounts of all the nutrients he/she needs.

In this step-by-step guide from canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Alicia Boemi, you'll learn:

  1. All of the nutrients your dog's body needs
  2. Why essential nutrients matter in dog food
  3. Three steps to help you match the right food to your dog's nutritional needs

Jump to the full guide here to understand your dog's nutritional needs and how to find the best dog food for your individual dog or dive into an overview of protein requirements for your dog's food in the next guide below.

Needed Nutrients Guide 2: Why dogs need protein and how to feed it

Protein is one of the most essential nutrients for dogs because it helps them build and maintain muscle mass, as well as supports a healthy coat, skin, and immune system. But how much protein is needed for a dog's balanced diet? Can you ever feed too much protein or not enough? What about plant proteins vs animal protein in dog food? What are the best high quality protein sources for dogs and why is protein so vital to helping our dogs stay healthy?

These are some of the most common questions we hear from pet parents on protein requirements for dogs and all are answered in the step-by-step guide linked here.

Additional questions on why dogs need protein and how to feed it answered by canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Alicia Boemi in this guide are:

  • What are proteins, actually?
  • What foods are a healthy source of essential amino acids for dogs?
  • Is protein and its nutritional benefits more accessible to my dog in some foods vs others?
  • Should I be feeding more protein to my senior dog than my more active adult dog, or less protein?
  • Is protein important for anything else?
  • Can you overfeed or underfeed protein?
  • What about plant protein for dogs vs animal protein?

To see the answers to these questions and more, jump to the full step-by-step guide here or continue on to the next guide that focuses on the question, "do dogs need carbohydrates in their diet?"


Needed Nutrients Guide 3: Why (some) dogs need (some) carbohydrates in their food

There is a lot of debate on whether or not dogs need carbohydrates in their diet. Especially with the focus on grain-free dog food recently. However, the truth is it all depends on your dog's individual nutritional needs. So, how do you know if your dog needs carbs and which ones are best?

Carbohydrates are essential for dogs that need them because they provide energy, help with digestive health, and support a healthy coat and skin. But, like all nutrients, too much or too little

carbohydrate can cause problems.

This guide explains a few things to consider when thinking about carbohydrates and your dog's health and nutrition, like:

  • Which carbohydrates are the "good carbs" for your dog
  • Which carbohydrates you should avoid in your dog's food
  • Which carbohydrates are more readily digestible to help meet the nutritional requirement for your dog's balanced dog food

For many dogs, the right dietary carbohydrate has its benefits if prepared, fed, and used correctly so dive into the full guide here to learn more about carbohydrates and your dog's nutrition, or continue on to get a better understanding of the vitamins and minerals you should be sure are in your dog's food.

Needed Nutrients Guide 4: The important vitamins and minerals to look for in dog food

There are many vitamins and minerals listed on dog food labels that provide important health benefits for dogs, but some are more essential than others. What are the necessary vitamins and minerals you should be sure are in your dog food and your dog's diet overall? How much should come from your dog's food and which vitamins and minerals are not easily absorbed or available in food? And which vitamins and minerals should be given in the form of supplements if they are lacking in your dog food?

This step-by-step guide helps you answer these questions by teaching you the required essential vitamins and minerals in a dog's diet as well as the role each essential vitamin and mineral plays. The guide goes into detail on how vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B all support your dog's overall health. As well as, how your dog's life stage, age, and body weight affect the vitamins and minerals your dog needs throughout his/her life.

Go to the full guide here to ensure your dog is getting all of the vitamins and minerals he/she needs through every life stage or continue to the final guide in this series below to learn how to make sure your dog is getting good fats in his/her diet.


Needed Nutrients Guide 5: Why dogs need fats and fatty acids

The word "fat" for dogs is often linked to negative connotations, such as if a dog is overweight, but dogs require dietary fat for many good health reasons. Healthy fats in proper balance provide energy, fuel normal development, optimize a dog's weight and weight loss, and can help with itchy skin and keep your dog's coat shiny.

This step-by-step guide helps you learn which fats are good for your dog and where to find them in dog foods by explaining:

  • How to keep an eye out for too much fat or too little fat for your individual dog
  • Which fats & fatty acids are needed by your dog & where to find them in food
  • How to balance the fats for your dog's health
  • Examples of foods & their omega-6 to omega-3 ratios

Jump over to the full guide from canine nutritionist and Dogly Nutrition Advocate Alicia Boemi here to ensure your dog is getting the right amount of fats and fatty acids in his/her diet or if you have any questions everyone at Dogly is always happy to help. You can ask any nutrition-related questions in the Community discussion in the Basic Nutrition Channel on Dogly or work with any Nutrition Advocates 1-on-1.


Check out the Basic Nutrition Channel here on Dogly

Once you've gone through all of these step-by-step guides on nutritional requirements in your dog's diet and how to make sure your dog is getting the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, fats and fatty acids, you can feel confident in selecting the best dog food for your individual dog.

To keep expanding your nutritional knowledge for your dog, continue on in the Basic Nutrition Channel to the step-by-step guides from canine nutritionists.

If you have any questions, you can also ask them in the Basic Nutrition Channel in the Community discussion. Or, if you ever need more personalized help, we would be happy to help you find the right Dogly Nutrition Advocate who would be best to help you and your dog.

Cory & Jane of Dogly

Dogly started with our own dogs and quickly became about yours. We want our dogs to live long and we want them to live well, to go where we go and do more together with us. That’s why we created Dogly. To help you live well with your dog.