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Food Conditioning

Discussion in 'Conditioning & Training Library' started by solid1kennels, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. Your aim in feeding a bulldog is to provide a balanced diet that maintains them in good condition, and allows them to perform to their maximum potential in the field. To achieve this aim you need to know what nutrients are contained in the different ingredients that make up a bulldog’s ration. A nutrient is something a bulldog needs to help it to grow, stay alive and work, as nutrients provides bulldogs with energy.

    There are six nutrient groups that are needed in a bulldog’s daily ration:
    1.Water
    2.Protein (amino acids)
    3.Carbohydrates/Fibre
    4.Fat
    5.Vitamins
    6.Minerals

    These nutrients are all essential to maintain a bulldog in good health, but the specific requirements of each will vary depending on the bulldog’s size, metabolic rate, work load, and existing physical condition.

    Feeding the working bulldog.

    Besides the actual methods you will use in training your bulldog, this is probably the most contentious issue you will have to decide. There are as many variations in feeding methods as there are dogmen, and when one looks at the feeding methods used in the various country’s that have bulldog events, the difference is even greater.

    Food has to supply all of the bulldog’s energy requirements, as well as providing the building blocks for tissue repair, including the blood and all of the internal organs. To be able to make an informed decision as to how your feeding methods are affecting the performance of your bulldog, some of the functions of the various food components should be understood.


    Protein

    Protein provides the ingredients required for building, strengthening and repairing the body. However, it is not protein that is absorbed and utilized by the body, but the amino acids contained within the protein.
    There are 10 amino acids that are essential for good health, the bulldog’s body manufactures some amino acids but most are derived from the food.

    It should also be understood that different proteins contain a different range of amino acids. Meat is the main ingredient in the bulldogs diet that provides much of the required protein for good health, and may include, beef, chicken, lamb or mutton.

    The addition of large quantities of a single amino acid to the diet should be avoided, unless it is used as a treatment for a specific problem or illness.


    Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates not only supply the energy required for hunting but also assist with many body functions such as temperature regulation and food digestion. The carbohydrates can be divided into two main groups; they are complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates require processing by the body and provide for a sustained release of energy.
    Good sources of complex carbohydrates are grains, such as wheat, brown rice, and oats. Grains also include protein, starch, vitamins, minerals and some fatty acids, however for canines to utilize grain foods they need to be well cooked, well soaked and fed soft.

    Simple carbohydrates include sugar and starch and are easily utilized by the body and in particular sugars such as glucose and fructose provide for a short-term hit of energy. Unfortunately it is a really short hit, Due to what is called the rebound effect, if you supply the body with a substance in excess, it automatically reduces the amount available.

    This is particularly true of blood sugar; within 4 hours of ingesting glucose the blood sugar actually falls below normal. However if you could supply a hit of glucose about 1 hour prior to the show, it would be great, simply because it increases the amount of ATP available and therefore increasing early pace.



    Fat

    Fats are an essential part of the food requirement, like carbohydrates they provide energy and are involved in temperature regulation, but more importantly they contain and are required for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and the production of some essential hormones.

    Fats can be divided into two groups depending on their chemical composition, they are saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, the fatty acids best utilized by the canine are those of the saturated group. Good sources of essential fatty acids are; fresh raw beef, chicken, and fish oils such as cod liver oil. Unsaturated vegetable oils also contain some useable fatty acids but should be kept to a minimum, as excessive use in the diet may interfere with the absorption of some of the essential fatty acids from the saturated group.

    Fatty acids are basically long chains of carbon and hydrogen and are one of the major sources of energy for the body. Unfortunately for the energy in fat molecules to be released, it requires considerable amounts of oxygen, therefore when oxygen levels are low the body basically uses blood sugar for energy.



    Vitamins

    Vitamins are the triggering substances that influence a large range of biological functions and as such are an essential part of the working bulldog's diet.

    While the body produces some vitamins such as vitamin C and K, unless the diet included a range of vegetables and fruits, the addition of a good quality broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral mixture to the food is recommended.

    Vitamin A (Retinol): Essential for, eyes, skin, hair, reproduction, adrenal glands, and increases resistance to respiratory infections. Sources: raw meat, cod liver oil, eggs.

    Vitamin B: The vitamins in the B group act together and complement each other’s function.
    Stress and antibiotic treatment reduce the levels of the B group vitamins in general, while large doses of vitamin C reduce the function of B12.

    Sources: grain cereal, raw meat, green leafy vegetables, Turrella yeast and brewers yeast.
    Unfortunately brewers yeast has been found to cause skin allergies and gut problems in susceptible bulldogs. Some Veterinarians have also found that wheat has a similar effect on some bulldogs and recommend a wheat free diet to many of their clients that have dogs with digestive problems.

