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J Nutr. 1998 Dec;128(12 Suppl):2686S-2690S.

The nutritional requirements of exercising dogs.

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Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


The nutrient requirements of canine athletes are unique. Dogs have a greater capacity for fat oxidation than humans both at rest and during exercise. In dogs undertaking endurance exercise, such as sled dogs, high fat (>50% of energy) diets increase stamina and maximize energy production, and high protein (>30% of energy) diets prevent training-induced anemia. Nutrient requirements differ, however, for sprint racing dogs, such as greyhounds. Greyhounds run faster when fed moderately increased dietary fat but run more slowly when dietary protein is increased. Sled dogs have similar energy requirements to other breeds at rest in a thermoneutral environment ( approximately 550W0.75 kJ/d where W is body weight in kg) but may require as much as 4200W0.75 kJ/d during a race. The energy requirement of greyhounds in training, however, is only approximately 600W0.75 kJ/d. There is little information, however, concerning the vitamin, mineral or other nutrient requirements of athletic dogs; most sled dogs and greyhounds are fed "homemade" recipes. These recipes usually include raw meat and represent a health risk. More studies are required to improve the health and performance of working and racing dogs.

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