Wednesday, December 16, 2015

And a Side of Lard for the Canine Athlete

I may be bias but I think Sparta qualifies as a canine athlete and Stoic may eventually get to the point of being a weekend warrior.

Last year the New York Times Blog "Well" ran a great Q&A regarding the nutritional needs of the active dog.

The short and the long of it is that they are not Sapiens.  They're not even apes.  Just because you need it, just because you do it to prepare for or finish a race, doesn't mean it is good for the dog.  In fact, it can be harmful.

Yes, we're both mammals, but down to the cellular level, their muscles work differently and, as such, have different needs.  Again, read the whole thing, but if you read nothing else,

So should an athletic dog’s diet contain lots of fat?
That’s a good question. For dogs jogging along with you for 20 minutes a few times a week, a normal commercial dog food containing about 15 or 16 percent fat should be fine. But if you and your dog run five or 10 miles a day, that dog likely needs a slightly higher-fat diet.
There are special high-performance dog foods now that contain as much as 20 percent fat. Or you can just add a teaspoon of olive oil to your dog’s kibble. That increases fat intake by 1 or 2 percent, which can be plenty. On the other hand, fat is somewhat indigestible and can lead to greater fecal mass. So if you increase your dog’s fat intake, be prepared to carry an extra plastic bag or two when you go running.
What about protein? How important is it?
Vital. Athletic dogs need protein to build and maintain muscle. In general, their diet should consist of at least 25 percent protein, preferably from meat. In one study, dogs fed plant-based soy protein experienced far more musculoskeletal injuries than dogs consuming meat protein.

I've taken that advice to heart.  After walks between 6-12 miles, I just round up a little when I scoop out their next meal.  If we walk over six miles I just add a little melted bear lard to that same amount of kibble.  

Of course if they spend extra time outside and eat the random chipmunk or rabbit, so much the better.

Can we eat it yet boss?

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