Training The Tree Dog.

Training The Tree Dog - Nutrition

Speaking of Dog Food

Tree dog enthusiasts whom maximize their knowledge in regard to the science of dog nutrition can in fact use that information to maximize the health and performance of a tree dog. Summarized are the opinions of professionals who work in the veterinarian field, observations of experienced coonhound enthusiasts and a basic introduction to the science of organic chemistry and nutrition.

The information supports why nutrition plays an important role on the performance and health of a dog. It makes it possible for the tree dog enthusiast to better understand the differences in dog food and leads to making better decisions about what dog food to buy. It explains the different ways a dog can get energy from food and why that can lead to some differences of opinions among professionals and among enthusiasts regarding dog food. It points out false reports that lurk throughout the coonhound network such as protein is linked to kidney failure in a dog. It reveals what human food is bad for a dog. It explains what, how and when human food can safely be added to the dog food diet to maximize the performance of the dog. Better understanding this does allow the tree dog enthusiast to maximize the performance and health of a tree dog.


Two questions initiated this investigation. First, is it a good idea to give a dog glucosamine? Glucosamine is a chemical that is produced naturally by the body and is part of the bone and cartilage structure. To promote joint health it is widely recommended by professionals to give glucosamine to coonhounds at a dosage of 1500 milligrams a day for an adult. There is little research that tells if this is actually helpful or bad for a dog but it is still highly recommended. Some high quality dog foods have a small amount of glucosamine in them. Professionals advise that glucosamine is a blood thinner so a vet should be consulted in the case that the dog has recent issues like having had surgery, has bleeding disorders, if it is diabetic and it is advised not to be given to those with ear or throat infections. Human brands of glucosamine are recommended because they are government regulated while dog grades are not and the glucosamine supplements will also contain other helpful vitamins that are good for a dog.

Second, is it a good idea to feed a hard working adult dog a puppy food diet if it is not lactating, meaning producing milk for puppies? Some tree dog enthusiasts report that their hard working dog performs well on puppy food even if it is not lactating. Some veterinarians and professionals recommend “NOT” feeding puppy food to an adult coonhound that is not lactating. Instead they recommend a high quality performance food for a hard working dog.

The nutrition needs of a dog is higher when it is growing, when it experience stress such as hard work loads, when it is in a cold environment and when it is lactating. Puppy food and performance food is designed to meet these higher nutrition needs.

It is stated that there are government regulated nutrition requirement standards for making dog food. Puppy food is required to have higher phosphorous levels and calcium levels than maintenance type adult food. For this reason there is the potential that it may lead to medical issues like stones or skin and coat problems in an adult dog that is not lactating. There are other arguments and studies referencing the suggestion that hard working greyhounds require and benefit from the higher phosphorous and calcium levels found in puppy food. It is professionally recommended to consult a veterinarian to determine the phosphorous and calcium requirements of hard working adult coonhounds on an individual basis before feeding them puppy food because it should not be assumed that the study on greyhounds applies to coonhounds.

Feeding puppy food to puppies and lactating mothers is widely recommended by the professionals and literature included in the investigation. More specifically large breed brands of puppy food are NOT widely recommended for lactating females or coonhound puppies. Professionals agree that large breed adult dog food does not meet the nutrition requirements of a healthy coonhound, especially not a hard working coonhound. Large breed foods are designed with lower nutrition values to slow growth on purpose for large breeds that suffer from a growth related disease or have a family history of growth related disease.

In general it is agreed by professionals and working dog enthusiasts that dog’s can have different nutrition needs. The differences can be due to reasons such as genetic chemistry, age, growth rates, health issues and activity levels. This fact explains why large selections of food recipes are offered by any one manufacturer such as adult, weight control, large breed and puppy food. It becomes the coonhound enthusiast’s responsibility to seek out the proper diet for each dog.

Standard Nutrition Needs

The Association of American Feed Control Officials, AAFCO, set guidelines for the purpose of controlling the quality and safety of dog food. They have two minimum standards for nutrition in dog food, one is aimed at the maintenance life stage of a dog, adult dog food and the other is aimed at the growth life stage of a dog, puppy food including lactating females.

