Wednesday, April 6, 2011


In the early 1970's the government’s National Research Council formed a subcommittee to study the nutritional requirements of dogs. The President at that time was L. B. Johnson. It was at his specific request that this subcommittee was formed and research documentation compiled. Also noteworthy is the fact that the President and his wife Ladybird Johnson owned and raised Beagles. That is why most of the research for the first report by this newly formed subcommittee was related to nutritional requirements of the Beagle.

The subcommittee published their report Minimum Nutrient Requirements of Dogs for Growth and Maintenance in 1974. Later in 1980 and again in 1985 their expanded revisions showed tests on more nutrients and used different breeds. In the 1985 revision many multi-breed research studies cited led the committee to state “requirement of the dog can also vary depending on the methods and criteria used in their derivation.” Or lay terms, different breeds of dogs can have different nutrition requirements due to where and how a specific breed developed.

In the National Research Council's 1985 report there are many hundred of research studies cited from schools of veterinary medicine, dog food companies, and independent laboratories. Each of these studies pertain to a single nutrient, i.e. vitamin A, calcium, copper, etc. With each research study, when two or more breeds were used, it also showed their nutritional differences. Very noteworthy is the fact that in the entire
1985 report not one research study cited showed two breeds to have the same nutritional requirements for any one nutrient.

Samples of specific research confirming breed specific nutritional differences are found throughout the NRC's 1985 revised Nutrient Requirements of Dogs:

Specific test that show different breeds of dogs all have different nutritional needs can be seen in tests cited on the following pages: Page 3: “These data illustrate the marked effect on energy requirements imposed by the environment and the additional influence of differences in breed and behavior.” : Estimates of the protein requirement of the dog can also vary depending on the methods and criteria used in their derivation. Blazaet al. (1982) studied the sulfur amino acid requirements of growing Labrador and Beagle dogs in three experiments... These studies indicated that the dogs breed may influence methionine requirements. since Labradors but not Beagles responded to increasing the methionine content from O.36 to 0.71 percent by increased weight gains and food intakes.  In the section on Calcium.

Dogs of some types and breeds may perform satisfactorily on lower intakes of these minerals.’... ‘It is recognized that there are many breeds of dogs, that they are maintained under a wide range of environments, and are being. Tinedt et al. (1979) reported a copper toxicosis in Bedlington Terriers fed commercial dog diets containing 5 to 10 mg. copper per kilogram of diet. Ludwig et al. (1980) studied this disease in considerable detail and concluded that it is unique to this breed of dog and is caused by a genetic abnormality. The copper requirements for the majority of dog breeds appears to be quite low.’ Sanecki et al.

Dog In 1982 fed English Pointer pups a corn-soy based zinc deficient diet and reported observing within 5 weeks lesions of... These lesions were reversible by adding 200 mg. zinc carbonate per kilogram to the diet, with complete remission of the external lesions in 6 weeks’.... ‘Fisher (1977) fed more than 800 Beagles 32 mg./kg zinc of diet (calcium concentration not noted) and did not report any clinical signs of zinc deficiency.  Kozelka et a]. (1933) found that Collie puppies were protected from rickets by a ratio 1.3 IU vitamin D (irradiated ergosterol) per kilogram of body weight per day. Amoldand Elvehiem (1939) found calcification to be normal in a growing Airedale puppy receiving a 1.39 percent calcium and a 1.05 percent phosphorus (Ca/P= 1.32:1) diet and l32 lU or less of vitamin D per kilogram of body weight per day showed that growth and bone mineralization were normal.’ ... “Fleischnrnnn Laboratories (1944) reported that 28 IU vitamin D per kilogram of body weight daily was sufficient for Fox Terriers when using a dietary calcium:phosphorus ratio of 2.1:1. However, even with 270 IU per kilogram of body weight per day, Collies and Great Danes showed X-ray evidence of rickets.”

Every few years the Board Members of the National Research Council compiled the research data. They then reviewed all the specific tests. After this review, they recommended the minimum amounts of each nutrient for commercial dog food within the United States. The recommended nutrient amounts are the quantities determined by the committee to sustain life at a safe level and balance for any or all breeds of dog. These recommended amounts are called the “Minimum Nutrient Requirements of Dogs for Growth and Maintenance (amounts per Kilogram of body weight per day)’ or ‘Required Minimum Concentrations of Available Nutrients in Dog Food Formulated for Growth.


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