Coach Mike’s Guide To Dog Nutrition

Canine Coach Mike provides easy-to-learn training methods that will boost both you and your dog’s confidence!

When it comes to dog nutrition, many dog owners won’t think too deeply about which dog food to choose. Most dog owners are likely to grab a large bag of kibble with a label that matches their dog’s age.

There are six important nutrients your dog needs in its diet: water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. These essential nutrients are involved in all of the basic functions of your dog’s body and mind.

The truth is it’s perfectly fine to feed your dog a purely kibble diet. As long as your choice of dog food contains a complete mix of essential nutrients that’s good enough. But you wouldn’t eat the same exact cereal everyday for breakfast and dinner, would you? Our dogs have diverse appetites and tastes, just like we do!

And if you’ve ever witnessed a watchful and drooling pooch follow its owner around the kitchen, then you know dogs are very interested in tasting a variety of foods. 

So which “human” foods are safe for your dog? Some fish that are good for dogs include salmon, shrimp, and tuna as these are good sources of protein. Dogs can also eat vegetables like carrots, green beans, along with blueberries, banana, eggs, peanut butter, rice and even cheese!

Consistency is a major key in successfully training your dog, and it also makes an important difference in their diet.  So while it’s okay to have some variety in foods, you want to keep a feeding schedule, and also maintain some basic food constants.

Spread out your dog’s feeding schedule to twice a day (three times for puppies). When it comes to dry food, I do not use the measuring guide label on the back of the bag when my dog reaches two years old. Talk to your vet about how much food they should be getting each feeding. Once concern I have is, If your dog is not getting enough exercise  burn off extra calories it will lead to an unhealthy weight. 

Fats are the number one nutrient in a dog’s diet that gives them their energy. A single gram of fat in your dog’s food gives them more than double the energy they get from carbohydrates or proteins.

Keep this in mind when you’re preparing your dog’s diet and training schedule. A healthy inclusion of fats in your dog’s diet can yield better results in training, since an energized dog, with a solid diet is more likely to be engaged in your activities.

Fats also contribute to brain health, a better coat, eyes, skin, and other tissues.

To ensure your dog gets all the nutrients it needs to thrive – especially fats and protein – you can add cooked or raw meat to their diet. Fish is also a great source of necessary fats, including omega-3 and omega-6.

Obviously, fats are a huge part of a healthy dog’s diet. But don’t overlook proteins. Your dog cannot survive with them, as body tissues are made of proteins. A dog’s body will naturally produce 13 of the 23 amino acids that make up proteins. So they need the remaining 10 to come from their food.

Dogs are known to selectively choose high protein foods, almost instinctively. It’s almost as though your dog knows which 10 essential amino acids its body needs, and therefore is drawn to foods that have them.

Grains and vegetables will provide your dog with its necessary carbohydrates – which are helpful in tissue production and for their intestine health.

It’s not very difficult to feed your canine a healthy diet. Whenever you’re buying dog food, always search the label for assurances that meet these guidelines:

“Meets the nutritional requirements of dogs established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)” or “Complete and balanced nutrition for dogs based on AAFCO feeding trials.”

Happy Feeding!

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“Dogs really love to please their humans, and using positive training methods is the fastest way to get results!”

- Canine Coach Mike

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    Michael Muscato, CPDT-KA​

    The Canine Coach

    With a love for dogs and a passion for coaching, Mike is dedicated to educating people about their dogs behavior.

    Mike was introduced to horses and dogs at a young age and soon knew these animals would become a rewarding part of his life. He was inspired to train dogs by Sherwood, his first Golden Retriever in 1990. Mike is determined to make a lasting impact with every dog and their owner, using positive training methods.

    For over 20 years Mike has been a player development director for athletes, and feels right at home sharing his knowledge to help dog owners become a better coach to their dog!

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