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weight and body condition during the hunting season. There were no significant differences between groups other than the diet they were fed.

The amount of food consumed, evaluated as grams of food consumed per kilogram body weight, did not vary between groups. Dogs fed the performance diet maintained or gained body condition throughout the hunting season. Dogs fed the maintenance dog food lost body condition. Dogs fed the performance diet had superior hunting performance, based on total bird finds per hour hunted, compared to the dogs fed the maintenance ration. During periods of mild or high heat stress, the dogs fed the performance diet maintained this superior hunting performance. A final finding of note from this study occurred during the postseason period. During this time dogs fed the performance ration were judged to have a significantly shinier and softer coat compared with those dogs fed the maintenance ration. There were no differences between groups in the total time selected to hunt or total number of hours hunted during the season. The two diets had nutrient contents as follows:

Performance Diet
Metabolizable energy-4470kcal/kg
Maintenance Diet
Metabolizable energy-4210kcal/kg

The results of this study indicate that diet can indeed affect the hunting performance of a dog. The dogs fed the performance diet, which was higher in calories, fat, and protein, found more birds than the dogs fed a maintenance diet. A few points are of note. The dogs in each group ate the same amount of their respective diets based on their body weights. However, the performance diet had more energy (kcal) per cup than the maintenance diet. Therefore, the performance fed dogs got more calories than the maintenance fed dogs even though each group ate the same amount of food. This is important because at some point a highly active dog’s energy requirements can exceed the capacity of its digestive tract if the dog is not on a high energy ration. This is illustrated in this study.

The maintenance fed dogs where often fed free choice... but still lost body condition. They ate until they were full… but still lost weight. However, the dogs fed the performance diet were able to maintain their body weight when fed the same amount of the higher energy ration. All dogs will lose weight if their activity level increases but their feed intake is held constant. Feeding increased amounts of the maintenance ration helps maintain ideal body condition, but at very high activity levels a performance diet may be needed to maintain weight. Because fat is a highly available energy source, an increase in fat increases both the

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