Understanding dog food nutrients
Nutrient numbers in dog food labels can't always be treated as high = good
and low = bad. A few general guidelines for thinking about the role of key
nutrients in maintaining the health of your pet:
The building blocks of muscles and other body tissue. High amounts may be
good for working or sporting dogs, or older dogs at risk of losing muscle mass.
Overweight dogs often do better on a higher protein diet during weight loss.
Excess protein is converted to blood sugar (carbohydrate), so more isn't always
better for your average pet. Some dogs with special conditions, like liver
failure, may do better on a lower protein diet.
Fat is an energy rich source of calories and is used in large amounts at
rest by most dogs. Essential fatty acids, present in diets, are critical to
skin and coat health as well as regulating inflammation. Some dogs have
sensitivities to higher fat diets, like those with pancreatitis.
Carbohydrates in complex form like those found in whole foods are a source
of calories which provide blood sugar. Many carbohydrate sources also bring
with them phytonutrients and other beneficial compounds. High carbohydrate
diets are often needed when dogs have to avoid protein and fat due to medical
conditions. Low carbohydrate diets may be helpful for weight loss.