37491 Dog P01 1607/24/064:47 PMPage 1YOUR DOG’SNUTRITIONAL NEEDSA Science-Based Guide For Pet Owners

37491 Dog P01 1607/24/064:47 PMPage 2THE DIGESTIVE TRACTPoint of DepartureThe mechanical breakdown of foodbegins in the mouth, where food isingested, chewed, and swallowed.Storage and ProcessingThe stomach acts as a temporary storage and processingfacility before emptying its contents into the small intestine.Early stages of digestion take place in the stomach wherepepsin and lipase aid in digesting protein and fat.stomachspleenesophaguscolonAutomatic TransportThe esophagus is a short,muscular tube in whichinvoluntary, wavelike contractions and relaxationspropel food from the mouthto the stomach.smallintestineliverTreatment FacilitiesIn the small intestine, enzymes break down large, complex food moleculesinto simpler units that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The pancreas is an organ that does double duty, secreting digestive enzymes intothe gut and hormones, including insulin and glucogon, into the blood.Important for fat metabolism, the liver produces bile and partially stores itin the gall bladder between meals.End of the LineThe primary function of the largeintestine is to absorb electrolytesand water. Also, this is wheremicrobes ferment nutrients thathave so far escaped digestionand absorption.COMMITTEE ON NUTRIENT REQUIREMENTS OF DOGS AND CATSDONALD C. BEITZ, Chair, Iowa State UniversityJOHN E. BAUER, Texas A&M UniversityKEITH C. BEHNKE, Kansas State UniversityDAVID A. DZANIS, Dzanis Consulting & CollaborationsGEORGE C. FAHEY, University Of IllinoisRICHARD C. HILL, University Of FloridaFRANCIS A. KALLFELZ, Cornell UniversityELLEN KIENZLE, Zentrum Für Lebensmittel Und Tierernährung, Oberschleissheim, GermanyJAMES G. MORRIS, University Of California, DavisQUINTON R. ROGERS, University Of California, DavisSupport for this pamphlet was provided by the President’s Circle Communications Initiative of theNational Academies. The pamphlet was written by Dale Feuer based on a report by the Committee onNutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. Illustration and design by Van Nguyen.Copies of Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats are available from the National Academies Press,500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001; 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington area); 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

37491 Dog P01 1607/24/064:47 PMPage 1CONTENTSIntroduction1Proteins and Amino Acids2Fats and Fatty Acids2Energy Needs3Vitamins6Minerals8Feeding Practices11Food Choices12INTRODUCTIONHow much should I feed my dog? Does the food I’m providing meet my dog’snutritional needs? As our knowledge of the relationship between diet andhealth continues to advance and as the range of foods available for dogs continues to expand, it’s more important than ever to base feeding choices ongood information.The information in this pamphlet is based on Nutrient Requirements of Dogsand Cats, a technical report issued by the National Research Council as partof its Animal Nutrition Series. The Food and Drug Administration relies oninformation in the report to regulate and ensure the safety of pet foods. Otherreports in the series address the nutritional needs of horses, dairy cattle, beefcattle, nonhuman primates, swine, and small ruminants. Scientists who studythe nutritional needs of animals use the Animal Nutrition Series to guidefuture research. The series is also used by animal owners, caretakers, andveterinarians to develop specialized diets for individual animals. Links toreports in the series can be found at

37491 Dog P01 1607/24/064:47 PMDPage 2ogs need several different kinds of nutrients to survive: amino acidsfrom proteins, fatty acids and carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals,and water. The tables in this pamphlet provide recommended dailyallowances for dietary nutrients based on the minimum amountrequired to maintain good health in normal dogs. Your dog’s uniquenutritional requirements will depend on its size, its breed, and its stage in life,among other factors. A better understanding of how dogs use the various nutrients in food and how much of them they need can help you choose a healthierdiet for your pet.PROTEINS AND AMINO ACIDSDogs cannot survive without protein in their diets. Dietary protein contains 10specific amino acids that dogs cannot make on their own. Known as essential amino acids, they provide the building blocks for many important biologically active compounds and proteins. In addition, they donate thecarbon chains needed to make glucose for energy. High-quality proteins have a good balance of all of the essential amino acids.Studies show that dogs can tell when their food lacks a singleamino acid and will avoid such a meal.Dogs are known to selectively choose foods that are high inprotein. Whether this is simply a matter of taste or a complex response to their biological needs for all 10 essentialamino acids is not known. However, dogs can survive ona vegetarian diet as long as it contains sufficient proteinand is supplemented with vitamin D.FATS AND FATTYACIDSDietary fats, mainly derived from animal fats and the seedoils of various plants, provide the most concentratedsource of energy in the diet. They supply essential fattyacids that cannot be synthesized in the body and serve ascarriers for important fat-soluble vitamins. Fatty acids play arole in cell structure and function. Food fats tend to enhancethe taste and texture of the dog’s food as well.Essential fatty acids are necessary to keep your dog’s skin and coathealthy. Puppies fed ultralow-fat diets develop dry, coarse hair and skinlesions that become increasingly vulnerable to infections. Deficiencies inthe so-called “omega-3” family of essential fatty acids may be associatedwith vision problems and impaired learning ability. Another family of essentialfatty acids called “omega-6” has been shown to have important physiologiceffects in the body.2

