Nutrients are chemical compounds essential for life; for this reason, during the growth period of a puppy, it is necessary to provide the animal with what it needs, based on its breed and its specific conditions.
Nutrients are essential substances for keeping living things healthy and fit. In the case of puppies, the latter must be fed more frequently than adult individuals. Furthermore, their diet must provide them with the highest number of nutrients, according to the correct proportions.
What are the nutrients?
Nutrients can be defined as “chemical compounds that are part of food”. These compounds are used by the body to grow and function properly.
The chemical compounds that form the nutrients are as follows:
- The proteins
- The fats or lipids
- Carbon hydrates or carbohydrates
In addition, vitamins and minerals are also part of this group.
Types of nutrients
The nutrients, in turn, are divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. Within each of these groups there are subgroups of nutrients, each of which has a specific function .
Macronutrients include specific and very important nutrients, such as proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. In turn, carbohydrates are divided into simple and complex, and lipids into fats and fatty acids. They must be consumed in larger proportions, compared to micronutrients.
Micronutrients or trace elements represent the group that includes vitamins and minerals , and are essential to keep organic functions active. In addition, they must be consumed in a smaller proportion than the macronutrients.
Both macronutrients and micronutrients constitute so-called essential nutrients. However, the quantities of the individual substances that must be assimilated are not the same.
Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. Their main function is to allow the body to build and repair tissues.
Some proteins are called “enzymes” and are involved in chemical reactions vital for processes of fundamental importance. Furthermore, in the set of amino acids we find the “essential amino acids”. As their name indicates, they are fundamental and cannot be synthesized by the body: consequently, it is necessary to introduce them in the diet.
Lipids are responsible for providing energy. If the body does not need them, they are stored in the form of fat. This accumulation of fat leads to weight gain. For this reason, lipids also receive the name of “fat”.
Among the lipids we find fatty acids, some of which are quite important, such as omega 3 and omega 6. Omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, while omega 6 fatty acids keep the hair strong and healthy.
Carbohydrates include sugars, compounds that are particularly important for the functioning of the body. The transformation from complex sugars to simple sugars allows to obtain energy.
This energy will be used in the execution of various processes necessary for the body. Normally, these nutrients are also called carbon hydrates.
Minerals are essential compounds for the performance of the body’s functions. The best known are magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and calcium.
Their intake must be correct, since their deficiency or excess can cause serious health problems.
Normally, the dry feeds or pates that are given to puppies contain the various nutrients that they need to take. Over-administration of vitamins can lead to toxicity and health problems . For this reason, it is not recommended to offer them any extra vitamin supplements, unless prescribed by a veterinarian .
Even if water is not considered a real nutrient, it is still essential for life.
Water is a fundamental element, due to the high number of metabolic functions in which intervenes. Therefore, never forget to leave sufficient quantities of water available to the puppies .
How can we know what the correct amount of nutrients is?
To find out what is the nutritional density that must be administered to animals, it is necessary to refer to some specific studies , which are the result of tests conducted on nutrition.
These tests measure digestible energy and energy eliminated through urine and feces. By subtracting the digestible energy from the lost one, one obtains the metabolizable energy, which is the one used.
The frequency of feeding varies according to the age, breed and size of the animal. If the puppy is between six and eight weeks old, it will need to be fed three times a day.
From six months of age, he will only be fed twice a day; this will continue until it becomes an adult, and then change when the animal becomes old .
Finally, it must be taken into account that there are different breeds of dogs and cats, each of which has specific dimensions: consequently, the diet must be adapted to each particular case. We know that puppies of different sizes have different growth rates.
Furthermore, in puppies, the phase of their feeding is fundamental for their correct subsequent development. For this reason, it is a critical period, during which it is necessary to always follow the advice provided by specialists.
Therefore, knowing which nutrients must be given to the animal and in what proportions is essential to ensure that the puppy becomes a strong and healthy adult specimen.