The nutrition claims on dog food packages such as “100% complete and balanced nutrition” are state and federal agency regulated. The claim should be justified by an additional statement like it is formulated to meet AAFCO nutritional needs of a dog. It is better if the bag justifies the claim by stating it has been chemically tested and meets AAFCO standards or that it meets AAFCO feeding trial tests. The AAFCO standards are available online.


Among professionals and enthusiasts there are different opinions on what the best brand of dog food is to feed a coonhound. Despite the different opinions it is widely agreed a high quality top of the line food is the best. It is widely recognized that the quality which goes into making dog food is a major factor used by professionals to judge dog food. It is pointed out that the term quality of a dog food refers to many aspects of the food. Rather or not and if so how its nutritional value has been justified based on testing and AAFCO standards. The amount of quality assurance effort used to make sure it is free of mold and contamination. The amount of quality assurance effort made to see that it is processed and cooked properly. The quality of the ingredients and the extent of research used to formulate the food. The amount of dog food that has to be fed to a dog to keep it alive and healthy, meaning how digestible it is.

Take grain such as corn as an example of the quality of ingredients. Different hybrids of a grain have different nutrition values. Grain that is hulled removes fiber from the grain. A large amount of fiber is not beneficial to a dog. Grain that is finely crushed and cooked is more beneficial to a dog. Over cooking can also be an issue. Protein and antioxidant vitamins in the grain can be destroyed by over cooking.

Many coonhound enthusiasts express skepticism that veterinarians may recommend higher priced dog foods with prejudice related to endorsement agreements rather than for reasons of quality. The coonhound enthusiast may choose to buy dog food based on any combination of trials and errors, the opinions of other enthusiasts, the opinions of professionals and dog food manufacturers or to include the knowledge of the science of organic chemistry and nutrition.

The Science of Organic Chemistry and Nutrition

It is in fact true that a dog like a human is what it eats. The science of organic chemistry and nutrition explains what the nutrients are in dog food and how they allow a dog to live, grow, move and reproduce.

All Living organisms like a dog and humans included are made of chemicals. The same families of household chemicals found in the average kitchen make a human and a dog what they are. Chemicals like water, ammonia, sugar, vegetable oil and glue.

Dogs and Humans are made of chemicals that are similar to the ones found in a kitchen.

Veterinarians and basic scientific literature reveal that skin is the largest organ a dog and a human has and that the skin and coat of a dog is one of the most visible references for determining how nutritious dog food is. If the skin and coat is suffering from nutrition meaning food related issues it is a good sign that the internal organs may be suffering as well. Look at the skin on your own hands to begin illustrating the science of chemistry and nutrition. With the naked eye wrinkles and fingerprints are observed. Using an EM microscope to get a closer look reveals skin cells are layered together creating the wrinkled appearance of the skin.

With the naked eye wrinkles and fingerprints of the skin on a pair of hands can be seen. Pictured to the right is a microscope called an EM. It can be used to clearly see things that are even smaller than fruit flies and skin cells. Below the picture of a pair of hands is a skin cell seen with the EM. Skin cells are layered on each other and that layered texture gives the skin its own finger print texture.

It is possible to look even closer to see inside a skin cell revealing different types of chain looking chemicals that are mostly protein molecules. The power can be turned up even higher to see atoms. Atoms are what chemicals like protein molecules are made of. Different mixtures of different atoms are chained together to form the different chemical molecules. There are lots of different types of protein molecules and other families of molecules in a skin cell.

Using an EM to take a closer look at the skin cell pictured to the left makes it possible to see the stringy chain looking chemical molecules called protein in the center picture. Protein molecules create the structure of the cell. Looking even closer with an EM makes it possible to see atoms such as the ones pictured on the far right. Atoms are chained together to make a molecules like protein.

