Dog Food Nutrition
Essential Nutrients for Dogs & AAFCO Standards
The following dog food nutrition guide is a list of all the nutrients, amount of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals your Miniature Schnauzer needs for optimal health. Using the AAFCO standards to compare dog food labels will help you in choosing the best dog food for your Miniature Schnauzer.
A Dog's Daily Nutritional Requirements Include:
- Water Clean fresh water should be available at all times for your Miniature Schnauzer. Water consumption is of the utmost importance as dehydration is a serious illness. A healthy Miniature Schnauzer can effectively self-regulate his own intake. Considering how important water is to the body, provide your Schnauzer with the best quality of water possible.
- Energy Your Miniature Schnauzer needs to consume a certain amount of calories per day to maintain optimal health. Energy is provided by proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The appropriate amount of calories your Miniature Schnauzer should consume daily depends on activity level, whether your dog is lactating, even weather conditions. Here is an example of how a dog's activity level, age, and environment can effect the amount of calories needed per day. Example Dog: 15 pound Miniature Schnauzer.
|Daily Caloric Intake - Dog Food Nutrition|
|Activity Level||Ideal Weight||Daily Calories |
|Active Schnauzer||weighing 15 pounds||557 Kcal/day |
|Typical Activity||weighing 15 pounds||464 Kcal/day|
|Pregnant Schnauzer||weighing 15 pounds||620 Kcal/day|
|Extreme Cold Climate||weighing 15 pounds||700 Kcal/day|
|Puppy 6 months||weighing 5 pounds||400 Kcal/day|
|Inactive Senior||weighing 15 pounds||380 Kcal/day|
- Protein Proteins are necessary for growth and development. They are the building blocks of nutrition. Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. Of the 22 amino acids needed, 10 are essential amino acids that must be consumed as part of your Schnauzer's dog food nutrtion. They are: Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, and Valine. The amount of protein your Miniature Schnauzer needs depends on his age, size, and activity level. However, not all proteins are created equal so be sure your Schnauzer consumes high quality digestible proteins.
Dog Food Nutrition Example | All Proteins are not Created Equal
If your Schnauzer consumes 36% protein from rabbit meat that isn’t the same thing as consuming 36% protein made up of whole grain corn, soybean meal and chicken meal. The body doesn’t digest the two in the same way, as poor quality proteins are harder for your Schnauzer to digest. In other words, it's the quality of ingredients and your Schnauzer’s ability to digest them that will make the most difference in your Schnauzer's well-being and overall health.
- Fats Fats are an important par of dog food nutrition. As a concentrated source of energy, fats facilitate the absorption, storage, and transport of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. The type and amount of fats your Miniature Schnauzer consumes are extremely important. The most prevalent problems related to fats for Schnauzers dog food nutrtion are over consumption, obesity, and pancreatitis. Fats are also a source of essential fatty acids (EFA), which must be obtained through your dog's diet.
- Vitamins Most commercial dog foods are fortified with vitamins to levels that exceed minimal requirements. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins and are stored in the body whereas water soluble vitamins, like Vitamin C and some B-complex vitamins, are excreted if excess amounts are consumed. The fat soluble vitamins, if ingested in mega doses, can produce side effects or toxicity. (There is no AAFCO dietary requirement for Vitamins C or K for dogs).
- Minerals A balanced amount of minerals are also an important part of dog food nutrition. Minerals perform many different functions in the body such as bone and cartilage formation, enzymatic reactions, maintaining fluid balance, transportation of oxygen in the blood, normal muscle and nerve function, and the production of hormones. Minerals work along with other minerals, vitamins, and enzymes in the body to produce their effects, so the proper balance is vital.
Interpreting Dog Food Nutrition on the Label
Dog Food Nutrition - Understanding the Label - A Deeper Look at it All Dog foods labeled as 'complete and balanced' must meet the standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) either by meeting a nutrient profile or by passing a feeding trial.
There are two separate nutrient profiles for dogs: one for growth (puppies) and one for adult maintenance. Maximum and minimum levels of nutrient intake have been established to avoid over nutrition (to avoid toxicity) and under nutrition (to avoid nutrient deficiencies) with pet foods today. The AAFCO standards include recommendations on protein, fat, fat soluble vitamins, water soluble vitamins, and mineral content of foods.
