What Nutrients Does My Dog Need?

Written by: BARK

August 1, 2023

We all want our four-legged friends to be healthy and happy, bouncing around with tails wagging like there’s no tomorrow. But did you know that giving your pup the right nutrients is essential for their overall well-being? Dog nutrition plays a vital role in their overall health and vitality. Just like humans need our daily dose of vitamins and minerals, dogs have their own set of nutritional needs to keep them in tip-top shape. 

Let’s look at the six essential nutrients your furry friend needs for a healthy life and how to incorporate these nutrients into their diets. Get ready for a tail-wagging adventure!

6 Essential Nutrients Every Dog Needs

1. Protein: The Mighty Muscle Builder

Protein provides the building blocks for healthy muscles, tissues, and organs.1 Just like we need our daily dose of chicken or steak, our furry pals need a good source of protein in their diet. Whether it’s lean meat, poultry, fish, or high-quality dog food, protein is crucial for maintaining strong muscles and supporting overall growth and development. So, let’s give a round of ap-paws for the mighty muscle builder—protein!

Tip: Mix a spoonful of cooked chicken or lean ground beef into your dog’s regular food or canned food to boost their protein intake and make mealtime even more drool-worthy.

2. Carbohydrates: Fuel for Adventure

Carbohydrates may seem like the villain in some human diets, but for dogs, they are the fuel for adventure! Carbs provide the energy your pooch needs to chase balls, go on long walks, and have a blast throughout the day. From whole grains like brown rice and oats to veggies like sweet potatoes and peas, carbohydrates come in various forms to support proper dog nutrition. They help maintain your dog’s energy levels, support their digestion, and keep their tails wagging with delight.

Tip: Cook up a batch of dog-friendly treats using whole grain flour, such as oat or brown rice flour, to give your pup an extra boost of carbohydrates in a tasty package.

3. Fats: The Shiny Coat Secret

Now, let’s talk about fats—the secret to a shiny, luscious coat that turns heads at the dog park! Providing energy, insulation, and aiding in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, fats are a crucial component of your dog’s diet. Look for healthy sources of fats like fish oil, flaxseed oil, and chicken fat, which are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.2 These fatty acids promote healthy skin, a sleek coat, and overall well-being for your furry friend.

Tip: Add a teaspoon of fish oil to your dog’s food or give them a small piece of cooked salmon every now and then for that extra dose of healthy fats.

4. Vitamins: The Superheroes of Health

Vitamins keep our pups in the best possible health. From vitamin A for good vision to vitamin D for strong bones, these essential nutrients play a vital role in your dog’s well-being. Most high-quality dog foods or kibble are formulated to provide the necessary vitamins, but it’s always a good idea to consult your vet to ensure your dog’s specific needs are met.

Tip: Include some vitamin-rich fruits and veggies in your dog’s diet, such as carrots, pumpkin, and blueberries, to give them an extra boost of superhero power.

5. Minerals: The Mighty Helpers

Just like vitamins, minerals are mighty helpers that ensure your dog’s body functions properly. The formation and health of bones depend on minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, while iron and zinc help the immune system function properly.3 Although the appropriate balance of minerals is present in high-quality dog diets, it’s always a good idea to double-check with your veterinarian to be sure your dog’s nutritional needs are satisfied.

Tip: If you’re feeding your dog a homemade diet and thinking “what can i add to my dog’s kibble everyday?” You can try including mineral-rich ingredients like bone meal, leafy greens, and organ meats to provide them with the necessary minerals for a healthy body.

6. Water: The Ultimate Thirst Quencher

Let’s not forget about the ultimate thirst quencher—water! Water helps regulate body temperature, aids in digestion and keeps all the bodily systems running smoothly for pups. Make sure your furry friend always has access to fresh, clean water throughout the day to keep them hydrated and happy with this nutritional need.

Tip: Keep multiple water bowls around the house and refill them regularly to ensure your dog has plenty of opportunities to quench their thirst, especially during hot summer days.

How to Incorporate Nutrients into Your Dog’s Diet

Now that you’re well-versed in the fantastic six essential nutrients, you might be wondering how to incorporate them effectively into your dog’s diet. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

  • High-Quality Dog Food – Choose the best dog food for your furry friend that meets their specific nutritional needs. Look for a brand that includes a balance of protein sources, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. You can also consider options labeled as suitable for adult dogs or senior dogs, depending on their age. It’s essential to select dog food that provides the necessary amino acids, fatty acids, and other nutrients required for optimal health.4 

You can also try incorporating superfoods for dogs into their diet. Just like superfoods for humans, certain foods can provide an extra boost of essential nutrients for our furry friends. Superfoods for dogs include nutrient-dense options that are safe and beneficial for their health.

  • Treat Time – Get creative with homemade treats that include nutrient-rich ingredients. Incorporate protein sources like lean meats (such as chicken or turkey), which provide essential amino acids, into your homemade treats. You can find plenty of simple and tasty recipes online that incorporate protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  • Vet Consultation – Your veterinarian is your best ally in ensuring your dog receives the right balance of nutrients. They can provide personalized guidance based on your dog’s age, breed, weight, and any specific health conditions.
  • Avoid Overfeeding – Feeding your pup the right amount of food is essential. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and associated health problems. Follow feeding guidelines provided by your vet or dog food manufacturer to prevent overfeeding or in some instances weight loss.
  • Variety is Key – Just like humans, dogs appreciate variety in their diet. Mix it up with different protein sources, vegetables, and grains to keep mealtime exciting and ensure they receive a broad range of nutrients.
  • Monitor Body Condition – Keep an eye on your dog’s body condition and weight. Adjust their portion sizes and feeding frequency accordingly to maintain a healthy body condition.

Get Your Nutrients With BARK

There you have it, dog lovers—the fantastic six essential nutrients your pup needs for a healthy and vibrant life. From protein to carbohydrates, fats to vitamins and minerals, each nutrient plays a crucial role in keeping your furry friend happy and thriving. If you need help finding quality, puppy or adult food for your furry pet, we can help. 

At BARK, we understand that there are many reputable wet food or dry dog food brands to choose from, however, if you need a place to start BARK food is perfect for you. We offer healthy food for dogs that are delicious and made by certified nutritionists. Shop our dog food today and give your furry friends the fuel they need to conquer the world!


  1. GreatVet. Importance of Proper Nutrition for Your Pets Optimal Health and Longevity.
  2. Brawley Animal Hospital. 5 Facts About the Importance of Feeding Your Pet a Balanced Diet.
  3. My Pet Bits. Paw-some Nutrients: The Vitality of Vitamins and Minerals in Pet Diets.
  4. DogVisible. How Much Food to Feed My Dog.
  5. American Kennel Club. Homemade Dog Food Recipes: Choosing Balanced Ingredients.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by: BARK

August 1, 2023

Nutritionist-crafted food for your dog's breed or mix.

Recipes designed for dogs' individuality



A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.