Atoms are the smallest form of chemicals and matter that make materials different in the way aluminum metal is different from pencil lead. Among their differences aluminum metal used to make pop cans can be bent without breaking it and graphite which is used to make pencil lead cannot. Atoms have knick names. As an example “C” is short for Carbon which is the atom that graphite or pencil lead is made of and “Al” is short for aluminum, obviously the atom aluminum pop cans are made of. The primary ingredient that all living things are made of is the Carbon atom “C”. Other important atoms found in living cells are “H” short for Hydrogen, “O” short for Oxygen and “N” short Nitrogen.

Insulin is made in the pancreas and is a type of protein molecule made of different atoms such as Carbon, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Insulin is referred to as a hormone. When dog food which is a source of sugar is eaten the sugar enters the blood stream triggering the release of insulin from the pancreas. The insulin travels through the body and attaches to cells such as skin cells allowing the cells to absorb the sugar. The sugar is then used to energize the cells.

Chemical Reactions and Metabolism:

The chemical molecules such as proteins can break into smaller molecules or two molecules can be chained together. Individual atoms can come off a molecule or be added to a molecule as well. This changes the characteristics of the molecules. This process of change is called chemical reaction. As an example the chemical reaction of a burning match helps to visualize what a chemical reaction looks like.

Burning a match is a chemical reaction called oxidation.

At all times there are many different chemical reactions taking place inside a living organism. The food chemicals in the body of a dog burn like a match and react in many other ways. Some of the chemicals are used up or burned up to help keep the dog warm and give it energy to move and hunt. Some are used to produce new chemicals to grow new cells like muscle and skin and fat cells. Others are used to allow it see with its eyes, smell with its nose and allow it to reproduce. Old tissue like skin cells that are made of chemicals die. When the chemicals are used up as energy, flaked skin, shed hair, urine and stool they have to be replaced with new chemicals. This chemical reaction process of breaking down the food chemicals and using them to build new chemicals, cells and produce energy is referred to as metabolism. Digestion is the first stage of metabolism where food chemicals are first broken down.


As a puppy milk is the first form of food a dog eats. If the water is removed from the milk that a lactating female dog produces for her puppies it is about 40% fat, 46% protein, and 13% carbohydrate in the form of milk sugar called lactose. These three components are different families of chemical molecules. As has been seen, protein is used primarily to build body parts like skin cells and muscles. Carbohydrates and fat play a more major role in energizing the dog.

It is observed that a wild adult canine often feed on plant eating herbivore animals. That provides the adult dog with a diet similar to milk. It is observed that the dog often eats the stomach contents of the herbivores first. Herbivores are plant eaters so its stomach contains vegetation. For example if the stomach consists of corn it is about 63% carbohydrates, 23% fat and 14% protein. Plant material in the stomach of the herbivore is a good source of nutrients that are already partially digested. The dog can finish converting it to energy quickly. If the correct forms of carbohydrate are available the body of the dog uses it for energy before protein.

In this case protein from grain and meat is more difficult to convert to energy and serves the primary purpose of building new tissue in the dog. Fat is also very easy to digest and is used as a source of energy for endurance types of activities like long distance jogging and hunting.

Because the body of a dog can efficiently utilize plant nutrients and because the dog benefits by doing so is at least part of why most professionals agree a dog is not a true carnivore or strictly a meat eater.

That fact conflicts with categorizing a dog as a carnivore based on how necessary carbohydrates are for energy production and a physical characteristic standpoint. There is no documented minimum carbohydrate requirement for an adult dog. The body of a dog can convert protein into glucose, a simple carbohydrate to be used as energy and the dog also burns fat turning it into energy. A dog can be classified as a carnivore based on physical features such as having a short digestive system, large stomach with low pH, strong acid content and jaw structure. The fact remains eating only meat or in other words protein for energy is not the most effective diet for maximizing the performance of a dog.

Based on these conflicting aspects that point out just how versatile the digestive system of a dog is begins to make it clear why there are differences of opinion about dog nutrition. Nutrients are the basic chemicals in dog food that support the life of the dog such as water, protein, carbohydrates, fat, minerals and vitamins.


