Foods require being transformed to simpler things for the body to assimilate the nutrients contained by them. Hence, a series of chemical reactions take place inside the body of a dog with the purpose of converting carbohydrates, fat and proteins (the macronutrients) into substances that are indispensible for their existence. These reactions are dependent on vitamins and minerals, which are known as 'micronutrients'. The synergy or interaction between the various nutrients is considered to be as effective as the most fragile linkage in the series. Additional micronutrients are helpful when your dog is strained owing to ailments, medications or the aging process.
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Vitamins are essential micronutrients that are necessary to work in the form of a catalyst for metabolism in dogs. For our ease, vitamins have been categorized into two different groups - water-soluble and fat-soluble. Vitamins that are fat soluble or dissolve in fat enter the dog's body along with the ingested foods and are accumulated in the liver. In case, excessive fat has been stored in the liver it may result in development of toxicity and ailments in the dog.
The fat-soluble vitamins comprise vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. Vitamin A performs several important functions, inclusive of sustaining the health of the dog's eyes. While dogs are able to make vitamin A from substances known as carotenoids that are present in plant cells, they obtain much of their vitamin A requirements by consuming other animals' liver. Other excellent sources of vitamin A include milk, fish oil and egg yolk. It has been found that a number of Cocker Spaniels have difficulty in making sufficient amounts of vitamin A and, hence, they generally have problems related to oily skin.
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Dogs are also able to amalgamate vitamin D inside their skin. Any deficit of this vitamin causes rickets, but this condition occurs seldom these days. Unfortunately, dogs having a surplus of vitamin D are very common and it results in accumulation of calcium inside the soft tissues and often causes deformities of their skeleton. On the other hand, vitamin E, in conjunction with the vital trace mineral selenium, works in the form of an antioxidant, counteracting the detrimental free radicals that harm the cell membranes. In addition, vitamin E functions in the form of an anti-inflammatory agent in a number of dogs having skin problems. Vitamin E may also be useful for healing conditions related to their heart, blood/ lymphatic vessels or nerves. Hassled as well as assiduous dogs usually require an elevated amount of vitamin E.
Dogs require vitamin K for blood coagulation. Bacteria present in dogs' intestines produce some amount of vitamin K required by the kennels and it is rare that a dog suffers from vitamin K deficiency.
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Feeding a dog with excessive water-soluble vitamins involves some amount of health hazards for them. Dogs that have been taking antibiotics as a part of their treatment may possibly require taking vitamin K supplements. In case, the foods ingested by a dog have a dearth of vitamin B complex, the animal should be given tablets containing yeasts as a safe supplementation. A number of Giant Schnauzers go through a condition that gets in the way of their body's absorption of vitamin B12. In such cases, vitamin B12 should be administered in the form of injections to these dogs. The bacteria present in the intestine of the dogs synthesize several B vitamins. As antibiotics also meddles with the bacteria that make these B vitamins, giving yeast tablets to your dog may prove to be beneficial for them, provided they are already taking antibiotics.
Folic acid also has an important function in synthesizing prostaglandins - chemicals that have various roles inside the body, counting protecting the lining of the stomach. Any deficit of folic acid may result in augmented levels of amino acid homocysteine (an amino acid that occurs naturally and is present in blood plasma) in the dogs.
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Although human beings are unable to make their own vitamin C, dogs possess this aptitude. The liver of the dog uses glucose to make ascorbic acid, and possibly dogs also possess the ability to augment production of vitamin C when they are strained due to any ailment. Humans as well as guinea pigs are possibly two extraordinary creatures in the animal kingdom, as they are unable to make vitamin C for their individual use. We need to obtain our vitamin C requirements from the foods we consume. Therefore, you ought to always be cautious while giving your dog a vitamin C supplementation. When a dog is given too much vitamin C, it excretes the surplus vitamin in its urine in the form of a compound called oxalate. At times, this compound may result in the formation of bladder stones, especially when it is not eliminated from the body causing its build-up and solidification within the bladder.
