Too much protein?
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Thread: Too much protein?

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    Too much protein?

    I want to get my dog on a grain-free diet but have two concerns.

    1. He has a sensitive stomach and I hear that high protein (especially from many sources) can be hard on them.

    2. If I go grain-free, should I supplement his food with anything else? O was once told I should--but with what I don't remember. Something about high-protein and liver problems...?

    So given that, can anyone recommend a high quality (5 or 6 star) food that is moderate in protein levels and likely to be a good match for a sensitive stomach?

    He was on Canidae Lamb & Rice and did well. Switched to the Chicken & Rice and is doing poorly. I also want to give him a higher quality food than this.

    Looking at Orijen, Taste of the Wild, Instinct, Acana

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Well all the food you chose are 6 stars except for Acana according to dogfoodanalysis.com

    If you want him on moderate protein and grainless, try TOTW or Wellness Core. I personally use EVO and Orijen but these are al 40+% protein which is very high. TOTW and Wellness Core have about 32% if I remember correctly and depending on the formula.

    I recommend trying something with mainly fish sources because it's easier to digest. Also if your dog did well on lamb, try a food with predominantly lamb based protein source. I know Wellness Core has a fish one, and TOTW might have a formula with lamb and some beef I think(I might be wrong on this, not that familiar with TOTW).

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Why recommend feeding a mainly fish diet?

    Would you eat a fish diet everyday? If not then why?

    The majority of fish that are harvested have elevated levels of mercury and other toxins. What makes the fish in our pets food any different.
    You hear on the news a couple times a year about how much fish a person can eat. Now can you imagine how much a dog is eating on a daily diet?

    TOTW is also manufactured by Diamond I believe. Do a search for ethoxyquin and I believe nearly all of Diamonds products are manufactured using Fish preserved by it. Wellness states they bring in ethoxyquin free fish for diamond to manufacture their Wellness food but that came from the company. Diamond states they use ethoxyquin preserved fish in all their formulas.
    So who do you believe..???
    Last edited by shets114; 10-05-2009 at 09:18 PM.

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    Re: Too much protein?

    TOTW has Pacific Stream, which is a fish only based food and no grains. Its protein is 25%. Acana, like CORE is in the 30's for protein (33-34?). They have a fish based food, too, called Acana Pacifica. This is what mine are eating right now. Another moderate protein grain-free that I like is FROMM 4-Star Surf & Turf (around the 30-34% mark), but it uses more protein than just fish.
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    Re: Too much protein?

    Quote Originally Posted by shets114 View Post
    Why recommend feeding a mainly fish diet?

    Would you eat a fish diet everyday? If not then why?
    I eat a piece of fish every single day since I almost never eat meat. I never go a single day without fish.

    I recommend it because it's more easily digestible than red meat or chicken. It's recommended by the vet for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs. A poodle I know has such bad allergies that she can't even eat any treats other than fresh boiled fish recommended by the vet.

    Quote Originally Posted by shets114 View Post
    TOTW is also manufactured by Diamond I believe. Do a search for ethoxyquin and I believe nearly all of Diamonds products are manufactured using Fish preserved by it. Wellness states they bring in ethoxyquin free fish for diamond to manufacture their Wellness food but that came from the company. Diamond states they use ethoxyquin preserved fish in all their formulas.
    So who do you believe..???
    That is one of my concerns too. I don't feed TOTW because it might contain ethoxyquin. I only feed Orijen's fish formula because I know it's made here in Canada and they don't preserve the fish other than refrigerate.

    The reason I recommend TOTW and Wellness Core is because the original poster wanted a moderate protein grainless dog food. Orijen and EVO are very high protein.
    Last edited by Michiyo-Fir; 10-05-2009 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Acana is really good if you're looking for a lower protein kibble - my dog did well on both the Prairie Harvest and Grasslands - I rotate that with the higher protein kibbles i.e. Orijen and EVO.