Fresh drinking water is the most vital nutrient in the dog because it is the chemical that is processed the quickest and discharged the fastest through the dog. Water molecules look similar to:

A water molecule is made of two hydrogen atoms chained to an oxygen atom.

In the case of water two hydrogen atoms (H) are attached to one oxygen atom (O). Water is inside living cells and between the cells that make the body of a dog. Among some of the purposes water serves is that it is a transport system for chemicals and cells. For example blood cells suspend in water in order to move through the veins. Water traveling through the body cools the dog by carrying heat out of the body.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Vitamins and minerals belong to many different chemical families. There are many essential vitamins and minerals the body has to consume because they cannot be manufactured using other food chemicals. The ingredients on the back of a dog food bag are listed beginning with the primary ingredients first. If Chicken is listed first then chicken is the primary ingredient. If corn is listed first then it is the primary ingredient. Vitamins and minerals are down toward the bottom of the list and are a much smaller portion of the dog food but that does not make them any less important.

Look at calcium as an example of how important minerals are in dog food. Calcium speaks highly for itself. It is the most abundant mineral in the body of a dog and a human and is a primary chemical used to make bone. It is well known for being a vital nutrient.

As discussed, some nutrients are oxidized or burned by the oxygen that the lungs collect. There are some negative effects to the presence of oxygen in the body. Some chemicals in cells and tissue can also be oxidized causing damage to the organs. Some vitamins are called antioxidants. They work together with fat to prevent these undesirable chemical reactions. This is one example of the important role vitamins play in nutrition.

Vitamins and minerals play many important roles despite the fact that they are at the bottom of the dog food ingredients list. It is important that these nutrients are balanced in dog food at the correct quantities and ratios or they may disrupt each other during the chemical processes going on in the body. It is equally important that safe versions of vitamins are used to make dog food. For example there are manmade versions of vitamins such as vitamin K3 that can have a very negative effect on the health of a dog. It is advised to research this along with other sources of nutrients that are bad for dogs to be sure the dog eats a healthy diet.

Amino Acids:

Amino acid is a family of carbon chain chemical molecules and while there are numerous types of amino acid they all resemble this:

Amino acid molecules are the building blocks that make larger protein molecules.

They are made of Carbon atoms, Hydrogen atom, Oxygen atoms and Nitrogen atoms.

The Nitrogen atom “N” gives this family of molecules a unique characteristic. Essential chemicals are those that the body can’t produce for itself from other chemicals in food. They have to be fed to the dog. A dog needs 10 essential amino acids. Humans need 8. This is one difference between dog nutrition and human nutrition. Two or more amino acids can attach to each other to form longer and more complex molecules called proteins.


Protein is what body muscles and body tissue is made of. Protein in dog food goes through chemical reactions in the dog called digestion breaking it down into smaller proteins, amino acids and nitrogen. More chemical reactions in the body put the amino acids back together to build new muscle and tissues completing the metabolism process. The nitrogen is also used to make other types of nitrogen containing chemicals the dog needs.

Protein is also what enzymes are made of. Enzymes are like a chemical bank. They store Hydrogen “H” that they get from one chemical and give it to another chemical. This trade makes chemical reactions happen. One of the jobs an enzyme does is make the chemical reactions take place for digesting food. There are lots of different proteins that serve lots of other purposes.

Protein from the food is digested in the stomach and small intestine. Excess protein in the diet beyond that which is required can also be converted to fat. Protein can be used for energy by the dog but that purpose is usually very small compared to the other rolls it plays. It is only burned for energy if there is not enough fat and carbohydrate in the dog food diet. Protein is more difficult to turn into energy than fat or the carbohydrates, non resistant starch and sugar.

There are different reasons why a dog may not get enough protein in its diet. The dog food may not contain enough protein. There may be too little carbohydrate and fat meaning not enough grain or vegetation in the diet so too much protein has to be used for energy instead of building muscle and body tissue. The quality of the protein in the dog food may not be good enough to yield the proper balance of amino acids or it may be from a source that is too difficult to digest such as grain that is not hulled, ground and cooked enough.