    B1 (Thiamine): Essential for effective protein and carbohydrate metabolism, tissue growth, nervous system, red blood cells, assists circulation.

    B2 (Riboflavin): Promotes growth of skin, hair and nails, essential for healthy eyes, red blood cells, and immune system.

    B3 (Niacin): Essential for effective protein and carbohydrate metabolism, nervous system, assists circulation.

    B5 (Pantothenic acid): Essential for the immune system and adrenal glands, stimulates production of cortisone and adrenal hormones, nervous system, reduces muscle cramping.

    B6 (Pyridoxine): Essential for the production of DNA, activates enzyme function, aids metabolism of fatty acids, nervous system, red blood cell production, and immune function.

    B9 (Folic acid): Essential for the production of red blood cells, DNA, and aids protein metabolism

    B12 (Cobalamin) (Cyanocobalamin injectable form) :Essential for the production and regeneration of red blood cells, activates enzyme function.

    Choline (Part of the B complex): Essential for fat metabolism, aids liver function and in transport and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

    Biotin (Part of the B complex): Assists with the metabolism of protein and fats, required for health of hair and nails.

    B15 (Pangamic acid) (Di-Isopropylamine Dichloroacetate injection): Involved in tissue and cell oxygenation, fat metabolism, and glandular system. In the injectable form it dilates the blood vessels, assists in cell oxygenation and waste product removal from muscle tissue.

    Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid): Canines produce vitamin C in the gut and generally do not require additional sources in the diet.
    Of some benefit as a urinary acidifier (oral) to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections, and in the treatment of spinal disc damage (by injection)

    Vitamin D (Calciferol): Essential for bone development and the absorption of calcium from the diet

    Vitamin E: Assists circulation, cell oxygenation, fertility.

    Vitamin K: Again produced by healthy canines in the gut, essential for the production of the prothrombin required for normal blood clotting

    Hypervitaminosis (excessive vitamins): Hypervitaminosis is more common than Hypovitaminosis (vitamin deficiency) due to the practice of excessive supplementation. More is certainly not better

    Excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted via the urine and place increased stress on the kidneys, while fat-soluble vitamins are stored and, therefore, are potentially toxic. Excess Vitamin A may result in bone and joint pain, brittle bones and dry skin.
    Excess Vitamin D may result in very dense bones, soft tissue calcification or bone joint calcification.

    Anti-vitamins: These basically stop the body using the specific vitamin and may therefore cause deficiencies.

    For example, avidin, found in the egg white of raw eggs may cause a biotin deficiency, and sulphur dioxide widely used as a preservative in knackery meat, destroys the thiamine in the meat and any thiamine supplementation. Sulphur dioxide has also been implicated in reducing the ability of Haemoglobin to carry oxygen throughout the body.

    Minerals and Trace elements
    The soil here is notoriously low in minerals and trace elements, as an end result the meat provided in a bulldog's diet is generally low in minerals and trace elements. Therefore it tends to be necessary to provide added minerals and trace elements to the diet.

    Calcium: Essential for bone growth, muscle function including the heart muscles, assists in the utilization of phosphorus.

    Phosphorus: Functions in conjunction with calcium for healthy bone growth, and helps maintain pH of blood.

    Chlorine: A trace element required for liver function, protein digestion, and electrolyte balance.

    Chromium: A trace element involved in utilization of sugars, cholesterol metabolism, and heart protein synthesis.

    Copper: A trace element required for the absorption of iron, protein metabolism, healthy skin, and connective tissue.

    Fluorine: A trace element required for strong bones and teeth.

    Iodine: A trace element essential for the production of thyroxin, the thyroid hormone.

    Iron: Essential for the production of haemoglobin, the oxygen carrier of the blood.

    Manganese: A trace element required for strong tendon and ligament development in growing pups, enzyme function, and the nervous system.

    Magnesium: A trace element required for nervous system, enzyme function, muscle tone, and blood pH balance.

    Molybdenum: A trace element involved in enzyme function.

    Potassium: Essential for normal muscle contraction, heart function, and maintaining fluid balance

    Selenium: A trace element required for liver regeneration, pancreatic and haemoglobin function.

    Silicon: A trace element required for strong bone growth, hair and teeth.

    Sodium: Essential for correct electrolyte balance and regulation of body fluids.

    Sulphur: A trace element required for skin, hair, and nails.

    Zinc: An extremely important trace element involved in many enzyme functions, the formation of DNA and body protein, essential for skin, coat and the immune system.

    As you can see from the above list there are a large number of vitamins, minerals and trace elements required for normal body function.

