What is the Best Dog Nutrition? 6 Essential Nutrients for a Healthy Dog

Just like humans, your furry pals also need a well-balanced diet that includes certain nutrients that are essential.

We take a look at six essential nutrients that are important to keep your pets in the healthiest state.

What nutrients is a must to include in a dog's diet? The answer is a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

1. Protein

Animal and plant-based sources can help provide protein to dogs. Animal-based food such as fish, eggs and lean muscle meat are a good source of protein. Plant-based protein can be obtained from lentils and beans.

Amino acids are also present in protein. It helps in the formation of good muscles and bones, thick strong fur, good skin and nails. 

It is also helpful in making the hormones, enzymes and antibodies that are needed for an optimal body function. 

When there is a lack of carbohydrates and fat in your dog’s diet, the protein will supply the needed energy. 

Dogs are unable to produce required levels of amino acids their bodies need. Thus, it is important that their diet includes food that contains amino acids. 

Excess proteins that are consumed by your dog cannot be stored in their bodies and will be excreted out. Therefore, it is essential that you constantly include protein in their diet so that there is no lack.

2. Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates can be obtained from vegetables, fruits, legumes and gluten-free grains. One important thing to remember is that vegetables and fruits are ‘dog-friendly’. 

What vegetables and fruits can dog eat?

Dog friendly vegetables are:


Tomatoes can be eaten in small quantities, but keep the stems, leaves and vine away from dogs! The chemicals found in the green parts, called solanine, can be harmful to dogs.


Yes, carrots are good.  Cut it into small pieces or sticks and it can be a yummy treat.


Dogs can eat celery in limited amounts. Small, chewable pieces are easily digested. Be cautious though, as too much celery can cause dogs to pee more than usual.


Just like carrots, cucumbers cut into small, chewable pieces with the skins cut off, can be good for your dog. Just stay away from pickled cucumbers as it contains too much vinegar and salt.


Small amounts of broccoli can be included in your dog’s diet (about less than 5%). Go slow on broccoli heads though as it can cause stomach upsets.


This is one vegetable that has no issues and is a very safe vegetable to give your dog.

Onion and Garlic

Onion and garlic should be avoided as they are harmful to your dogs. They can cause red blood cells in your dogs to break down. This condition is called hemolytic anaemia. When the red blood cells break down, it causes your dog to receive less oxygen. 

Potatoes and sweet potatoes 

Cooked, plain potatoes and sweet potatoes are good for your dog. It can be baked or boiled, just don’t add anything else. 

Do not give raw potatoes (or any potato-based plant) to your dog as they contain solanine, just like tomatoes.

What are dog-friendly fruits?


Apples have anti-cancer properties, they help regulate blood sugar and protect the heart. The fibre in apples can also ease diarrhoea and an irritated stomach. Thus, apples are safe to be given to your dogs.


This is a fruit that is rich in fibre. It is also a very good source of vitamins A, B and C. You can find minerals such as copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium in bananas. 

Apart from that, bananas can protect your dog against chronic diseases such as diabetes, some types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

You can try out our ice cream for dogs which contains natural sweetness, vitamins, minerals and soluble fibre that can promote the growth of good bacteria. 

Berries (blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and raspberries)

Blueberries are packed with very powerful anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that come from their black, blue and red pigment called anthocyanins. 

What this pigment does is it can help improve your dog’s visual clarity, prevent cognitive decline caused by age and enhance memory. 

One berry that we caution you giving to your dog is strawberries, as strawberries can cause allergic reactions similar to ones seen in humans.


This is another anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-packed fruit which is good for your dog. It’s juicy, sweet, very refreshing and perfect to quench your dog’s thirst.


Packed with high levels of vitamin C from its antioxidant properties, pineapple is also an anti-inflammatory fruit. It also contains an enzyme that can slow down signs of arthritis and it can even regulate tumour growth. 

However, the same vitamin C and bromelain can be harmful to your dog. Bromelain is a property which assists with anti-inflammatory, arthritis and tumour regulation.

Too much of these two nutrients can upset the digestive system and cause vomiting and diarrhoea. So, remember to keep the portions you give your dog small. 

Gluten-free grains for dogs

Grains are complex carbohydrates that are made from starch and fibre. They are small, hard and dry seeds that are harvested for human and animal consumption.

During consumption, the amylase enzyme breaks the starch down into glucose (simple sugar) that is used as a source of energy.