Protein deficiency may cause the dog to lose weight because its bones and muscles get smaller and weaker and its coat can get dull looking. It can cause other problems too in regard to reproduction and immunity to disease. This is a good example that supports the importance of balance and quality of dog food.

Eggs, milk and meat contain a full range of the essential amino acids the dog needs. From the standpoint of protein eggs have the highest dietary rating 100% digestible because they have the best proportions of the amino acids the dog needs and are so easily digested. Milk and meat are almost equal to eggs with a dietary rating around 95%. Note that raw egg whites contain enzymes that are harmful to a dog because they hold onto biotin making it useless. Biotin is a vitamin the dog needs. Also note that a lot of adult dogs loose at least some of the enzyme that is required to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. Limit the amount of milk you give an adult dog and monitor any negative side effects it has on the dog such as giving the dog runny stool and gas. Be sure to research the foods that are bad for dogs before feeding table scraps to your dog. There are many more to be aware of. There are other disadvantages to feeding table scraps to dogs that should be considered such as it can disrupt the balance of the nutrients in the diet. Too much of one nutrient may cause another to not be used properly by the dog.

Because whole grains like corn are more difficult to digest and no one grain has all the essential amino acids a dog needs their dietary rating is down around the 60%. Two or more grains together can rate higher if they are hulled, ground and cooked and because in combination they can provide all the essential amino acids.

The subject of protein provides an excellent example of why it is important to seek out information about the science of nutrition from qualified and professional sources. For a number of years inaccurate reports floated around the tree dog enthusiast network that there was a relationship between high protein dog food diets and kidney disease. The research that lead to this assumption was performed on rats and it has since been determined it is not true for healthy dogs.


The family of chemicals called Carbohydrate molecules are long carbon chains that are hydrated. Meaning they have water H-O-H attached to them. Plant sources are the primary source of the carbohydrates.

All carbohydrates resemble this typical glucose sugar molecule:

Some nutrients like starch and protein from dog food is digested and turned into glucose like this which the body then burns for energy.

Glucose is one of the simplest forms of carbohydrate called a sugar. Two types of sugars can combine to make a larger molecule like lactose or milk sugar. Lactose in milk is very easy for puppies to digest. Other forms of sugar and starch are also easy for an adult dog to digest if the plant source of the nutrient such as grain has been hulled, ground and cooked or is partially digested in the stomach of plant eating animals. The fact that plant sources like whole grain rate relatively low on the scale of being digestible should not be confused with the fact that they can rate high for providing the dog with carbohydrates that can be digested easily for energy.

Two or more glucose sugar molecules can be chained together to make other larger carbohydrate molecules. Cellulose and starch are two forms of these larger carbohydrates that consist of many glucose molecules being chained together. Cellulose or fiber is what the support structure of plants is made of like wood that a house is built with. Fiber is not easily digested by dogs. In relatively small quantities some of fiber does benefit the dog by helping the dog digest food better. They do this more by lubricating the digestive tract not because of a chemical reaction process. The same process for making wine called fermenting is used in the stomach of a dog. That means bacteria in the digestive system breaks down fiber. The dog can ferment a relatively small amount of some fiber. The digestive system of a plant eating animals is more complex and their digestive system has a much greater ability to ferment cellulose. Too much fiber in the diet of a dog can produce excessive amounts of stool and make the stool runny or soft as well as give the dog gas and an upset its stomach.

The primary purpose carbohydrates serve in dog food is to provide the dog with energy. Coonhounds are just like wild canines and benefit from the energy that carbohydrates provide. This is true despite the fact there is no known essential carbohydrate that the dog requires. Meaning the body can turn protein into the carbohydrate called glucose. Glucose is used by the dog to produce energy. The body burns the glucose like a burning match turning it into carbon dioxide that the lungs exhale, water, heat and the energy it needs to move.

