These should be thought of in terms of the category of fatty acids that they transport and should be carefully monitored for non-oxidation and spoiling:
lard, suet, poultry fat (long saturated fatty acids),
coconut, coprah, and palm oils (short or medium fatty acids),
sunflower, soy, and corn oil (essential fatty acids from the Omega 6 series),
purified fish oils (essential fatty acids from the Omega 3 series).
Vitamin and Mineral Sources
Here again, we should look for mineral sources that can be perfectly assimilated, such as calcium phosphate and carbonates. Used systematically, yeast are an excellent source of B complex vitamins. Liposoluble vitamins will be provided in commercial forms.
Complete Industrial Foods
For the many reasons cited above, it seems that only complete dry dog food should be used for Sporting dogs.
For some owners, the easiest approach is still increasing the daily ration based on the increase in energy requirements, without changing the food. In this case, no specific dietary approach is used, and the result is a less-than-optimal performance for the animal.
The following more effective example could be used:
- The same maintenance food is used all year long. It is gradually supplemented during the training and competition periods. In this case, the best basis is provided by a 25/10 type food (25% protein, 10% fat for the unfinished product, which corresponds to about 27% protein and 11% fat in relation to the dry matter) that is highly digestible (with an optimum of 50 grams of fecal matter for every 100 grams of dry matter ingested). Based on current knowledge, we would recommend a food that is adapted to the animal’s size and shape, and one that targets the first period of adult life (often called “Adult1”). Use this food as a constant dietary base for the whole year, supplementing it during training and competition periods with lean meat or fish for brief periods of exertion and fats for longer periods of exertion. At the peak of training, we would then gradually reach a ration that is one fourth to one third dry food and three fourths to two thirds meat or fish. An adapted vitamin and mineral supplement would then be necessary.
- The maintenance diet is only used during the rest period. It should meet the previously described qualitative conditions and will gradually be changed to a specific complete food once training becomes intense. Dietary transitions should be spread out over three to seven days.
Ideally we would recommend a 30-32/22-25 type food for short to medium periods of exertion and a 35/30 type food for long periods of exertion. Here again, the food needs to be highly digestible and ensure small intestinal and fecal amounts. Ration size should also be adapted to changes in the dog’s weight. When taking into account the extreme aspects of types of exertion, Greyhounds and sled dogs may be considered separately. For a sled dog, a 35/30 type food would be quite sufficient for most of the training period as well as for “small” categories of harness competition (3 to 6 dogs). Beyond that, specific supplements for protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals appear necessary and may be used in either a homemade or industrial form. For long distances, the gradual change to a type 36/36 complete semi-moist food seems to be an excellent solution, but poses a problem for industries in that section of the market is still rather small and does not justify the necessary investments. Nevertheless, a rationing program that calls for gradually increasing the proportion of the specific supplement in the daily may still be implemented.