Similar to vitamins, minerals also perform an important task at cellular level. Minerals like phosphorus and calcium are essential for the development as well as maintenance of the skeleton as well as the functioning of the cell membrane and nerve muscles. Taking diets that only comprise meat are actually low in calcium content and cause the parathyroid gland to be invigorated excessively as well as the ensuing distended and throbbing joints. Even lactation may lead to low level of calcium in the bloodstream resulting in eclampsia (a type of toxemia due to pregnancy). On the other hand, taking diets that contain calcium in high amounts during pregnancy may possibly increase the chances of developing eclampsia at the time of lactation. Similarly, having too much dietary calcium may possibly result in deficiency of zinc, provided such a diet is given to your dog continuously for an extended period.
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The vital trace mineral selenium is a vital portion of the enzyme systems that ensure that the body tissue remains healthy. In addition, selenium may possibly also have a vital function in sustaining the health of the immune system and aid in counteracting carcinogens.
Copper is amassed in the liver and, together with iron, is responsible for transporting oxygen to the different parts of the body contained in the red blood cells (erythrocytes). A number of dog breeds, for instance, the Cocker Spaniel and Doberman, may possibly possess a hereditary disease related to copper storage, which results in poisoning due to copper.
Zinc also performs many vital functions and this mineral is essential for ensuring the health of the skin, for having an effectual immune system, as well as adept taste buds. Any deficiency of zinc in the dog's diet is occasionally known as 'generic dry dog food disease' owing to the poor levels of zinc in inadequately prepared dry dog foods. A number of Alaskan Malamutes as well as Siberian Huskies suffer from an inborn disorder related to zinc metabolism, wherein the absorption of zinc by the body is very low.
Iodine is essential to ensure the effective functioning of the thyroid gland. While hypothyroidism, a condition when functioning of the thyroid glands is poor, is perhaps a hormonal imbalance that most dogs suffer from. However, this condition is seldom related to iodine deficit in the dog's diet.
During the last 10 years, scientists have made significant discoveries that clarify the crucial role played by essential fatty acids (also known as EFAs) in regulating conditions like arthritis, allergies, auto-immune diseases, dermatitis, heart ailments, functioning of the nervous system as well as cancer. Majority of the essential fatty acids that are called omega 6 are related to inflammation in the cells of the body, and they may possibly also restrain the immune system. One more EFA group, known as omega 3, is related to diminished inflammation of the cells. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids do not restrain the immune system. In humans as well as dogs, omega-3 fatty acids work to augment the immune system's efficacy.
An excellent supply of linoleic acid obtained from vegetable or animal sources is essential for dogs. Linoleic acid is a type of omega-6 essential fatty acid that is required for the growth of the body, to heal wounds as well as proper functioning of the liver. Dogs possess the aptitude to transform linoleic acid into a different form of omega 6 fatty acid known as arachidonic acid that is needed for formation of blood clots, proficient reproduction and coat condition. Giving your dog foods that contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acid leads to modifications in the cell wall composition. Consequently, the chances of cell inflammation diminish.
Grains can be used to prepare some of the best homemade foods for dogs. Some of the grains form excellent foods for dogs. However, you should always cook these grains before feeding your dog, as the uncooked grains move very sluggishly in the digestive track of the dogs and, as a result, they find it very difficult to flush these grains to their stomach. Some of the grains that make excellent foods for dogs include cornmeal, cereals, millet, oatmeal and bulgur. All these grains are of great nutritional worth and are excellent resources of vitamins, proteins and minerals. Although they are dependable sources of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fiber and essential minerals and can make wonderful snack for your dog.
Raw vegetables also form wonderful foods for dogs, as they are very nutritious and good for your dog's health.
Chopped parsley, finely shredded zucchini, alfalfa sprouts, unpeeled soft squashes, finely shredded beets, grated unpeeled carrots, bell peppers, lettuce as well as mixed greens and fresh corns are some wonderful vegetables that may be given to your dog. You may give your dog cooked carrots too. All these provide your dog with something wonderful to masticate as well as supply them with the requisite nutriments.
You dog will be healthy provided you personally prepare their foods and not depend on commercial and processed dog foods.
It not only makes a great deal of difference to serve your dog homemade foods, but they are definitely of superior quality and better compared to the commercially available dog foods. While you are preparing foods for your dog, you should consider cooked grains and raw vegetables, as they are excellent resources of various vitamins and essential minerals. You can prepare some extra food and store it in the freezer for your dog to consume over the next few days. Storing cooked dog food in the refrigerator for a couple of days will not affect the quality of the food.
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