Starch is the chemical in plant parts that come from food sources of vegetation like potatoes, corn and other grains. In general canines can digest starch relatively well. This is especially true when the source such as corn has been hulled, ground and cooked. Some forms of starch called resistant starch are more difficult to digest and serve the dog in a manner similar to fiber. It is easier to see now that one aspect of the quality of grain and other plant sources used to make dog food depends on the amount of resistant starch, fiber and protein that is in it. Different plant sources such as corn and rice and even different strains of the same grain vary in the content of these nutrients. Even the location where the source is grown can change the nutrient content. Hulling the grains removes fiber from the grain. These variables help determine the quality of the grain.

Fast and slow burning carbohydrates means that some carbohydrates like simple sugar are easier to digest than the longer molecule chains of starch. They enter the blood stream more quickly than starch, hi or low glycemic load food sources respectively. High glycemic load food sources can cause the blood sugar to rise and fall very quickly. This may cause the experience of hunger come more quickly. Low glycemic food sources will make the blood sugar more stable. The plant source determines the amount and type of fast and slow burning carbohydrates that are introduced to the food. Balancing the ingredients or plant sources to ensure the short and long term energy needs of the dog are maximized is another dog food quality variable.


Fatty Acids are also complex carbon chains like amino acids and carbohydrates but they do not contain the nitrogen atom N in the way amino acids do. And they are not hydrated with water H-O-H the way carbohydrates are. Fatty acid molecules all resemble the typical structure:

Fatty acids are made of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms that are chained together.

Fat and oil is a second primary energy sources in dog food. Fat is the most potent source of energy. Fat can provide about 2 ½ times more energy to the dog as either a carbohydrate or a protein. The chemical family name is Fatty Acids. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that needs to be provided by dog food. Linoleic acid contributes to healthy skin coats so the condition of the coat can reveal if the diet is lacking enough linoleic acid.

Besides being an energy source for dogs, fat helps the dog use some of the vitamins it needs and it plays a part in helping form healthy strong cells like skin and muscle cells.

Nucleotides, Nucleic Acids, DNA, RNA and ATP

The members in these families of chemical molecules are not necessarily essential nutrients in the dog food and do not necessarily require any attention when studying nutrition. They are however worth mentioning here. DNA, Deoxyribonucleic acids are large complex molecules containing the blue prints for reproducing other chemicals that the dog needs to grow. RNA is a second nucleic acid molecule that works like a carpenter to fabricate the new chemicals using the DNA blue print as a guide. DNA is the chemical we strive to manipulate with regard to our selective breeding programs aimed at producing the ultimate physical and mental traits in our dogs.

RNA finds the amino acids from the nutrients the dog eats which are required according to the DNA blue print and puts them together to build new proteins and body parts like muscle. Since DNA and RNA have to find the appropriate nutrients like amino acids to build new muscle it becomes a little more obvious why good nutrition gives genetics a better chance to happen.

Nucleotides are similar in ways to amino acids. They contain Nitrogen and they are the smaller building blocks used to make Nucleic Acids just as amino acids are the smaller building blocks used to build larger protein molecules. There are numerous nucleotides and also nucleic acids just like there are numerous amino acids and proteins.

The molecule called ATP is a nucleotide and it is produced by the cells in the body by using nutrients like carbohydrates to store energy the dog needs. Breaking the phosphate bond from the ATP releases the energy the dog needs to move muscles enabling it to run and tree.

Energy Energy that the dog obtains from nutrients to do things like move its muscles is obtained in different ways. The overall process of obtaining energy from nutrients is called cellular respiration. If there is enough oxygen in the body nutrients are burned for energy by what is called an aerobic chemical reaction process. When there is not enough oxygen the lungs and heart start working hard to produce more. During that time what is called glycogen pathways open in order to burn glucose or carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen by a chemical reaction process said to be an anaerobic process.

