A 5-Point Guide To Understand The Principles Of Animal Nutrition

Posted by Ross Doe on Nov 21st 2022

The symbiotic relationship between animals and humanity places the responsibility of catering to animal nutrition on human beings. While some animals, such as those in the wild, can fend for themselves, expecting domestic animals to scavenge for food would be inappropriate and could amount to cruelty against them. For that reason, any individual who has animals under their care must provide for their adequate nutrition at all times.

The responsibility to provide animal nutrition requires strict adherence to the principles of animal nutrition, which are guiding concepts on how to care for animals.

Here is a five-point guide on the principles of animal nutrition, which sets you up for proper care of your animals.

1. Feed Evaluation

Feed evaluation involves the nutritional content of the food available to the animal. The assessment of the feed animals can consume is distinguished into three primary categories. Firstly, it is essential to consider the energy content in the food. Animals require energy in the form of carbohydrates for proper nutrition. Understanding the range of carbohydrates and, subsequently, the energy content guides the nutrition process.

Secondly, it is crucial to consider the protein content of the feed through protein evaluation systems. Protein evaluation systems provide insight into the protein content in any food, thereby guiding any person involved in animal nutrition on the content and quantity of feed to supply the animal. In addition, it also helps to regulate the feed so that the animal is not overnutrition on one nutrient compared to others.

2. The Composition of the Animal’s Body

The composition of the animal's body directly affects the nutrition that the animal can receive. In general terms, the composition of an animal's body is affected by various factors. These include the species of the animal, strain, age, the state of their nutrition, and their sex. Factoring these aspects is beneficial in identifying the appropriate way to cater to animals’ nutrition needs.

While the composition of every animal varies as per the factors alluded to above, every animal is generally composed of water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and inorganic elements. Hence, you need to consider these factors and offer nutrients to replenish the composition of the animal’s body, thus keeping it healthy.

3. Feed Composition, Nutrient Digestion, And 


The kind of feed offered to an animal varies as per the type of species of the animal. In simple terms, animals are classified into three categories regarding their meal. These are herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Herbivores consume feed solely encompassing plants. Such animals include cows, goats, and sheep. Knowledge of the types of plants that the animal can eat is also essential. However, that is covered in subsequent sections of the article.

Secondly, carnivores consume food solely composed of flesh. Whether the flesh is to be cooked is a matter of preference and can be determined by a vet. Some of the animals which ordinarily consume meat include dogs and cats. However, domesticated dogs and cats are unlikely to hunt for themselves unless circumstances demand it.

Finally, omnivores can consume a diet of either plants or flesh, depending on availability and preference. Just as is the case with humans, pigs are naturally omnivores. Owing to their ability to forage for food, they can get plants and twigs for consumption. However, providing them with flesh would be a proper meal.

Lastly, mineral and vitamin evaluation is also critical in feed evaluation, especially concerning the kind of feed containing the appropriate minerals. Animals require nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus for their growth.

4.Nutrient Requirements

As stated above, the nutritional needs of animals vary depending on numerous factors. As such, it is not ideal for offering animals a general nutrition scheme as each animal has to be evaluated individually to ascertain the kind of nutrients to provide them with. Evaluating the nutritional requirement is based on both theoretical understanding and actual practical work. However, it is essential to consider the growth and development of the animal, its activity, lactation, age, and sex in estimating the animal's nutritional needs.

While the result is an estimation and not an accurate figure, this helps to guide the animal carer on the appropriate mechanism of offering nutrition to the animal.

5.Feed Intake Mechanisms

After establishing the kind of feed to offer the animal, the next step is determining how to provide the feed. This includes aspects such as the nature of housing of the animal, the supplements to use, and the timings of the feeding. Determining the feed intake mechanisms is instrumental since it involves feeding the animal and ensuring its proper nutrition.


The principles of animal nutrition involve evaluating the animal, understanding its nutritional needs, and evaluating the mechanisms to feed it as it demands. Understanding these principles is the foundation of appropriately caring for animals while maintaining their health and well-being. As such, any individual with animals under their care must make an undertaking to be well acquainted with these principles.


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