The Dog Food Project
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. - Roger Caras
A better food makes a big difference!

Main Page About the Author What Readers say Dog Discussions Forum
Commercial Dry Foods
Introduction Label Information 101 Identifying better products Ingredients to avoid Product List
Specific Product Groups
Organic Dog Food Grain Free Dog Food Vegetarian & Vegan Dog Food
Meat vs. Meat MealNew! Choosing the right food Feeding Puppies Feeding Senior Dogs Canine Obesity Is too much protein harmful? Grading kibble - easily? "Five Star Foods"
Other Diet Topics
Questions on Diet Myths about Feeding The Yuck Factor Where the money goes Natural Supplementation Menadione (Vitamin K3) Nutrient Requirements Links & Resources
Nutrition Primer
Nutrient Overview Water Protein Fat Carbohydrates Fiber Vitamins Minerals Essential Fatty Acids Probiotics

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By definition, a nutrient is any element or compound that is necessary for or contributes to an organism's metabolism, growth, or other functioning. Essential nutrients must be supplied from an outside source because they cannot be synthesized by the body in sufficient amounts.

Commonly they are divided into 6 main categories:

  • Water (H2O), essential for life and required for the body's digestive and transportation system, as a lubricant, and for many other functions
  • Proteins, nitrogenous organic compounds that provide the building blocks (amino acids) for enzymes, other protein formations within the body and various other substances that control and regulate the metabolism
  • Fats, compounds of three fatty acids linked to a central glycerine molecule
  • Carbohydrates, sugar-based compounds that mostly contribute energy
  • Vitamins, various compounds essential to the body's functioning
  • Minerals, trace elements, pure elements, salts, or ions such as copper and iron

There are others, such as for example probiotics, enzymes and phytonutrients, which also play important roles but are still often overlooked in human nutrition and even moreso in pet foods. This section will give an overview of each group.