Nutrition is the consumption and absorption of food and nourishment by the body. As food or drinks are consumed, they are broken down by the body into nutrients. These nutrients travel through the bloodstream to different parts of the body where they serve many purposes, such as being used as "fuel." Nutrition is a key factor in promoting your pet's good health, performance, and longevity.
Micronutrients are essential elements only needed in small quantities. Micronutrients include microminerals and vitamins. Microminerals are also known as trace elements, and include iron, cobalt, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc, and molybdenum.
Macronutrients are those nutrients that together provide the vast majority of metabolic energy. The three main macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Unlike micronutrients which are necessary in small amounts to maintain health, macronutrients are essential for providing energy.
Unfortunately, most pet owners do not really think about what they feed their pets. They often have no idea what is in the food they feed. A proper diet must contain essential nutrients not only to sustain life, but to encourage growth, promote healthy skin and coat, and foster healthy function of the organs and immune system. Allergies, obesity, diseases of the liver and heart, and cancers can be traced to improper diets such as those high in saturated fats, too low in fiber or loaded with fillers and animal by-products. Many people are not even aware of what animal by-products are!
Although healthier than most commercial foods, home-prepared diets must contain the proper percentages of nutrients, making it important to carefully follow tested recipes for pets. Recommended homemade recipes generally contain the following basic proportions: one-half whole grains, one quarter or one third high-quality proteins (real meat), and up to ¼ fruits and/or vegetables. The addition of kelp is recommended for essential trace minerals, and flaxseed meal or oil for essential fatty acids.