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Energy requirements for racing endurance sled dogs*

  • John P. Loftus (a1), Molly Yazwinski (a1), Justin G. Milizio (a1) and Joseph J. Wakshlag (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Endurance sled dogs have unique dietary energy requirements. At present, there is disparity in the literature regarding energy expenditure and thus energy requirements of these dogs. We sought to further elucidate energy requirements for endurance sled dogs under field conditions. Three sled dog teams completing the 2011 Yukon Quest volunteered to provide diet history. Nutritional content was evaluated and a mock meal was analysed for each team. Race data were obtained from www.yukonquest.com. Dogs were weighed at the start of the race in Whitehorse Yukon (WH), a mid-way checkpoint in Dawson Yukon (DS) and at the finish in Fairbanks Alaska. Data are average value per dog or per dog per d. Linear regression compared average weight loss to average kcal/dog consumed daily. Diets and feeding regimes were similar for all three teams. The average daily energy intake and nutrient content was similar for all diets. During leg one (WH to DS), team 1 gained weight overall, whereas the other two teams experienced weight loss. Linear regression revealed 37 638 kJ/dog/d (8995 kcal/dog/d) was required for weight maintenance. During leg two (DS to Fairbanks Alaska), average weights decreased for all three teams. The extrapolated kcal requirement was approximately 57 734 kJ/dog/d (13 799 kcal/dog/d). The carbohydrate contents of these diets also suggest that presumed fat intake for endurance sled dogs may be slightly less than previously thought. Finally, these data support the concept that dietary energy requirements vary substantially with additional variables such as load pulled, terrain and ambient temperature.

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Copyright
The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license .
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: J. J. Wakshlag, email jw37@cornell.edu
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*

This article was published as part of the WALTHAM International Nutritional Sciences Symposium Proceedings 2013.

Footnotes
References
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1. National Research Council (U.S.). Ad Hoc Committee on Dog and Cat Nutrition (2006) Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, Rev ed. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
2. Hill RC (1998) The nutritional requirements of exercising dogs. J Nutr 128, 12 Suppl., 2686S2690S.
3. Decombaz J, Jambon M, Piguet C, et al. (1995) Energy intake and expenditure of sled dogs during the alpirod race 1995. In Int Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association Symp., pp. 113–118, Reims, France.
4. Hinchcliff KW, Reinhart GA, Burr JR, et al. (1997) Metabolizable energy intake and sustained energy expenditure of Alaskan sled dogs during heavy exertion in the cold. Am J Vet Res 58, 14571462.
5. Gerth N, Redman P, Speakman J, et al. (2010) Energy metabolism of Inuit sled dogs. J Comp Physiol B 180, 577589.
6. Kronfeld DS (1973) Diet and the performance of racing sled dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 162, 470473.
7. Ahlstrom O, Redman P & Speakman J (2011) Energy expenditure and water turnover in hunting dogs in winter conditions. Br J Nutr 106, Suppl. 1, S158S161.
8. Kronfeld DS, Hammel EP, Ramberg CF Jr, et al. (1977) Hematological and metabolic responses to training in racing sled dogs fed diets containing medium, low, or zero carbohydrate. Am J Clin Nutr 30, 419430.
9. Hammel EP, Kronfeld DS, Ganjam VK, et al. (1977) Metabolic responses to exhaustive exercise in racing sled dogs fed diets containing medium, low, or zero carbohydrate. Am J Clin Nutr 30, 409418.
10. McKenzie EC, Hinchcliff KW, Valberg SJ, et al. (2008) Assessment of alterations in triglyceride and glycogen concentrations in muscle tissue of Alaskan sled dogs during repetitive prolonged exercise. Am J Vet Res 69, 10971103.
11. Downey RL, Kronfeld DS & Banta CA (1989) Diet of Beagles Affects Stamina. J Am Anim Hospital Assoc 16, 273277.
12. Toll PW, Gillette RL & Hand MS (2010) Feeding working and sporting dogs. In Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 5th ed., chapter 18, pp. 321–350 [MS Hand and LD Lewis, editors]. Topeka, Kan: Mark Morris Institute.
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Journal of Nutritional Science
  • ISSN: 2048-6790
  • EISSN: 2048-6790
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-nutritional-science
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