Feeding the Beagle

These nutrition tips cover all canine needs, as well as the Beagle's unparalleled love of food.

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Dr. Broderick advises owners and breeders to pay close attention to the labels on their pets food. I don't make anything for pets that I wouldn't eat myself, but many companies use the label pet food to their advantage, because they know people would never eat or taste it. They know if they make it look like chunks of cheese or marbled meat, American consumers will never try it themselves to know the difference. If you don't know what the sources are for the ingredients in the food you're feeding, Dr. Broderick suggests you call the pet food company and ask.

According to another member of the Iams study, Gregory Reinhart, Ph.D.  (nutritional biochemistry), director of strategic research at Iams, dietary protein in many commercial dog foods is supplied through a combination of animal and plant sources, but high-quality animal-source proteins offer superior digestibility, amino acid balances and palatability.

Sources of animal protein in dog food often include chicken, chicken by-products, chicken meal, beef, dried eggs, fish meal, meat and bone meal, meat by-products, meat meal, and lamb and lamb meal. Relatively unprocessed meat typically offers a greater selection of nutrients in a more digestible form. Dr. Reinhart states that the term meat typically represents the striated muscle of pork, beef, sheep or horse, whereas meat by-products may include secondary carcass components that vary greatly in their nutritional value.

Fat Equals Energy
Like protein, fats may be a bigger friend than foe to the Beagle. In a separate study regarding fat metabolism, Dr. Carey says Beagles, which were not exercised at all, were compared with two other groups. One group included Beagles given regular exercise, the third control group included Alaskan sled dogs, which are considered among the top athletic dogs. All were fed different levels of fat. Contrary to how the human body works, the couch potato dogs actually increased their oxygen-burning capabilities to the same level as the highly athletic dogs when fed increased amounts of fat. Why? Dogs burn fat for everyday energy. When exercising, dogs burn fat, while humans burn carbohydrates, Dr. Carey explains. Well-conditioned dogs become aerobic in five to seven minutes of exercise and begin burning fat for energy.

How can this help your Beagle? Simply put, your dog will stay in better condition to show or work if kept on a diet with higher amounts of fat, according to Dr. Carey. There is a lot of potential for obesity, but obesity is the result of the intake not exceeding the expenditure. Beagles are good conservers of energy. If you continue to feed them [in the off season] the same amounts as when their bodies were active, they'll store it. What some handlers do in the off season is feed a lower-fat diet to keep the dogs weight stabilized. We've found that's not necessarily the thing you want to do because it takes six to eight weeks to get their oxygen burning capabilities back up again. You'd be better off feeding a smaller amount of the higher-fat food, he maintains.

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Janet   Bethlehem, PA

5/5/2012 5:06:31 AM

good article, thank you

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