37491 Dog P01 16x107/26/065:31 PMPage 3DAILY RECOMMENDED ALLOWANCES FORPROTEIN AND FATSPUPPIESADULT DOGSPREGNANT / NURSING DOGS(Weighing 12 lb, 33 lb at maturity)(Weighing 33 lb)(Weighing 33 lb with 6 puppies)Crude Protein56 g25 g69 g /158 gTotal Fat21 g14 g29 g/67 gDetermining Grams of Essential Nutrients from Petfood LabelsPetfood labels do not generally list amounts of essential nutrients in grams. However, all petfood labels must state guarantees for the minimum percentages of crude* protein and crudefat, and the maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture. To convert these percentagesto grams, simply multiply the crude percentages times the weight of your dog's daily portion.For example, if you feed your dog a 1-lb (454-gram) can of food per day, and the food contains8% crude protein, the grams of protein would be 0.08 454 36 grams.*”Crude” refers to the specific method of testing the product, not to the quality of the nutrient itself.TIDBITScientific research has shown that an adult dog’s daily diet can contain up to50% carbohydrates by weight, including 2.5–4.5% from fiber. A minimum ofapproximately 5.5% of the diet should come from fats and 10% from protein.ENERGY NEEDSDogs need a certain amount of energy to sustain the normal activities of their dailylives. Growth, pregnancy, lactation, and exercise all increase these normal energyrequirements. Generally measured in terms of calories, energy comes from threemajor dietary components: carbohydrates, protein, and fats.Omnivorous animals get some of their energy from carbohydrates, which includesugars, starches, and dietary fibers. The major sources of carbohydrates in commercial dog foods are cereals, legumes, and other plant foodstuffs. So-calledabsorbable carbohydrates, including glucose and fructose, can be directly absorbedand do not need to be digested by enzymes. Digestible carbohydrates are readily broken down by intestinal tract enzymes. Fermentable carbohydrates includecertain starches and dietary fibers that pass undigested through the small intestine to the colon, where they are fermented by microbes into short-chain fattyacids and gases. Some studies suggest that fermentable fibers may aid in theregulation of blood glucose concentrations and enhance immune function.Nonfermentable fibers, such as cellulose and wheat bran, contribute little interms of energy or nutrition and are primarily used to decrease caloric intake ofthe overweight animal.3

37491 Dog P01 1607/24/064:47 PMPage 4AVERAGE DAILY ENERGY NEEDSCALORIES PER DAY(Kilocalories per day*)TYPE OF DOG10 lb30 lb50 lb70 lb90 lbPUPPIES (10 lb puppy growing to990INACTIVE DOGS — dogs with little stimulus or opportunity to exercise.2966749891,2721,540ADULT ACTIVE DOGS — dogs ung Adult Active Dogs4369931,4511,8762,264Older Active Dogs3277451,0931,4071,70033 lb at maturity)strong stimulus and ample opportunity to exercise, such as dogs in households with more thanone dog, in the country or with a large yard.PREGNANT DOGS — from 4 weeks aftermating until delivery.*1 Calorie 1 kilocalorie 1,000 calories. The term Calorie that is used on food nutritionlabels is really a “food calorie” sometimes called a “large calorie.” It is equivalent to 1,000calories (or 1 kilocalorie) as calories are defined scientifically (the amount of energy neededto warm 1 gram of water 1 C). In Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, energy needs areexpressed in terms of kilocalories, which are equivalent to Calories in this document.ENERGY NEEDS IN CALORIES(Calories per Day for a 33 lb and 50 lb Nursing Dog)Weeks into LactationNumber123 (peak)4of Puppies433 lb50 lb33 lb50 lb33 lb50 lb33 lb50 15,1093,6975,437

