Dogs and cats require six basic nutrients to maintain a healthy, balanced diet, including water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. All these things combined in the proper amounts provides energy for your pet's body to grow and stay healthy. When home cooking your pet's meals, take care to include all these nutrients and take extra precautions to store the food properly. Cats have different dietary needs than dogs so do your research before committing to cooking your pet's meals. There are a lot of great supplements and boosters available too, to add to your pet's feeding regimen to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
Here are the benefits of the necessary nutrients and why it’s important your pet has adequate amounts of each (listed in order of priority).
- Protein (chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, fish and cooked eggs) – Helps with growth and maintenance of cells, tissues, organs, antibodies, hormones, and enzymes.
- Fat (from oil and meat) – Assists with the absorption of certain vitamins (see below), protects and insulates internal organs and promotes good skin and hair growth.
- Carbohydrates (rice, corn, and beans) – Keeps intestines healthy and supplies glucose to critical organs, including the brain.
- Minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc. – Gives dogs structurally sound bones and teeth, among other benefits.
- Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K – Promotes weight loss, eye and skin health, immunity and more.