The Dogs Carbohydrate Team:
Carbohydrate requirements change at very specific times in a dog's life cycle and in times of stress or work. Canines cannot "carbohydrate stack" (store carbohydrates for energy) as humans can, but they turn carbohydrates from the dietary intake into instant energy. Puppies and geriatric dogs should receive much of their energy from high carbohydrate food rather than from high protein food. Dogs convert high carbohydrate food into energy in a short time after ingesting it. They will need to be fed more often during the day to maintain proper energy levels.
Also, in the time of lactation, the bitch will turn some carbohydrates into a very special form of milk sugars for her puppies' energy requirements. Producing energy from dietary carbohydrates can be much easier on the dog's body than the process of producing energy from protein. Protein must be stored in muscle tissue and then withdrawn for conversion into energy.
Like fiber, bacteria is a part of canine nutrition too often taken for granted. A wild carnivore will often bury its kill, after eating the guts (high in bacteria content), to let the carcass rot prior to eating it. This rotting is nothing more than allowing bacteria to break down the muscle tissue to make it more digestible. The bacteria team also works very closely with the fiber team within the digestive system to develop and grow cultures. These cultures in turn produce vitamin K in the dog's gut. New research is now being done with bacteria to study its role in canine nutrition, and its importance is becoming more defined.
Note: Bacteria is found throughout the dog's digestive system. Bacteria in the mouth should not be removed by chemicals so that the dog will have sweet smelling breath. This is a human's cultural hang-up, and one that can cause dietary distress in canines by removing a very essential nutritional part from a dog's digestive process.
The Dogs Water Team:
Water is the most important nutrient team. Water comprises over 60% of a dog's body weight. Deprivation of water causes death faster than deprivation of any other nutrient. Water also works with ALL the other nutrient teams in the performance of their individual or collective functions. Water intake is normally in balance with water loss through the dog's urine, lungs, skin and feces. The loss of water through each method depends on factors such as activity levels, stress levels and the environmental temperatures. Water must be replaced continuously because the loss of water is continuous.
This means that the dog must always have access to water. However, not all water is the same. Well water from an area high in soil minerals also will be high in those minerals unless treated. Many cities treat their
water supply with chemicals. Each city will use different chemicals and treatment processes depending upon the sources of their water. The end product called "water" may only be similar to "water" from another city
for the mere fact it is a liquid. Dogs can develop diarrhea from a sudden change in the sources of any nutrient and water is no exception.
Therefore, I recommend you try to provide water from the home source when traveling with a dog. This can be done by taking along water from home or you can acclimate your dog to a specific type of bottled water
before the trip. Then all you need to do is buy the same type of bottled water as needed during the trip.
There are dangers in breaking down nutritional teams of solid food and liquids into their component parts and in turn further breaking down each of these components. One danger is that a person doing research in the field of nutrition can become too focused on a specific nutrient and disregard how that one nutrient interacts with other nutrients. For example; we all know that it takes calcium to build heathy bones. Knowing this one fact and taking it out of context can lead to problems. Adding lots of calcium to a puppy's food, without the other nutrients calcium interacts with for building bones, can be counter productive.
Another danger occurs when the researcher is looking for a specific result. When the researcher achieves his goal, he does not carry on to see what other areas have been effected. The best example of this would be the research on a product to change the elasticity of the muscles holding the hip joint together, thus changing the occurrence of hip dysplasia. Such a product has been researched and is available. However, that product also damages an otherwise healthy dog's liver and kidney.
When considering the field of canine nutrition and formulating a proper diet for your dog, I feel that a holistic view must be taken. Therefore, again I will emphasize that I feel the balancing of all the parts of each nutritional team is the most important factor.