    I also think that Natural Balance is a really good kibble for dog's with sensitive tummies - particularly their duck and sweet potato formula, though some people think that the protein content might be a little too low. You can mix the kibble with some Orijen and that should work as well.

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    Re: Too much protein?

    I used to have him on Wellness Core (in fact, still have half the large bag of it). I forgot the reason I got off it but I recall getting scared about something on the message boards. Is there anything else that needs modifying when going with high protein/no grain? Seems backwards in the thinking, but worth the question I figure.

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    Re: Too much protein?

    I think the high protein diet just doesn't work for some dogs mostly because it's too rich and can cause diarrhea and stomach upsets.

    A couple of things to keep in mind: your dog needs plenty of water - high protein diets are very draining on the kidneys. I don't know what the consensus is on this board about kidney problems, UTI and high protein diets but if your dog has any of these kind of diseases, then a high protein diet would not be recommended at all (and that's in my opinion although a lot of people seem to think it's cock and bull).

    Also, I think you may have been recommended to supplement high-protein/grain free kibble with some form of fiber i.e. canned pumpkin puree, sweet potatoes or coconut flakes. All of which I do for my dog, including some coconut oil and yogurt. You might get some runny stools on high-protein diet so the fiber just helps bulk things up.

    I've never tried Wellness Core before, although I've been tempted to but have heard some pretty waffling reviews about it, so I'm still not sure. I've tried Natural Balance, Acana, Orijen, Evo, TOTW, Earthborn Holistics and one or two other really "holistic" brands that my local shop sells - I found that Natural Balance (Sweet Potato and Venison), Acana (Grasslands) and Orijen (that Regional Red stuff is like a miracle drug!) worked the best for my miniature dachshund - smooth shiny coat, lots of psycho dog energy and no stinky doggie smell. Of course, every dog is different, but I would recommend Natural Balance or Acana for you to start out.

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Keep in mind that is always a good idea to rotate your protein sources. Otherwise allergies can develop.

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Yes, that is exactly why I am in this search. Trying to find a new, good food to rotate.

    I think the water/kidney issue is the one that came up before. Though my little guy only has the acid-reflux issue as far as we know--no known urinary tract issues.

    Right now I am leaning towards the Acana.

    One other thing I find interesting is that the Canidae says to feed him about 1 cup/day, while the Acana says 1.5-2.25 cups per day (with his weight being closer to the 2.25). I would have thought that being purer it would be less food--not more.
    Last edited by mattverde; 10-06-2009 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Can it be due to activity level? I tried looking on both the Canidae and Acana websites - Canidae seems to cater for only one activity level (with exercise), who knows what with exercise means.

    My rule of thumb of 1/4 cup 2x a day per pound of body weight - so for my 11 lb mini dachshund it's 1/2 cup a day, way less than the recommended feeding because I also give him grain free treats, apples, etc, and he is a bum most days. If your dog is more active, give him an extra 1/4 cup per day. So I'm guessing that if your dog is 25lbs, about 1.25 cups per day should be sufficient.

    At the end of the day, your dog is your best feeding guide. If he's losing weight, add food. If he's gaining cut back and do more walks! I weigh my dog every time I weigh myself over the weekend and I blame him for any weight gain I have so HE gets less food and I get more

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    Re: Too much protein?

    I wouldn't worry about high protein levels. If the very best diet is mostly raw meat, I really don't think you need to worry about grain-free kibble being too high in protein.

    I feed all my pets grain-free, mostly about 42% protein foods, and not a single one has ever had digestive issues. If anything, the high protein is easier for them to digest (although it can be a little rough at the very beginning when they are used to cheapo shelter food like science diet).

    Is there a specific reason you are worried about protein?

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Quote Originally Posted by dieterherzog View Post
    I think the high protein diet just doesn't work for some dogs mostly because it's too rich and can cause diarrhea and stomach upsets.

