Feeding farming's super athletes

04 Nov, 2013 01:00 AM
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Former Wallaby and Barraba district farmer Tom Bowman knows the importance of nutrition for peak performance for himself and for his working dogs.
Former Wallaby and Barraba district farmer Tom Bowman knows the importance of nutrition for peak performance for himself and for his working dogs.

A SPORTS scientist says lessons learnt from optimising the performance of elite athletes can be applied to farming’s own super athletes - working dogs.

Australian Institute of Sport senior physiologist David Pyne said the importance of nutrition, hydration and meal timing also applied to working dogs.

“A significant amount of international research has been done in this area so we are very aware of the importance of nutrition to the sporting performance of humans and much of this knowledge can be applied to animals, particularly hard working dogs,” said Professor Pyne, who will address today’s inaugural Australian Working Dog Conference in Sydney.

A spokesperson for Purina, Dr Lisa Chimes said a working dog’s job involved exercising at low to moderate intensity for extended periods of time much like an endurance athlete.

“Whilst nutrition is obviously important for a working dog, as it is for their human athlete equivalents, it is important to note that humans and dogs have very different metabolisms,” she said.

“Human stamina improves with high carbohydrate diets but scientific studies show that dogs increase stamina when fed high fat and low carbohydrate diets.”

She said dogs were more efficient at metabolising and mobilizing fat than any almost other species. It offered them about 2.25 times more energy than protein or carbohydrate per gram.

  • Stay tuned for more from today's conference.

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    READER COMMENTS

    THE FARMER
    4/11/2013 6:04:17 AM

    Going to need elephant juice, some peptides, & stimulants according to the Bombers.

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