When a dog first starts an endurance activity like hunting, oxygen is used up temporarily and the anaerobic process kicks in while the lungs and heart start working harder to produce more oxygen. Assuming the dog hunts at a moderate speed and once there has been enough time for the heart and lungs to step up and meet the new oxygen demand the aerobic process starts again. When a final sprint at the end of the race such as a hard tree job lowers the amount of oxygen again then the anaerobic process kicks back in. Only carbohydrates are burned by the anaerobic process for sprint types of activities. Fat carbohydrates and protein can be burned by the aerobic process. When the hunting activity is at a moderate endurance speed and there is sufficient oxygen the body burns fat efficiently. Fat is stored in much greater quantities and yields much larger amounts of energy by weight. At an endurance pace the dog can continue to hunt for days. How long the sprint pace of exercise can last is limited to minutes rather than days because only carbohydrates can be burned by the anaerobic process. The glycogen pathways that open to use glucose for energy during the anaerobic sprint activity remain open for 30 minutes even after the activity slows back down.

For these reasons the energy and performance of a dog can be maximized by feeding it small amounts of human food. The fat storage can be boosted by feeding the dog about one table spoon of fat or vegetable oil a day for 2 or three days before hunting it. When the dog takes brakes during the hunting session it can be fed small amounts of human foods such as ¼ cup of bread soaked with cream per serving which supply sugar and non resistant starch that digest quickly and easily. This helps to replenish glucose reserves quickly. This is especially helpful if done within the 30 minute time span after the sprint activity takes place while the glycogen pathways are open.

The heat increment also referenced to as thermo genesis refers to energy produced by metabolism in the form of heat that maintains the body temperature as opposed to the form of energy that fuels the fire so to say, driving the chemical reactions that allow the dog to move and grow. The heat increment of energy is higher for nutrients that are more difficult to digest. Fiber and resistant starch rates high in heat production because it is a more difficult nutrient to digest. Protein rates lower but it is more difficult to digest than sugar and non resistant starches and it has a higher heat increment than they do. Heat stress causes the dog to perform in a poor manner and causes health issues such as reductions in the amount of milk a lactating female produces. Some signs of heat stress are excess panting and slobbering.


Tree dog enthusiasts whom maximize their knowledge in regard to the science of dog nutrition can in fact use that information to maximize the health and performance of a tree dog.

It outlines the nutrition requirement for a dog at the different stages of its life. It explains how feeding the dog the wrong balance of nutrients can cause health problems for the dog. This includes examples like feeding a puppy an adult dog food, feeding the dog human food that may disrupt the nutritional balance of dog food or may even be toxic to the dog. It makes it clear that nutrition is an important factor in regard to the performance of a dog. It describes how the body of the dog uses nutrients to grow and energize itself. It outlines cellular respiration processes for producing and storing energy. Knowing when and how the body of the dog produces and stores energy makes it possible to maximize the process by providing the dog with small amounts of supplement, meaning extra fat the day before exercising and simple carbohydrates while it is exercising.

The science of nutrition may not tell the tree dog enthusiast what the best dog food is to buy but it does help narrow the search down to the correct growth stage, activity level and breed specific category of dog food. It provides a clear indication of what to look for when trying different food. How to read the signs of the nutritional value of food based on the appearance of the stool, skin and coat, energy level as well as body temperature changes and the amount of food a dog has to eat to stay healthy when trialing different dog food. It explains things like some coonhound enthusiasts have observed that it can sometimes cost less to feed a dog more expensive, higher quality dog food because the dog does not need to eat nearly as much of it to stay healthy and energized.

It explains that the digestive system of a dog is versatile and allows room for different opinions about dog nutrition among professionals and tree dog enthusiasts. Hearing the conflicting opinions can raise doubts about how important nutrition is if it is not understood why there are different opinions. Understanding this removes doubt about the importance of nutrition. It offers the tree dog enthusiast the confidence and knowledge to further maximize the performance of the hard working tree dog.

References: The Merck Veterinary Manual - Copyright © 2008; Merck & Co., Inc. Whitehouse Station NJ, USA All rights
Published in educational partnership with Merial Ltd.

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