    A couple of things to keep in mind: your dog needs plenty of water - high protein diets are very draining on the kidneys. I don't know what the consensus is on this board about kidney problems, UTI and high protein diets but if your dog has any of these kind of diseases, then a high protein diet would not be recommended at all (and that's in my opinion although a lot of people seem to think it's cock and bull).

    Also, I think you may have been recommended to supplement high-protein/grain free kibble with some form of fiber i.e. canned pumpkin puree, sweet potatoes or coconut flakes. All of which I do for my dog, including some coconut oil and yogurt. You might get some runny stools on high-protein diet so the fiber just helps bulk things up.
    I kind of agree with the water issue, not sure if it's really true or not that they need more water but I mix half of Nia's food with water and let it soak in so that she gets a warmish wet meal (actually half meal).

    I think supplementing works well too. Nia gets yogurt, fruits and veggies almost everyday. It gives her more fiber plus something to lower the protein a little bit.

    Edit: I think the main reason many people(including me) are worried about too much protein is that people tell you that your pets will die of kidney/liver disease that they can't digest the protein and won't drink enough water, etc. etc. Since these issues are mentioned so often, it starts to become a real concern even if it really isn't an issue. Also high protein kibble is also quite recent so if there are problems they often haven't come up yet. You need to see 15-20 years of feeding high protein to see if your pets suffer any problems from them.

    By the way, does anyone know how long ago the oldest high protein grain free kibble came out?
    Last edited by Michiyo-Fir; 10-06-2009 at 02:47 PM.

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Max was on EVO in Novemeber 2004. First mention of it on K9Nutrition is Sepember of 2004.

    Sassy has kidney disease and I try really hard to get as much protein into her as possible. I can tell she feels better if she gets more protein, more fluids and less phosphorus. For kidney dogs phosphorus is the enemy not protein. Trick is, meat has lots of phosphorus!

    Max eats raw and his diet is usually 45-55% protein and the rest is fat and bone. He does just fine. I do think high protein kibble is hard on dogs who aren't good at drinking water. I think any kibble is hard on dogs who don't drink water.

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
    Max was on EVO in Novemeber 2004. First mention of it on K9Nutrition is Sepember of 2004.

    Sassy has kidney disease and I try really hard to get as much protein into her as possible. I can tell she feels better if she gets more protein, more fluids and less phosphorus. For kidney dogs phosphorus is the enemy not protein. Trick is, meat has lots of phosphorus!

    Max eats raw and his diet is usually 45-55% protein and the rest is fat and bone. He does just fine. I do think high protein kibble is hard on dogs who aren't good at drinking water. I think any kibble is hard on dogs who don't drink water.
    When did Max switch to raw?

    The thing is, raw is completely different from high protein kibble because it contains a lot of water already so according to some, it's not taxing on the kidneys because water contained in it makes the protein more digestible.

    I wonder what a dog fed on a high protein kibble would be like if they were fed for 10-15 years on high protein kibble?

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    Re: Too much protein?

    I completely understand all the concern about high-protein diet but I guess (and I may be wrong) the argument for it is that dogs and cats both have shorter and more acidic digestive tracts and hence grains and what-nots (particularly harder to digest ones like corn & wheat) causes things to ferment in the stomach leading to allergies. Meat products can be more readily digested and most good protein sources are meat (unless you want to feed your dog tofu and nuts which is a different story altogether).

    I know there is an argument that dogs are not strictly carnivores and that domestic dogs are different from wild dogs. My opinion is in the form of an analogy: Humans started out as mainly herbivores and only started eating meat due to natural selection and need. Doctors still advise against eating too much meat and instead recommend a mainly vege/grains diet.

    In the same way, because domestic dogs started out eating mainly meat, feeding them an excess of vege/grains is just plain wrong. And the evolution/domestication thing is just pure nonsense - it's taken humans longer to evolve into omnivores than it has for dogs to become permanently fed a diet full of grains and fillers.

