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Klein, Carmen; Thes, Melanie; Böswald, Linda F. and Kienzle, Ellen (2019): Metabolisable energy intake and growth of privately owned growing dogs in comparison with official recommendations on the growth curve and energy supply. In: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Vol. 103, No. 6: pp. 1952-1958 [PDF, 544kB]


The correct assumption of metabolisable energy (ME) requirement is essential for the nutrition consultation and diet formulation. In young dogs, too high energy supply can accelerate growth and thus lead to developmental orthopaedic diseases. The aim of the present study was to collect the data on ME intake and body weight (BW) development in privately owned growing dogs in order to compare these data with the current recommendations. Our hypothesis was that the actual ME intake of healthy young dogs would be lower than the actual recommendation. The data of 493 privately owned puppies (median age at first consultation 21 weeks, the median expected mature BW 30 kg) on ME intake, actual and expected mature BW were collected and compared with recommendations of the Society of Nutrition Physiology (GfE, Meyer and Zentek and NRC). In 243 dogs, there was a follow‐up. The actual BW did not deviate systematically from the calculated expected BW (R2 = .929). The ME intake significantly decreased with age (p < .05) and significantly increased with expected mature BW (p < .05). There was no significant interaction between these two parameters (p > .05). Sex had no effect on the ME intake (p > .05). The ME intake of young dogs with a history of skeletal problems or of food allergy did not differ systematically from healthy dogs of similar age and expected mature BW. The ME intake was considerably below NRC recommendations, especially in younger puppies (>8–17 weeks: 78%, >17–26 weeks: 83% of NRC recommendation). A predictive linear equation for ME intake was developed: ME intake (MJ) = (1.063 − 0.565 × [actual BW/expected mature BW]) × actual BW0.75.

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