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Nutritional needs of the Stud Male dogs



Prior to contemplating breeding the current health of the dog must be considered. Healthy puppies begin with the combining of a healthy sperm and egg, in order to produce healthy sperm, the dog himself needs to be in good health which comes from being on a nutritionally balanced, species appropriate diet. If this is not the case, transition to such a diet should be the first step in his potential breeding career.


The dog should also be of a healthy, not under or over, weight to ensure he is up to the task not only of producing healthy sperm but also of servicing the bitch when the time comes. A good guide is that ribs can be felt but not seen and when viewed from above the dog has a defined waist.


For dogs already on a species appropriate diet i.e. based on raw meaty bones, and of a healthy weight, their day-to-day nutritional needs should already be sufficiently met, a review of their history, lifestyle and specific diet would enable any deficiencies to be addressed before adding the additional nutrients specific for their supportive role in reproductive health. The biological processes involved in sperm production span two months meaning any dietary improvements should be made at least two months prior to the intended mating to ensure viable healthy sperm are available for the crucial task [1].


Vitamin C

The addition of Vitamin C supports the body in many ways, including boosting immunity and the uptake of other nutrients providing many health benefits to any dog regardless of breeding prospects. Its role in protecting cells from oxidative damage is key in ensuring viable healthy sperm reach their intended destination. Vitamin C can be safely supplemented at a rate of 50mg per day, per kg of bodyweight [1]. Ensuring the leafy green component of the dogs' diet is based on raw spinach increases the density of Vitamin C and other nutrients the dog is receiving without unnecessarily increasing calories. Of all the leafy greens, Spinach tops the list in terms of supplying minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium and Zinc. It’s also a great source of Vitamins A, K1 and B9 (Folate) as well as the all-important Vitamin E [2].


Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a valuable antioxidant which should always be considered in any diet due to its role in preventing damage of Vitamin A and fats, including the lipid bilayer of all cells. It plays a key role in DNA formation, sperm production and testicular health as well as hormone production and libido. In addition, it supports the availability of Vitamin D which is destroyed by rancid fats. A healthy supply of Vitamin E is required to ensure the availability of Essential fatty acids as it protects the body against rancid fats; the recommended rate of supplementation is 15 i.u. per day, per kg of bodyweight for the stud dog [1].


Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids are essential to good health and play a vital role in reproductive health as they support hormone production as well as healthy sperm. Adjusting the diet to include not only flaxseed oil but a richer food source of EFA’s such as salmon frames with their excellent source of omega 3’s [3] can be beneficial, especially if the existing diet includes a comparatively poor food source such as Lamb or beef bones. In addition, ensuring Salmon frames are one of the proteins forming the diet would also provide an additional exceptionally rich source of B-vitamins including Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine and Cobalamin [4].


B-Complex

The B-Complex group of vitamins is fundamental in converting carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy and all members of the group can be supplemented without fear of toxicity [1]. Of all the organ meats liver has the highest concentration of B-complex vitamins and as such should form a major part of the diet’s organ component [4]. Nutritional yeast is also a useful rich source of B-vitamins which can easily be added to the diet for those not affected by yeast allergies. B-vitamins will also be provided by the beef component of the diet which is also a rich source of zinc making it an important dietary component for the stud dog [1].


Zinc

Of all the minerals, Zinc tops the list for supporting reproductive health with symptoms of deficiency including poor sperm production and motility as well as testicular degeneration. Artificial supplementation of zinc can lead to toxicity issues and should be avoided with food sources such as beef considered a safe and therefore preferred option. Zinc must be present in sufficient quantities to ensure the adequate release of Vitamin A which is stored in the liver [1].


Vitamin A

Vitamin A, like Vitamin C, is an anti-stress vitamin which plays a key role in supporting a healthy immune system. It plays an essential role in reproductive health maintaining testosterone levels, libido and the production of healthy viable sperm. Carrots are a superb source of Vitamin A and can easily be incorporated into the leafy greens' component of the diet which, if based on spinach, is already a healthy Vitamin A source [5].



Sources

[1] Billinghurst, I., 1998. Grow your pups with bones. Bathurst, New South Wales: Warrigal Publishing.

[2] Healthline., 2020. Spinach 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Retrieved November 25th, 2020, from Healthline web site: www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/spinach

[3] Whitbread, D., 2020. Top 15 Foods Highest in Minerals. Retrieved November 25th, 2020, from My food data web site: https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-mineral-foods.php#high-mineral-foods-list

[4] Healthline., 2020. 15 Healthy Foods High in B Vitamins. Retrieved November 28th, 2020, from Healthline web site: www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-foods

[5] Whitbread, D., 2020. Top 10 Foods High in Vitamin A. Retrieved November 25th, 2020, from My Food Data web site: https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/food-sources-of-vitamin-a

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