    I think that grains in moderation - that being good whole grains like oats and brown rice are perfectly fine for dogs (none of the corn gluten meal nonsense), but high quality meat products are really important. I just choose to feed mine a grain-free diet because it works for him. Inevitably, grain-free foods often have higher protein content.

    So in short I don't think it matters the amount of protein you feed your dog, their bodies are probably more adaptable to all forms of crap than we know; that's why you have dogs living up to the age of 17/18 on Science Diet. As long as the food is made from high quality meat products and is free from chemicals and toxins, it should work fine for your dog.
    Last edited by dieterherzog; 10-06-2009 at 10:20 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Thanks everyone for the great posts. It really helps.
    I think a couple of you are right in that one topic (kidney issues) comes up and then it's easy to obsess about it.

    The argument of quality over quantity makes a lot of sense to me. Consider a grass-fed beef burger vs. McDonalds. They're both beef, but they're not the same nutritionally.

    I think I'll go for an Acana Grasslands or Orijin Red and see how he does. Then I can add in some pumpkin or the like if need be.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Quote Originally Posted by mattverde View Post
    Thanks everyone for the great posts. It really helps.
    I think a couple of you are right in that one topic (kidney issues) comes up and then it's easy to obsess about it.

    The argument of quality over quantity makes a lot of sense to me. Consider a grass-fed beef burger vs. McDonalds. They're both beef, but they're not the same nutritionally.

    I think I'll go for an Acana Grasslands or Orijin Red and see how he does. Then I can add in some pumpkin or the like if need be.

    Thanks again!
    Let me/us know how it goes - I'm quite curious if it works out. Thanks!

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Quote Originally Posted by StellaLucyDesi View Post
    TOTW has Pacific Stream, which is a fish only based food and no grains. Its protein is 25%. Acana, like CORE is in the 30's for protein (33-34?). They have a fish based food, too, called Acana Pacifica. This is what mine are eating right now. Another moderate protein grain-free that I like is FROMM 4-Star Surf & Turf (around the 30-34% mark), but it uses more protein than just fish.
    There was just another thread in this forum that the TOTW pacific stream was causing dogs to get sick. There was something about a recall so I'd look into this more before going to TOTW.

    I've been saying for YEARS that fats are more important in a dog's diet than proteins are and it appears that the theory has been proven.


    Nutrition for Working Dogs
    Richard Hill, MA, VetMB, PhD, DACVIM, MRCVS
    Waltham Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition


    What factors are important?
    1) Type of Exercise: Endurance vs. sprinting – most working dogs are endurance athletes
    2) Training: Slow increases in exercise and slow adjustment to new nutritional needs are best. Being a "weekend warrior" and suddenly increasing exercise and diet can result in injuries and digestive upset.


    What is unique about the exercising dog?
    1) Dogs do not get heart attacks and do not need to worry about increased fat
    2) Dogs burn fat twice as fast as people do
    3) All dogs’ muscle fibers burn fat whereas some muscle fibers in horses and people do not
    4) Stamina improves when dogs are fed a high fat diet (50 percent energy). This is the opposite of people who need increased carbohydrate for stamina


    Effect of diet on stamina in Beagles on a treadmill (Downey et al. 1989)

    *Follow this link to see the table. It wouldn't copy properly*
    http://www.ncfbc.com/Education/pdfs/...%20disease.pdf


    5) Dogs sprint faster when fed increased fat
    6) Dogs "tie up" less when fed high fat diets

    How much protein?
    7) Dogs require at least 30 percent energy as protein for endurance exercise to prevent anemia

    8) Dogs do not require more than 24 percent energy as protein for sprint exercise



    Types of pet foods:

    9) Dry foods are formed by an extruder and are mostly low fat (~25 percent energy as fat) because the extruder requires a low fat mixture. These are fine for dogs which are couch potatoes but do not contain enough fat for working dogs undertaking endurance exercise. More expensive dry diets have fat sprayed on after extrusion and tend to contain more fat (40 percent energy as fat). They are packaged in special grease proof bags and are greasy to the touch. These should provide the staple diet for a working dog. It is enough on its own if the dog is not working. It is not necessary to feed diets designed for large breed dogs.

