Providing a balanced diet is critical in supporting the overall health and quality of a dog’s life. The appropriate amounts of nutrients including proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals are needed in a dog’s diet in order to maintain metabolic processes, prevent diseases and deficiencies, and provide the foundation for optimal growth and development.
When selecting commercial foods for dogs, the most important thing is to select the appropriate life stage (adult maintenance or puppy) and lifestyle (indoor vs. active), but owners may also look for food with other attributes such as support for skin and coat, digestive or cognitive health, among others.
The nutrition topic library is organized to help caretakers provide nutrition through proper feeding of their dogs by physiologic state. This is the “condition or state of the body or bodily functions” and includes adult (maintenance), gestating (pregnant), lactating (nursing), and puppy nutrition.
Anna Kate Shoveller, PHD
Professor and Champion Petfoods Chair in Canine and Feline Nutrition, Physiology and Metabolism
This nutrition section has been carefully curated under the guidance of Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller who has also co-authored resources and components found in this section. Dr. Shoveller earned a BS(honors) in Animal Biology from the University of Guelph and a PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Alberta. She is currently a professor in the Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph. Prior to this position, she worked in the animal nutrition industry from 2007-2015. Her research group also considers animal behavior and quality of life in their focus on comparative nutrition and physiology, particularly amino acid metabolism, protein quality, and macronutrient partitioning in dogs, cats, horses, and pigs. A student working with Dr. Shoveller, Keely Patterson (BS(honors)), Animal Biology and Nutrition & Nutraceutical Sciences, University of Guelph) also contributed helpful guidance to this page. Keely is now a PhD student at Massey University in New Zealand.
Guidelines for the nutritional requirements for dogs and cats have been published by the National Research Council of the US, recognizing that determination of energy requirements and food energy content, are key to proper feeding and nutrition (Mussa & Prola, 2005).
Mussa, P.P. & Prola, L.(2005). Dog Nutrient Requirements: New Knowledge. Vet. Res. Comm., 29, 35-38.
Bare Bones – If you only have a few minutes for the basics
At-A-Glance: Canine Nutrition Applications - CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
At-A-Glance: Nutrition for Adult Dogs - CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
At-A-Glance: Nutrition for Gestating Dogs - CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
At-A-Glance: Nutrition for Lactating Dogs - CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
At-A-Glance: Nutrition for Puppies - CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
SNACKS – If you want to learn more
Implications of Weaning Age for Dog Welfare - CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
Feeding the Pregnant Dog
Feeding Growing Puppies
Properly Feeding Your Pregnant or Nursing Dog
Feeding the Nursing Dog
Complete and Balanced Pet Food
Dog Nutrition Tips
Safe Handling of Commercially Prepared Pet Food and Pet Treats
What to Feed a Lactating Dog
How to Feed a Puppy - How to Choose the Best Puppy Food
Canine Health Facts : What to Feed a Pregnant Dog [Video file]
Canine and Feline Nutrition: A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals (3rd ed.).
Maximizing Success in the Breeding Kennel and Show Ring: Vital Health Care and Management of Competitive Dogs
WALTHAM™ Puppy Growth Charts
WALTHAM® Pocket Book of Puppy Nutrition and Care
Body Condition & Muscle Condition Score Charts
Kibble – If you want to take a deep dive into the science
Investigating the Effects of Incremental Conditioning and Supplemental Dietary Tryptophan on the Voluntary Activity and Behaviour of Mid-Distance Training Sled Dogs - CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
Investigating the Effects of Increased Soluble Fiber and Incremental Exercise on the Voluntary Physical Activity and Behaviour of Sled Dogs - CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
Body-Weight Changes During Growth of Puppies of Different Breeds
Efficacy of a Probiotic‐Prebiotic Supplement on Incidence of Diarrhea in a Dog Shelter: A Randomized, Double‐Blind, Placebo‐Controlled Trial
Nutritional Influences on Growth and Skeletal Development in the Dog
Early Nutritional Management to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and Obesity
Food Intake and Nutrition During Pregnancy, Lactation and Weaning in the Dam and Offspring
Additional Resources to Support Dogs in Other Environments
SHELTER & RESCUE
Dogs living in shelter or rescue kennels face challenges specific to their living environments. Practical applications for their management and care may also differ. Additional resources for their caretakers, including those caring for dogs in home-based foster systems or rescue networks, are provided to support efforts to improve, maintain, and protect their welfare.
Dogs living in homes as family pets face challenges specific to their living environments. Practical applications for their management and care may also differ. Additional resources for their caretakers, support the human-animal bond, keep pets in their homes, and improve, maintain, and protect their welfare.
Research & Teaching
Dogs living in research or teaching kennels face challenges specific to their living environments. Practical applications for their management and care may also differ. Additional resources for their caretakers are provided to support efforts to improve, maintain, and protect their welfare.