A groomer friend of mine recently recounted the story of a client who feeds her dog a limited, four-ingredient fresh food diet due to food intolerances. While limited-ingredient diets are common for dogs with food sensitivities, the client was not adding any supplementation for fear of causing the dog a reaction. I was floored, because no four foods can provide all of the dog nutrition a pup needs to live a long, healthy life. Without supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps, this well-intentioned dog guardian is unwittingly causing her canine companion more harm than good.

All living organisms need a wide variety of nutrients — substances from food that provide energy and enable our bodies to function — to survive. There are six major classes of nutrients for dogs and people: water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Let’s take a closer look at dog nutrition and six essential nutrients your dog needs to eat:

1. Water

What it is: A tasteless, colorless, odorless chemical made up of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule — hence the name H2O.

Why it’s important: Without water, life cannot exist. Water makes up 70 to 80 percent of a mature dog’s lean body mass. Water’s many important functions include: dissolving and transporting nutrients to the cells; helping regulate body temperature; hydrolyzing protein, fat and carbohydrates for digestion; cushioning the organs and nervous system; flushing waste from the body.

Special considerations: A dog’s water requirements vary based on health, activity level and environmental temperature. Most dogs self-regulate their water intake to meet their needs. Dogs fed high-moisture foods typically drink less than kibble-fed dogs. All dogs should always have access to clean, fresh H2O.

Get it from: Straight from the tap fitted with a good quality filter