    10) Canned foods contain 75 percent moisture and are more expensive but usually contain more fat and protein. The analysis on the bag cannot be compared with that on a dry food because the amount of water is greater in canned food. For a rough comparison, multiply the analysis on the canned food by four to compare with that of a dry diet. Working dogs which are normally fed dry food should be supplemented with canned


    food when they are working. Foods designed for growing dogs mostly contain increased protein and fat.

    11) Soft-moist and soft-dry (e.g. Kibbles and Bits) are intermediate but mostly low fat and are not suitable for working dogs




    Note that high fat is here defined as > 40 percent energy which is equivalent on the label to > 5 percent fat for a canned diet, > 13 percent fat in a semi-moist diet and > 18 percent fat in a dry diet. High protein is defined as > 30 percent energy which is equivalent on the label to > 9 percent in a high fat canned diet of > 33 percent in a high fat dry diet.


    Differences between pet foods
    Differences between pet foods are often small. Foods with difference names do not necessarily differ in composition. Some terms such as "premium" and "super-premium" have no definition and do not guarantee better performance. The major differences are:


    12) Dry vs. canned: Canned usually contain more fat and protein than dry diets.


    13) Generic vs. proprietary: Generic diets are usually made with poorer quality ingredients and are not necessarily tested on animals. Proprietary (popular & premium) brands made by national manufacturers are made with better ingredients and are usually tested on animals. "Generic" diets are inexpensive private label of a local or regional manufacturer. Pet food is well regulated but there is no policing of label claims within the state of Florida. It is therefore better to use a food which is sold nationally.
    14) Life stage and therapeutic diets: These sometimes have different compositions and should be used only with a veterinary recommendation.



    Supplements and treats

    15) Unbalance balanced diets. Do not feed supplements. Treats should comprise < 10 percent of the diet


    a. Too much meat can result in thin bones and fractures
    b. Too much liver can cause stiff neck and joints
    c. Too much calcium can cause joint problems
    16) Some treats and supplements may be beneficial
    a. Chews: may be beneficial for dental hygiene
    b. Antioxidants may be beneficial especially in dogs which are not properly trained or are eating a lot of extra fat. Some manufacturers are including increased antioxidants. If feeding a diet without increased antioxidants, 10-15 IU/kg vitamin E (as alphatocopheryl acetate) may be given daily of 100 IU/kg every week by mouth. Vitamin C may also be beneficial but the dose is less clear. It is probably best to give vitamin C immediately before exercise as it does not last long in the blood and 100-200 mg may be sufficient for the average medium to large sized dog.
    c. Glucosamine or green lipped mussel powder may help dogs with arthritis but should only be used in consultation with your veterinarian
    d. Fish oil may reduce inflammation of the feet in dogs working in snow. Some diets already contain fish oil and should not be supplemented.


    Human food

    17) Not complete and balanced so must have supplements such as vitamins and minerals added if more than ten percent of the diet. This is not recommended unless diet has been formulated to be balanced by a professional with nutritional experience.
    18) Uncooked meat represents a likely source of infection especially in young, pregnant, infirm animals or stressed animals such as working dogs.


    19) Bones, especially spiky bones such as the vertebrae found in chicken necks can get lodged in the esophagus. Too many bones can also cause constipation.



    Neutraceuticals and herbs

    Quality, consistency, absorption, potency and efficacy are uncertain. Toxicity and therapeutic index have not been established. Some may prove beneficial in the future but are not currently recommended.


    How much to feed?
    Adjust food intake to maintain optimum body weight and condition. Do not feed too much. The slim-line model is best.



    Ribs should be felt but not seen. There should be a waist visible from the side and from above. The recommendation on the back of the packet can provide a guide but there is much individual variation. There is some evidence that lean dogs perform better than heavier ones. Lean dogs also live longer and have fewer joint problems.