The fibre in whole grains (think oats, whole brown rice and barley) cannot be digested, but they have health benefits. There are grains that contain gluten and some are gluten-free. 

It is important to ensure that you only feed gluten-free grains. Here’s the list of grains that you can feed your dog: 

  • Corn
  • Oats (just ensure that they have a ‘gluten-free certificate)
  • Rice
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa                        

Grains provide a variety of nutrients and vitamins that are needed by your dogs. They help with overall health, provide energy, and are an economical source of energy.

3. Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Amino Acids

When it comes to animal-based fats, fish and fish oils contain the most amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty amino acids.. Low-mercury fishes such as wild-caught salmon and sardines are safe to be consumed. 

Omega-3 and omega-6 promote a healthy nervous system, protects internal organs, regulates temperature and enables the absorption of vitamins.

Plant-based fats can be obtained from flaxseed, hempseed, sunflower oil and olive oil.  

Many also wonder if coconut oil can be given to your dog. Coconut oil can be used in many ways for your dogs and has a multitude of benefits. Petcubes' coconut oil supplements can be added to your dog's diet.

4. Vitamins

Muscle meat, organs and plant-based dog-friendly food can provide the needed vitamins to your dog.

Different vitamins play different roles in your dog’s diet, such as:

  • Vitamin D: Helps in regulating calcium and phosphorus levels 
  • Vitamins C & E: Serves as antioxidants (comes from your various dog-friendly fruits)
  • Vitamin K: helps in getting blood to clot while
  • Vitamin B12: maintains the function of the nervous system.

5. Minerals

      There are two types of minerals - microminerals and macrominerals. Macrominerals are required in higher levels compared to microminerals but both are equally essential to your dog’s overall health.

      Minerals can be found in various types of food. Shellfish, like oysters provide zinc-rich minerals while organ meat provides iron and copper. 

      Phosphorus can be found in meat and bones provide high calcium minerals.
      But how do you classify micro and macrominerals? The list is as below:
      • Iron
      • Copper
      • Zinc
      • Manganese
      • Selenium
      • Iodine
          • Calcium
          • Magnesium
          • Phosphorus
          • Sodium
          • Potassium
          • Chloride

          6. Water

              As we all know, most organisms cannot live without water. It makes up at least 70% of a dog's mass. 
              It helps regulate body temperature, flushes waste from the body, dissolves and transports nutrients to cells and hydrolyses protein, fats and carbohydrate for digestion. 
              Filtered, clean water straight from the tap is adequate. Ensure that the water is easily accessible by your dog.

              7. Probiotics

              In simple terms, probiotics is good bacteria that is needed in your dog’s stomach (gut). Probiotics help keep your dog’s gut healthy and balanced.

              Yogurt, kefir, bananas and green tripe are some of the probiotics containing food that can be given to your dog.

              Although onions and garlic are also sources of probiotics, it should not be included as it is toxic to dogs. 

              How can I increase my dog's nutrition?

              When it comes to dog food, moderation is the key. Too much of any food type will not be good for its health.

              By giving your dog a complete, balanced meal which contains the required nutrients, it can ensure that your dog stays in the healthiest state. 

              Below is a summary of food that contains the essential nutrients your pals need. 

              Essential Nutrients

              Type of Foods


            • Health Benefits


              Fish, eggs, lean muscled meat, lentils, beans 

              Good muscles, bones, thick coat, skin and nails.

              Energy substitute when there is no carbohydrate and fats.


              Vegetables: Tomatoes, carrot, celery, cucumber, broccoli, peas.

              Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, watermelon, pineapple.

              Grains: Corn, oats, rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa,

              The main source of glucose, which is fuel to the body.

              Supply important vitamins, minerals and minerals for optimum health.

              Fatty amino acids

              Animal-based: Wild-caught salmon, sardines.

              Plant-based: Flaxseed, hempseed, sunflower oil, olive oil

              Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 which promotes a healthy nervous system.




              Muscle meat, organ, dark leafy greens, dog-friendly fruits.

              Vitamin A, C, E, K and folate-rich, protection against cancer, anti-aging properties. 


              Shellfish (oyster), organ meat, bones.

              Excellent source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper and iron.


              Filtered, clean tap water

              Dissolves and transports nutrients, regulating body temperature, flushing waste from the body.


              Kefir, yogurt, banana, green tripe

              Promotes good gut health 


              We all want what is best for our dogs. We hope that the above guide will enable you to provide the best-balanced diet as these nutrients are important to ensure your dog’s optimal health.

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