The levels of nutrients in the table below are expressed on a 'dry matter' (DM) basis for dog food nutrition. On most pet food labels, the levels listed in the guaranteed analysis are expressed on an 'as fed' basis. To convert dog food nutrition 'as fed' to dog food nutrition 'dry matter' use this conversion:
100 minus the percent of moisture = dry matter.
Example: A can of dog food that is 80% moisture is 20% of dry matter. 100 - 80 = 20
Next, take the nutrient amount on label and divide it by the dry matter.
Example: The above can of dog food's label reads 5% protein. So we take 5 divided by 20 = 25. Which means the amount of protein on a dry matter basis is 25%.
Use this same conversion for each nutrient you want to evaluate on your Schnauzer's dog food.
AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profilesa
| Nutrient || Units|
| Maximum |
|PROTEIN||% ||22.0 ||18.0 |
|Arginine ||% ||0.62 ||0.51|
|Histidine ||% ||0.22||0.18|
|Methionine-cystine||% ||0.53 ||0.43|
|Threonine ||% ||0.58||0.48|
|Valine ||% ||0.48||0.39|
|Linoleic acid ||%||1.0 ||1.0|
| MINERALS |
|Calcium||% ||1.0 ||0.6||2.5|
|Phosphorus||% ||0.8 ||0.5 ||1.6|
|Ca:P ratio ||1:1||1:1||2:1|
|Potassium||% ||0.6 ||0.6|
|Sodium ||%||0.3||0.06 |
|Magnesium ||% ||0.04||0.04 ||0.3|
|Zinc||mg/kg ||120.0 ||120.0||1000.0|
| VITAMINS |
|Niacin ||mg/kg ||11.4||11.4|
|aPresumes an energy density of 3.5 kcal ME/g DM, based on the "modified Atwater" values of 3.5, 8.5, and 3.5 kcal/g for protein, fat, and carbohydrate (nitrogen-free extract, NFE), respectively. Rations greater than 4.0 kcal/g should be corrected for energy density; rations less than 3.5 kcal/g should not be corrected for energy. |
b Although a true requirement for fat per se has not been established, the minimum level was based on recognition of fat as a source of essential fatty acids, as a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins, to enhance palatability, and to supply an adequate caloric density.
c Because of very poor bioavailability, iron from carbonate or oxide sources that are added to the diet should not be considered as components in meeting the minimum nutrient level.
d Because of very poor bioavailability, copper from oxide sources that are added to the diet should not be considered as components in meeting the minimum nutrient level.
e Because processing may destroy up to 90 percent of the thiamine in the diet, allowance in formulation should be made to ensure the minimum nutrient level is met after processing.
Click to watch video
As previously mentioned, the Nutrient Profile is only a list about quantities, you must further evaluate dog food nutrition by understanding the guaranteed dog food analysis on the label and looking for good quality digestible ingredients. In order for your Miniature Schnauzer to truly benefit from his dog food his digestive system must be able to process it.
So keep this in mind when selecting the best pet food for your Miniature Schnauzer: Read the entire label and choose a food based on its quality (ie the ingredients) and not just the percentages because when it comes to dog food nutrition, it is the quality of fats and proteins that will have the most profound effect on your Miniature Schnauzer. Choosing the best dog food for Schnauzers Nutrition.
Powdered Eggshells Rich Source of Calcium
Calcium is an important mineral for dogs. It is needed to maintain strong healthy bones and teeth. Here is an easy way to make a calcium supplement for a homemade diet.
note: Use certified organic eggs, when possible.
Instead of tossing eggshells in the trash, use them to prepare a calcium supplement for your dog.
- Wash empty eggshells in warm water and lay them out on a paper towel to dry. Do not remove the membrane because it contains important nutrients for the joints which helps arthritis.
- Once dried, put broken pieces onto a cookie sheet or pie pan and bake in the over for 15 minutes at 300 degrees. This will help sterilize them and make them extra brittle fro the next step, grinding.
- Grind the shells into a fine powder. Using a food processor or coffee grinder makes this step easy. But you can put the pieces in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to grind them. Just be sure there are no gritty pieces.
- Put powdered eggshells in a small glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
- Sprinkle 1/4 tsp to your dog's homemade meals.
*** As always, seek advice from your Veterinarian before adding any supplements or change your dog's diet.
Miniature Schnauzer Dog Food Series:
245 Healthy Homemade Dog Recipes FURTHER DOG FOOD INFO:
From Dog Food Nutrition to All About the Miniature Schnauzer, Schnauzers Rule
Go from Dog Food Nutrition to Dog Food