The nutritional needs of the dog

The nutritional needs of the dog depend on different factors, but the essential intakes are the same for all canids.
A dog that does not suffer from an eating disorder can regulate its food intake on its own. However, it is still necessary that the food meets his nutritional needs.


One might think that small breed dogs have fewer nutritional needs than large breed dogs. This is absolutely not the case, and even the opposite, in proportion to weight is understood, since they are determined by body surface area, among other things. There are many different factors that cause a dog’s nutritional needs to vary: his age first of all – they are twice as high in puppies, and then decrease with age -, the dog’s lifestyle, his environment, etc. An animal that lives in the cold will need more energy (to maintain its body temperature), as will a working or exercising dog. Thus, during hunting periods, a pointing or running dog will multiply its nutritional needs by two or three compared to resting periods. And even within such a group of dogs, the needs will be different depending on whether your companion is making long-lasting efforts or, on the contrary, short and intense efforts, in which case he will need more fat. Another factor is the ratio of lean tissue (muscle) to fat (fat) in the dog.

What rations for my dog?

The calculation of the Maintenance Energy Requirement (MER) is based on an equation that takes into account the animal’s weight and living conditions. To put it simply, a middle-aged dog with a healthy 10 kg body weight will need 730 KCal per day, whereas for the same overweight and lethargic dog, only 370 KCal per day will be recommended.

Everything you need to feed your dog well

The dog is not a carnivore but an omnivore. It would be a mistake to give him a diet exclusively based on meat. Proteins certainly play an important role in his diet since they represent 15 to 25% of the food ration. An athletic dog will also need 15 % fat (5 to 10 % for an animal that does not make any effort). As for carbohydrates, they will not exceed 40 or 50%.

Vitamins and minerals

In addition to vitamins, minerals are absolutely necessary for the dog. These are particularly calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for bone growth and kidney function. As for his cardiovascular system, it is protected by sodium and chloride. Concretely, choose a mineral corrector with a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2 (Ca/P = 2).

What about fiber?

As for fibers, they facilitate intestinal transit and bring the feeling of satiety. They come from vegetables, which represent on average a third of the ration. It should be noted that you can help an overweight dog by increasing the fiber content.

Do I need to change the menu?
Once you have chosen the composition of your dog’s menu, it is not recommended to change it at the risk of giving him diarrhea. If you really want to vary the tastes, proceed in stages and replace only one ingredient at a time.
Dr. Elisabeth Tané, veterinarian.

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