    To try and determine exactly what you should add to the food is virtually impossible, and somewhere along the line you will have to trust the experts, that is the people that produce the vitamin mixtures and additives, or the prepared “complete diet” preparations on the market. Only the long-term health of your bulldogs will determine if you have made the right decision.



    Factors affecting nutritional requirements
    It should be clearly understood that a bulldog is only capable of eating a certain quantity of food in any one meal, before the sheer volume of food ingested causes problems with the digestive system. This limit is reached at around 1.7 kg of food in any one meal. Therefore if your bulldog is not maintaining its condition, simply increasing the quantity of food provided, will not always solve the problem. It is essential to look at the components of the diet that supply the energy the bulldog needs to perform the work you have given it, and to adjust those components to better satisfy those energy requirements.

    The other essential factors to take into consideration are:
    When should the bulldog be fed its main meal, in order to receive the maximum amount of energy from that meal at the time it is needed most? What should the bulldog be fed to provide the maximum amount of energy at the time when it is needed most?

    Energy components in the diet
    Fat is the most efficient source producing 8.46 kcal of metabolisable energy per gram of fat. Both carbohydrate and protein produce 3.5 kcal of metabolisable energy per gram.

    Unfortunately if the diet is low in carbohydrate, and therefore much of the energy requirement of the bulldog has to be obtained mainly from protein, two problems occur:

    1.Insufficient protein may then be available for the production of muscle or muscle injury healing and/or a healthy coat.

    2.Utilising protein for energy instead of carbohydrates or fats causes an increase in the quantity of waste product produced, and this has to be cleared from the system by the kidneys.

    Special nutritional considerations
    working bulldogs.

    The energy needs of a working bulldog may increase by 20 to 100% depending on the weather (this of course is affected by the kennel facilities), the season, and how often the bulldog is worked. Hot or cold weather increases their energy needs in order to maintain body temperature, as energy is required for both heating and cooling the body.

    Repair or disease

    A bulldog suffering with a fever will have increased energy expenditure for cooling and an increased metabolic rate. Post trauma or surgery will increase the nutritional requirements for protein needed for healing.

    Non obvious considerations

    bulldogs with the same genetic background, of similar size, activity levels and environment may have a significant variation in the amount of food required to maintain optimum body weight, you as the conditioner are the best judge with regards to the quantity of food that the individual bulldog requires. If the dog has put on weight reduce the daily quantity fed, or if it requires more weight, increase the amount. Or in both instances varying the highest energy component of the food (fat content) may solve the problem, and still satisfy the needs of the bulldog in quantity of food and not feeling hungry.

    Growing pups

    In general, a growing puppy requires 2 to 3 times the energy intake of an adult with the same body weight. The protein to carbohydrate ratio is higher for puppies than adult bulldogs, and growing bulldogs should have a minimum of 25% of their total food intake consist of quality protein.

    Most bulldog pups reach their maximum structural size by 11 to 12 months of age, but will continue growing and developing muscle volume to 16 or even 18 months of age. It is essential that pups are provided with good quality protein and sufficient calcium during their growing phase to ensure that bones grow healthy and strong, muscles develop properly, and your pup will have the best chance to achieve its genetic potential.

    Brood es

    Prior to breeding, the should be at her optimum weight. Poor nutrition prior to mating may result in decreased conception, a less successful carrying of young to term, difficult whelping and decreased milk production. However the brood should not be obese, as this has also been associated with poor conception rates.

    During the first six weeks of pregnancy there is very little foetal growth, therefore the requirement for additional food is small. During the last three weeks of pregnancy there is a large foetal weight gain and a general guideline for es in whelp is to gradually increase the total food offered from the sixth week onwards so that at whelping her intake is approximately 30 to 50% more than at mating. If the energy intake does not satisfy this demand she will sacrifice her needs for her pups.

    es carrying large litters will need to be fed small meals more frequently, especially in the final stages of pregnancy, as they may be unable to cope with large volumes of food at one meal due to the reduced capacity of the stomach to expand.

    Always feed to the condition of the and avoid both over feeding and under feeding.

    During lactation

    The nutritional requirements of a increase dramatically during lactation, as the must produce adequate quantities of milk for her pups. The quantities of food required will increase as the pups increase in size and nutritional requirements. The type of food provided must contain sufficient quantities of highly digestible protein and fats to avoid her using her own reserves of fats and proteins.

    It is preferable to feed a “free choice” during lactation so she may consume as much food as she needs when she needs it. An average guide to the likely increase in food required is:

    Week 1 up to 150% of normal food requirements
    Week 2 up to 200% of normal food requirements
    Week 3 up to 300% of normal food requirements

    Adequate milk production depends mainly on the quantity and quality of the protein provided in the meals.
    In other words milk does not make milk but protein does.



    Good Luck...


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