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The Right Nutritional Balance

Nutritional balance – it’s what keeps our family friends at their bright, beautiful and frequently barmy best – keeping up with the rest of the family!!! There are six major groups of nutrients in this balancing act: water, protein, fats/oils, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. (Did you know that a dog actually has to obtain 37 different essential nutrients through food alone?)

Usually, there’s no reason to change your dog’s nutrient balance from the early days of adulthood until he reaches 'senior' status. The age at which he becomes a senior citizen will vary depending on his body-size and breed, but on average this occurs around seven years of age. Ideally, your adult family friend (like you) needs a combination of meat, cereals and vegetables in the correct proportions to have a nutritionally balanced meal.

All good quality complete manufactured dog foods, such as Winalot, are specially formulated to provide the right balance of all the nutrients a dog needs to stay healthy and happy. Whilst its difficult to resist at times, adding human food and scraps to a nutritionally balanced complete food doesn't really do your best friend any favours - and actually upsets this finely-tuned nutritional balance. So remind all the family to resist those pleading eyes from under the dinner table.. he’ll thank you in the long run!!

Water

Like us, the amount of water your special friend needs depends on things like the weather, exercise levels and whether he’s eating wet or dried food. Water is just as important to dogs as it is to us as it regulates the body's internal temperature, transports nutrients and other materials around the body and is involved in almost all the bodily processes. So remind everyone to make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh drinking water at all times.

Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of the body. The proteins you feed to your dog as part of a complete and nutritionally balanced dog food contain all of the essential amino acids he needs. In fact it is the proteins that are responsible for forming healthy muscle, skin and hair, as well as being an key part of your dogs immune system.

Fats

Fats are what provides the 'fuel' your dog needs to be able to keep up with family life. Good fats, and essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, are vital for healthy skin and coat condition and they also provide insulation and protection for the internal organs. Fats also improve the taste of food – so a little bit goes a long way in making sure you dog enjoys his meals!!

Carbohydrates

Believe it or not dogs are classified as omnivores - and although they don’t have a necessary requirement for carbohydrates in their diet, carbohydrates are an important source of energy for dogs and go a long way to help support overall gut health.

Vitamins

Dogs need these too, although in small amounts through the diet, to help maintain growth, normal vision, a healthy skin and coat, wound healing and normal functioning of the nervous system. In fact vitamins are also involved in practically every chemical reaction leveling a dogs body for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

Minerals

As well as vitamins. minerals, such as calcium and phosphorous, are essential for strong, healthy teeth and bones and are important to have in sufficient and balanced proportions through a dogs diet. These minerals are particularly important the health and happiness of growing puppies. Other minerals that are important in a dogs diet are sodium, chloride, magnesium and potassium, as well as zinc, copper and iron.

Moist or 'wet' foods

Like us, our family friends actually prefer their meals fresh! So try to keep open cans, foil trays or pouches covered and refrigerated, for up to, but no longer than, 24 hours. At feeding time make sure the you serve the food is at room temperature because the more he can smell it, the better he can taste it!

Complete dry foods

Whilst they might not seem like it to you, dry kibble foods are actually very popular with dogs as they contain the right balance of nutrients and a crunchy texture to help keep teeth healthy,.They’re more concentrated with nutrients than moist foods, so only small servings are needed. Careful though. it pays to check the pack to make sure you’re buying a ‘complete’ dry food rather than a pack of treats. If you decide, for one reason or another, to change your dogs food either from wet to dry or even changing between different brands, make sure you introduce the new food gradually over a seven to ten day period .. it helps avoid any form of tummy upsets.

What not to feed

I know it feels like you are doing a really nice thing for your dog, if you regularly prepare your dog's meals from table scraps or specially purchased meat, be careful. These meals are often too high in protein and are not rich enough in other important nutrients and minerals, like calcium. This could lead to your dog not getting everything he needs and becoming malnourished. Don’t forget, some common human foods such as chocolate, rhubarb, onions, spinach, beetroot, and grapes are poisonous to dogs!

Food supplements

Supplements are not usually necessary when a healthy dog is being fed a nutritionally complete and balanced manufactured pet food such as Winalot. However, situations such as pregnancy, over or under exercise, or existing medical conditions may mean your dog needs special nutrition. If in doubt, just pop along to your vet!