    Weigh your dog every two weeks and keep a record. Always use the same scale and do it before a meal but after urinating and defecating at the same time each day and not after exercise. Sudden changes in body weight are an indication of dehydration. Slow changes will give some indication of whether you are feeding too little or too much. Also keep a record of body condition score. Take a photo for comparison so you can see how things change over time. Your dog should have a body condition score of 5 on the 9 point Purina scale.

    A working dog such as a Collie working sheep needs almost twice as much food as a couch potato pet dog. A racing sled dog has the most extreme work out and may need twice as much again. When starting training, add ½ 16 oz can for each 8 oz cup of dry food normally fed. Over three days, reduce dry by half and double canned food. Then increase canned food as necessary to maintain weight, body condition and stamina.


    When and how often to feed?
    There is little data on this subject. The custom of racing sled dogs is probably the best one to follow: dogs race for 4-6 hours then take a rest for 2-4 hours during which a high fat and protein snack is fed. Dogs then race for an additional 4-6 hours before eating a full meal. Exercise markedly affects stomach and intestinal function. It is wise, therefore, not to exercise until 2-4 hours after a large meal.


    continued in next post. It was too long.
    Last edited by Dog_Shrink; 10-06-2009 at 10:20 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Too much protein?

    Water
    Dehydration must be avoided. Offer water continuously during exercise. Pet dogs on average need 50 ml/kg per day (2-5 pints per day for a 45-100 lb working dog). Working dogs may need 4 or 5 times that amount (1-3 gallons/day). Adding three level tablespoons of table sugar to a liter of water may help water absorption and will increase the recuperation of dogs at rest stops.


    Salt and other electrolytes
    There should be enough salt in the food. Salt may improve water absorption in dehydrated animals. A recipe for oral electrolyte replacement solutions is provided below which can be used if a dog becomes dehydrated but a recent study showed no benefit of such a solution over plain water in working dogs. Giving sodium bicarbonate (a "shake") before exercise also has been shown not to be beneficial in dogs.
    Oral rehydration recipe (level spoonfuls):
    To one liter of drinking water add:
    3 tablespoons of table sugar or 1 ½ tablespoons of glucose
    ½ teaspoon of table salt
    ¼ teaspoon of salt substute
    ½ teaspoon of baking soda
    Use immediately.


    Gastric Dilatation Volvulus: "Bloat"

    20) Predisposing factors suggested by epidemiology (Glickman et al.):
    a. Large size
    b. Large depth to width ration for body conformation
    c. Male gender
    d. Being underweight
    e. Eating only one meal per day
    f. A faster rate of eating
    g. Fearful or nervous temperament
    h. An event perceived by the owner as "stressful" to their dog
    21) Reduced risk:
    a. Table scraps or canned food included with a dry dog food
    b. Happy and easy going character
    22) Recommendation:
    a. Feed twice daily
    b. Add some canned food to dry diet
    c. Avoid stress associated with eating
    d. Do not allow to be underweight

    Recommendation:

    23) Feed a national brand pet food that says on the label that it has been tested using AAFCO approved feeding and is complete and balanced.


    24) Feed a high fat dry food for maintenance. Add a canned food during periods of work.
    25) Feed enough to keep dog lean.
    26) Do not feed supplements such as meat, bones, calcium or vitamins
    27) Give 100 IU/kg vitamin E once a week by mouth. Give 100 mg vitamin C one hour before exercise and repeat every 6-8 hours during exercise.
    28) Keep treats to a minimum (<10 percent of the diet). Most of the diet should be pet food.
    29) Give a dental chew once daily.
    30) Make sure access to water at least every half hour during exercise.
    31) Feed at least four hours before exercise and after exercise.
    32) Rest dogs after 4-6 hours work: give sugar water and a high protein high fat snack.


    Sooo just some FOOD for thought (no pun intended) Sorry this is sooo long but I feel VERY important info.

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