37491 Dog P01 1607/24/064:47 PMPage 5TIDBITSevere illness or trauma may increase a dog’s energy needs. Whenever yourdog becomes ill, please consult with your veterinarian or dog nutritionist foryour dog’s changed nutritional needs.ENERGY NEEDS OFGROWING PUPPIESThe growing puppy starts out needing about twice asmany calories per pound of body weight as an adultdog of the same breed. Owners should startfeeding puppies food at approximately 4 weeksafter birth, because mother’s milk is no longersufficient. Food is best offered to puppies inmultiple, well-spaced meals.ENERGY NEEDS OFOLDER DOGSBecause of decreased physical activityand slowed metabolism, older dogsneed 20% fewer total calories than domiddle-aged adult dogs. As dogs age,they tend to become overweight. Itmay take obese dogs longer for theirblood glucose concentrations to returnto normal. This disrupted carbohydratemetabolism can lead to diabetes.ENERGY NEEDS OFLACTATING DOGSNew mothers generally suckle their puppiesfor at least 6 weeks. The mother’s need forcalories increase with the number of puppies andthe week of lactation, up to 4 weeks. Giant breeds(like Great Danes) have proportionately smaller digestive tracts and may not be able to eat enough to sustainthemselves during lactation. Owners of such dogs may needto start feeding puppies supplemental food at an early age.5

37491 Dog P01 16x107/26/065:32 PMPage 6VITAMINSVitamins are organic compounds that take part in awide range of metabolic activities. Dogs requirevitamins in their food, albeit at low concentrations.First noticed in dogs some 75 years ago, vitamindeficiencies can cause a variety of health problems. Clinical signs of vitamin A deficiency, one ofthe first deficiencies studied in dogs, include motorand vision impairment, skin lesions, respiratory ailments, and increased susceptibility to infections.Dogs fed diets lacking vitamin E show signs of skeletal muscle breakdown, reproductive failure, and retinaldegeneration. Thiamin deficiency can lead to brainlesions and other neurological abnormalities if the deprivation is sudden and to heart damage and death if it ischronic. Some vitamins, such as vitamin D, are not onlyessential in small doses, but also toxic in excess amounts.DAILY RECOMMENDED ALLOWANCES FOR VITAMINSFUNCTIONS6RECOMMENDEDALLOWANCE*SIGNS OFDEFICIENCY / EXCESSVitamin AVision; growth; immunefunction; fetal development; cellular differentiation; transmembraneprotein transfer379 µgAnorexia; body weight loss; ataxia;conjunctivitis; corneal disorders; skin lesions;respiratory ailments; increased susceptibilityto infectionImbalance in bone remodeling processes;artery and vein degeneration; dehydration;central nervous system depression; joint painVitamin DMaintenance of mineralstatus; phosphorousbalance3.4 µgRickets; lethargy; loss of muscle tone; boneswelling and bendingAnorexia; weakness; diarrhea; vomiting; calcification of soft tissue; excessive mineralization of long bones; dehydration; dry and brittle hair; muscle atrophyVitamin EDefense againstoxidative damage8 mgDegeneration of skeletal muscle; reproductive failure; retinal degeneration

37491 Dog P01 1607/24/064:47 PMPage 7Vitamin KActivation of clotting factors, bone proteins, andother proteins0.41 mgNo reports of naturally occurringdeficiencies in normal dogsVitamin B1(Thiamin)Energy and carbohydratemetabolism; activation of ionchannels in neural tissue0.56 mgFailure to grow, weight loss andneurological abnormalities in puppies; damage to the nervous system and to the heart in adult dogsRiboflavinEnzyme functions1.3 mgAnorexia; weight loss; muscularweakness; flaking dermatitis;eye lesionsVitamin B6Glucose generation; redblood cell function; niacinsynthesis; nervous systemfunction; immune response;hormone regulation; geneactivation0.4 mgAnorexia and weight loss in puppies; convulsions, muscle twitching, and anemia in adult dogsImpairment of motor control andbalance; muscle weaknessNiacinEnzyme functions4 mgAnorexia; weight loss; inflammation of the lips, cheeks, and throat;profuse salivation; bloody diarrheaBloody fece