Kids and dog having snack time in the kitchen

The Top 3 Nutrients Your Dog Needs Right Now!

Maggie Marton | August 30, 2018

Do you ever feel like nutrition fads are impossible to keep up with?

Like, are you really supposed to have apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, collagen powder, and a probiotic topped with a tincture of essential oils every single day? If you try to keep up with all the individual nutrients-of-the-moment, when is there time to eat real food?

Same goes for our dogs. We’re inundated in lists of nutrients they need “right now.” But, what do they really, truly need?

We’re all about living simply so we can enjoy every second with our pups, so we’ve boiled this down to the easiest easy-to-follow list.

Here are the top three nutrients your dog needs right now:


You’ve probably heard of amino acids. Even if it hasn’t been since high school chem class, the phrase probably rings a bell. Amino acids are the nutrients that make up proteins. Amino acids are necessary nutrients for every living thing. In fact, every cell in your and your dog’s body contains amino acids. 

Your dog needs protein--and good quality protein--to thrive, to grow, and potentially to stave off diseases like diabetes and some types of cancer. 

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Animal sources of protein tend to deliver all the amino acids we need.” While they’re specifically referring to human health, of course, the same applies to our pets. 

A dog food needs to contain a healthy dose of healthy protein. Chicken and fish (like salmon for instance) serve as nutritious, valuable protein sources because they don’t add a lot of sodium or saturated fats to the food like other proteins, such as steak. 


Carbs get a bad rap with all of the no-carb diet fads. But carbs are a vital nutrient (technically a macronutrient) that gives your dog’s body (and yours) energy. The key to carbs lies in which ones you choose. Quinoa is a carb, but so are greasy French fries. Lentils deliver a healthy dose of complex carbs, while a loaf of white bread--still a carb--does not. 

Fiber, found in fruits and veggies as well as grains and peas, is a complex carbohydrate necessary for overall gut wellness and, in particular, healthy number twos

Rather than focus on minimizing or eliminating carbs in your dog’s diet, find foods that deliver healthy, complex carbs instead. Remember: It’s not that all carbs are bad -- it’s just important to know the difference. 

Healthy Fats

Fats fill up your pup and give him energy to enjoy his day. But, just like carbs, not all fats are created the same. Saturated fats, like those found in meat and butter, don’t fuel your dog quite like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats - “the good fats.” Monounsaturated fats can be found in ingredients like avocados and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fat, like Omega-3 and Omega-6, need to be in balance with the rest, but those may give your pup powerful benefits like a lower chance of developing heart disease.  

Sure, your dog would love to get his daily dose of fats from thick, greasy slices of cheese pizza (who wouldn’t?) but that won’t give him a shiny coat, clear eyes, healthy teeth, or a healthy gut like monounsaturated fats will. 

That’s it! 

While each nutrient can be found in a wide range of foods, focus on finding a dog food that contains quality ingredients from each of those three groups of nutrients, and your pup will thrive!