Dog Food and Nutrition Articles
"Why do you make so many pet foods?" is a question we are frequently asked at the Purina Pet Care Center. We are providing this information to answer that question and to help pet owners decide which kind of diet is appropriate for their pets
Is there an ideal source of protein? Is the promise of "no soy" in a pet food an assurance of high quality protein? Will high levels of protein in a pet food cause health problems? Sweep away the myths and the facts about protein may surprise you.
Pet food labels give basic information as to the ingredient content, nutrient guaranteed analysis, feeding information, net weight, the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor and, many times, other facts about the product. The guaranteed analysis, the list of ingredients and a statement of nutritional adequacy and feeding directions are required on all pet food packages.
Milk production is an energy consuming process and the energy level in the bitch’s food is very important to the lactation process. It is recommended that, soon after whelping, the level of Metabolizable Energy (ME) intake by the bitch be increased to 200% of the maintenance amount normally utilized. In other words, the bitch must eat twice
the food she ate before she was bred.
Mother Nature (natural genetic selection) has been determining which dogs produce the next generation since time began. Man (artificial selection) began determining which animals would produce the next generation a few centuries ago and he continues to do so today. Through refined selection techniques and quantitating the heritability of some traits, performance dogs today have far greater potential and ability than dogs of only a few decades ago.
For eons, mother’s milk has been proven to be the best food for newborns. Studies in several species have documented the mechanisms that keep milk high in nutritional value regardless of the condition of the dam.1
These studies verify that a lactating bitch will produce a sufficient quantity of nutritious milk to support her puppies even if her condition deteriorates. For conscientious dog breeders, the challenge is to provide nutrition for the dam that will allow her to not only feed her puppies but also to maintain her own condition.
Modern bird dog trainers are up to date. They are well-read, knowledgeable professionals who keep up with the latest training techniques, veterinary care, breeding, and kennel management. But, there is no area that perks their interest like nutrition. Everyone is looking for that special diet or feeding method that will give their dog a special edge that will allow it to finish the trial with it’s head up and hunting all the way. If we continue to feed our field trial dogs the same way we did twenty years ago, we are destined to compete without the benefits of new nutritional research. When competitors use these dietary improvements, they have the advantage in field trials.
In 1985, Professor R. Wolter of the Ecole Nationale Veterinaire of Alfort, France, formulated his “ten commandments” for feeding dogs. These ten rules, reproduced in part below, will help dog owners avoid the most common errors with regard to the practical aspects of feeding dogs.
An animal’s diet should be carefully adapted to changes in training: rest period: high-quality maintenance food, adapted to the size of the dog;
training period: gradual progression to a working ration (transitions over a week for each modification) or increasing addition of a working dog’s dietary supplement to the maintenance ration:
racing period: the added stress to the work may call for additional nutritional adaptations. Quantitatively, the ration is adapted to the change in the weight of the animal.
post-training period: gradual return to the maintenance diet
Theoretically, a large breed dog requires less energy per kg of body weight than a small breed dog. For example, a 3 kg adult Yorkshire requires 100 kcal/kg per day while a 17 kg adult Spaniel would require 65 kcal/kg per day and a 50 kg adult Mastiff requires less than 50 kcal/kg per day.