5 Signs of Wellbeing for Dogs
By Dr. Sarah Wilson, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)
The Importance of Good Nutrition for Dogs
What we put into our body is the fuel that feeds us for the entire day. It is the foundation to a healthy life, and this is true for dogs too. When you consider all the activities dogs fit into their busy days, whether chasing balls, following us around the house, running through fields to play, or simply cuddling on the couch after a busy day, it is important to consider proper nutrition for dogs to support their health. High quality food that provides essential nutrients in appropriate amounts can provide the 5 Signs of Wellbeing: optimal energy, a healthy coat, a healthy digestive system, healthy teeth and bones, and immune health.
When they are on a high-quality food, you will notice the difference. Your dog will have that extra pep in their step on their daily walk (probably wanting to make them longer!), and a shiny coat will turn the heads of everyone you walk by. They will be excited to eat their food, and you’ll be happy even when you clean up the aftermath. These are the 5 Signs of Wellbeing we want a diet to support.
5 Signs of Wellbeing
Healthy skin & coat – As the largest organ, the skin provides protection from the world while constantly renewing itself, the coat too provides protection and warmth. A healthy skin and coat with a proper shine requires proper nutrition for our dogs. Hair is 95% protein, and the skin and coat combined require 25-30% of the dogs total protein intake. Protein is also needed to maintain a healthy skin barrier, as skin cells are constantly being lost and replenished. This is why high quality protein sources, like what is found in Wellness CORE natural dog food, are important in a pet’s nutrition, as they provide essential amino acids that act as building blocks for skin and fur. Skin is an important protective barrier from all of the things our dogs can get into, and essential fatty acids such as the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA, are other nutrients needed in the right amounts to help keep that protective barrier intact. Lastly vitamins and minerals such as some of the B vitamins, vitamins A, D, and E as well as minerals like zinc and copper can impact skin health and pigment production. Ensuring proper intake of these nutrients by feeding a complete and balanced diet, such as Wellness Complete Health, with bioavailble nutrients and a healthy source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can help ensure a healthy skin and coat and can be a marker of good health.
Optimal energy – Proper nutrition can be considered the best fuel for the body. While we all know that donuts will give us energy, as much as we enjoy the delicious taste, we know we shouldn’t fuel ourselves with donuts all the time, but rather healthy foods that are nutrient dense and provide appropriate energy. The same is true for dogs. Complete nutrition for your dog will be one that has the proper nutrient level to energy ratio, based on scientific evidence, to meet all of their nutrient requirements without excess calories. This can be achieved through the use of highly digestible, high quality proteins, healthy sources of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, and wholesome carbohydrates. This way, your dog can be properly fueled for a busy day chasing their tail or ball at the park.
Healthy digestion – Any dog owner can tell you the importance of healthy digestion, just take your pooch for a walk and you are presented with the digestive process daily. Ensuring the right amounts of fiber in the diet to ensure a healthy digestive system, but not resulting in having to take your dog out for too many bathroom breaks is a sign of proper nutrition for your dog. Providing a healthy diet with some fiber, such as chicory root - a natural source of inulin, can not only feed your dog, but also your dog’s microbiota, the bugs that live in your dog’s gut and help maintain gut health. Fiber acts as a prebiotic (a food for the microbiota) and getting proper amounts through good nutrition can be another sign of good health. The use of probiotics also provides additive benefits, by supplying some desirable ‘good’ bacteria along with some fiber to feed them can provide the right steps towards healthy digestion. Wellness CORE Digestive Health is a highly digestible, probiotic-coated kibble crafted with digestive enzymes and a unique blend of prebiotic fibers.
Healthy teeth & bones – Dogs use their bodies and mouths to express themselves and to experience the world, and a healthy set of teeth and strong bones are essential for that purpose. The optimal amount and ratio of minerals like calcium and phosphorus is necessary to prevent skeletal problems both when growing, and as seniors when joint disease is more common. Large breed puppies, in particular, need the proper amounts of calcium and phosphorus or skeletal problems can arise and lead to significant problems. Additionally, appropriate dental health ensures that food is enjoyable to eat, since a mouth that has unhealthy teeth may make eating painful. Proper nutrition can ensure that strong bones and healthy teeth are yet another sign of good health. Added inclusions to help support joints, such as glucosamine and chondroitin can further support strong bones through healthy joint support, allowing dogs to move around more comfortably, helping strengthen bones with every activity.
Immune health – Overall health is supported by proper dog nutrition, as the proper amounts of protein and essential amino acids derived from highly digestible, excellent quality protein, will provide building blocks for immune cells and antibody production. Cell signaling and some anti-inflammatory effects are facilitated by essential fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals, which come from various ingredients including antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. Fiber even provides fuel to the gut bacteria which can also help support immune health, and can be found as chicory root, or other fruit and vegetable sources. Proper nutrition with all the essential nutrients in appropriate amounts can provide benefits to your dog not only seen on the outside like a shiny coat, healthy teeth, and bouncy step, but can also be counted on the inside to provide your dog the foundation it needs to stay healthy when confronted by pesky bugs at the dog park. Functional toppers like Wellness CORE® Bowl Boosters® Immune Health provide an easy way to add great flavor with zinc and vitamin E to help support your pup’s immunity.
How To Select The Proper Nutrition For Your Dog
Picking a diet for your dog should mean finding a food that is tasty to your dog and supports these 5 Signs of Wellbeing. Remember to ensure that the food is complete and balanced for your dog’s life stage (i.e. puppy or adult) and if you have a large breed dog (a dog that will be >70 lbs. as an adult), be sure that the diet is appropriate for your large breed dog. A good diet should have sources of high quality proteins, healthy fats, and some dietary fiber to help support the gut and the microbiota. Consulting with your veterinarian regarding your dog’s diet is important to ensure everyone is on board to optimize your dog’s health.
CORE® Bowl Boosters® Functional Toppers
CORE Digestive Health
Chicken & Brown Rice
Complete Health™ Grain Free Senior
Senior Recipe: Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal
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