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A well balanced diet is essential for a happy and healthy dog, but with so many food options out there from kibble to raw it can be daunting to figure out what really is best for your dog.

Understanding the essential nutrients your canine companion needs is key to making informed choices about their diet and deciding which food is best for their needs.

What Nutrients Does a Dog Need?

Unsurprisingly dogs need a similar combination of nutrients to humans in order to thrive. Here are the primary nutrients essential for their health:

Proteins: These are crucial for building and repairing tissues and supporting growth. In dog food, proteins usually come from animal-based sources like meat, fish, and poultry. 

Fats: Dogs need fats for energy and to support healthy skin and a shiny coat. Essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, can be found in sources like fish oil, flaxseed, or specific animal fats. Both raw and cold-pressed dog food can offer these necessary fats, although the sourcing and preservation of these nutrients might differ.

Carbohydrates: While not a primary necessity for dogs, carbohydrates can provide energy. These can come from sources like vegetables, fruits, and grains. Raw diets often rely on vegetable sources, whereas cold-pressed dog food might contain carefully selected grains for a balanced carbohydrate intake.

Vitamins and Minerals: These are essential for overall dog health and for supporting their bodily functions. Owners should check that their chosen dog food provides a sufficient level of vitamins and minerals for their pup.

Should I Be Feeding My Dog Raw Food?

Raw dog food has gained popularity in recent years among pet owners seeking to provide a diet that more accurately resembles what dogs might consume in the wild. Many see this as a more natural diet which is best for supporting dog health.

This diet typically includes raw meat, bones, organs, and vegetables and lovers of this diet say that a raw diet offers various benefits such as healthier coats, improved digestion, and higher energy levels.

However, feeding a raw diet does require careful planning to meet a dog’s nutritional needs.

Alternatively, some owners prefer cold-pressed dog food. Cold-pressed involves a unique production process that uses lower temperatures to cook the food compared to traditional kibble. This helps to retain more nutrients than the high temperatures used to make kibble, plus it usually contains higher quality ingredients and is often free from artificial additives.

Cold-pressed dog food is usually considered a good compromise between raw and traditional kibble, as it maintains more nutrients while being convenient and easily stored. 

Making the Right Food Choice for Your Dog

When it comes to choosing between raw, cold-pressed and kibble  the decision ultimately depends on various factors. Your dog’s specific dietary needs, lifestyle, and any health considerations will impact the food you should be giving them and the balance of specific nutrients that they need.

All food options have their pros and cons, and what works best for one dog might not be suitable for another. For example, active breeds or working dogs often require a very specific balance of food to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to perform well and retain their energy.

Whether you opt for raw or cold-pressed dog food, the focus should be on providing a well-balanced diet that meets your dog’s specific nutritional needs. If you are unsure about which food is best for your pet, you should consult your local vet for support and guidance.

Photo credit: Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

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