Maybe Your Dog Has
Why would your dog have nutrient deficiencies? Since your dog lives with you, he is dependent on you to provide food. Even with the best of
intentions dog nutrition is often lacking.
What does your dog look like? Too fat, too thin or just right?
Wild dogs would instinctively know what to eat and how to prevent a
nutrient deficiency problem. Only if they couldn't get enough to eat, or
if they were scrounging around in human garbage would malnutrition be
an issue. Think street dogs from some impoverished country.
What is the Definition of Malnutrition?
Malnutrition is the insufficient, excessive or imbalanced
nutrients. A number of different nutrition disorders may
arise, depending on
which nutrients are under or over abundant in the
( Wikipedia )
- A nutrient deficiency is the absence or insufficiency of some nutritional factor required for normal growth and development.
- A nutrient deficiency disease is defined as an illness associated with an absence or insufficient supply of one or more essential dietary nutritional constituents.
Look for These Symptoms of Malnutrition
- Body condition - look at the diagram above. Where does your dog fit in? Too fat, too thin or just right?
- Skin and coat - do you see a dull, dry coat, hair loss, skin problems, flaking skin, itching, redness, sores?
- Teeth - do you notice bad breath, red swollen gums, plaque build up on teeth, slimy mouth or missing teeth
- Poop problems - pooping too frequently, constipation, anal gland problems, diarrhea, extra large poops, foul smelling poops
- Growth problems - structure and bone problems, torn ligaments, lack of muscle tone
- Poor immunity - allergies and food intolerances
- Lack of energy - is your dog getting enough calories and nutrients for his activity level and stage of life?
- Behavioural problems - such as eating inappropriate objects, eating feces, anxiety, mood swings and unexplained aggression, being unable to learn, and hyperactivity. Something to think about, eh?
A Few Examples of
Nutrient Imbalance Problems
- A deficiency of iron can cause anemia
- Too much Vitamin C can cause a calcium imbalance, kidney stones, increased uric acid
- Too much Vit B3 ( niacin ) can cause liver damage
- Too much calcium can cause a phosphorus imbalance
- Too much polyunsaturated fat ( fish oil ) can cause a Vitamin E imbalance
- Too much Vitamin D can cause a calcium/phosphorus imbalance
Anyway, I don't want to get carried away with these examples. I just want to let you know what can happen if dogs are not fed a variety of fresh food in a way that is natural for their species.
Why Would Your Dog Have Nutrient Deficiencies?
Nutrient deficiencies in dogs rarely happen with dogs fed a commercial store bought dog food. No matter how poor the ingredient quality may be, there are still government regulated requirements ( AAFCO ) for macro and micro vitamins and minerals and some other essential nutrients that are met using a prepared vitamin premix that is added to the food after processing.
Here are some other reasons why a dog may be nutrient deficient.
- Maybe your dog doesn't get enough to eat and so doesn't get enough nutrients to sustain health
- Maybe your dog gets too much to eat. Fat dogs can be nutrient deficient too.
- Maybe your dog has parasites which are living off the nutrients your dog should be getting.
- Maybe your dog has a dog health problem and can't assimilate food into the proper nutrient components to sustain health
- Maybe you prepare home made dog food yourself. Heat from cooking destroys nutrients. This can easily cause a vitamin deficiency. Maybe you prepare home made raw dog food at home and don't completely understand the natural balance between meat bones and organs. Feeding too much muscle meat can cause mineral imbalances.
What About Vitamin Mineral Supplementation?
Deciding whether or not to supplement your dog's food is not easy. Over supplementation can destroy nutritional balance and even harm your dog. However, I believe that some supplementation is necessary, especially if you are cooking for your dog. Only Mother Nature provides perfect dog nutrition.
Even if extra nutrients are added to food, who says that your dog is able to digest and metabolize those nutrients for proper assimilation? The ability of your dog's body to metabolize nutrients can be affected by...
- the quality and type of nutritional supplements used
- age and breed of your dog
- state of general health
- medications and drugs
If you have a sick dog, or if your dog has a chronic dog health problem, you might wonder if he has a vitamin deficiency? You might be correct, but how do you find out which vitamin or mineral is lacking? Don't bother trying to figure it out!
Almost certainly, your dog can benefit from whole food supplements that can address the nutrient deficiency problem overall and help restore nutritional balance while speeding the healing process. Over supplementing is as dangerous as not doing anything though, so ask for help if you're not sure.
Vitamin Mineral Deficiencies
Can Be Prevented
Nutritional deficiencies are unnecessary and can be prevented when the diet is complete and varied. Feeding a variety of different foods goes a long way towards preventing nutrient deficiency problems.
Over supplementing is as dangerous as not doing enough. As always, providing excellent dog nutrition through food is not rocket science. When in doubt ask yourself this question.
" Would Mother Nature give my dog this food? "
*** Helpful hint *** pizza crust, ice cream, bread, peanut butter, hot dogs, granola bars and chocolate chip cookies are not on Mother Nature's menu! (wink, wink ! )
Learn more about feeding dogs
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