Domestic dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy and active. Meat is the main component of their diet, but they can also benefit from grains, fruits, and vegetables. A good food for dogs should contain all of these components in the right proportions. It is possible to feed your dog a diet of pure kibble, but you can also mix it with cooked or raw meat, fish, vegetables, and rice.
The most important factor to consider when choosing a food for your dog is the amount of digestible protein it provides. If the food contains too much indigestible protein, it will pass through your dog's system without providing any nutrients. Canned food can be an option, but it should be labeled as 100% complete from a nutritional point of view. The six basic nutrients that all dogs need are water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
The minimum dietary requirement for many of these nutrients has been established and the maximum tolerable amounts of some are known. Small breed dogs have higher calorie needs than large breeds due to their higher metabolic rates. The best dog food for small breeds should provide a precise balance of grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats to give your dog the nutrients it needs. Proteins are essential for the formation and maintenance of cartilage, tendons and ligaments, as well as for building muscles, skin, hair, nails and blood.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not completely carnivorous and they require non-meat foods as part of their regular diet. Semi-moist foods such as pork chops or hamburgers are also an option. If your dog has food sensitivities, you may want to opt for a diet with limited ingredients. Carbohydrates are necessary in a dog's daily diet since they provide energy in the form of glucose and dietary fiber.
The amount of food your dog needs will depend on its size, breed and age as well as on how often you exercise it. Always make sure that children don't get too close to them when they are eating and keep in mind that they may growl or scream if you try to bring your food too close. The FDA has investigated more than 500 cases of dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs that consume foods marketed as grain-free. Fresh foods offer greater dietary control to the owner but can be difficult (and expensive) to consistently provide a balanced diet with.