The effects of nutrition on the performance of working dogs

A controlled trial in farm dogs suggested that a falling haematocrit during heavy work may be preventable through nutrition (Cave, 2014). However, there is a lack of objective data to make firm dietary recommendations beyond simply avoiding deficiency. In addition, there is a lack of data to define what a healthy, let alone ideal body condition for working farm dogs is.

This study aims to address this by assessing the effect of improved nutrition on body condition score and body weight of working dogs in New Zealand. A body composition assessment technique will also be validated across a range of condition scores.

The study also aims to assess the benefit of improved nutrition on the haematology profile, and to determine the difference in the incidence of injuries. The difference in the key outcome variables of body composition, body weight, haematology, and injury rates, will be compared between groups on the premium and control diets

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