Energy Sources For Your Dog

Originally, dog owners who fed their pets natural ingredients were attempting to replace the natural diet of the dog.  Natural ingredients used today are no longer the foods eaten by an animal ‘naturally’ in the wild, but have become modifications of those original foodstuffs to more confinement or longer-lasting forms.

The human diet consists of a large selection of such modified natural foods, most of which have been tried for feeding a dog.  Besides these human foods, there are still a few natural ingredients available to the dog owner that are not normally considered to be human foods.  Examples of such foods are horse meat, hog livers, and bone meal.


Meat is, without question, the most common natural ingredient fed to a dog.  It is also the most common source of protein. It is not the only source, however, nor is it the best.  Eggs, milk, and plant proteins also make up a large reservoir of protein sources available to dog feeders.


All natural foods containing nutrients are energy sources, since most nutrients can become energy.  Some natural foods supply more energy than others and are customarily used as energy sources.  These are the foods containing the largest quantities of fats and carbohydrates.  Fats are the primary energy source in any diet for a dog.  Most meats come with the fat already attached, especially in the chopped and ground varieties.  Fats also can be found in nature in the pure form as vegetable oils or as tallow and lard.


Carbohydrates, while not as concentrated an energy source as fats, are lower in cost.  Carbohydrates are useful to dilute the protein in high-meat diets or lower the caloric density of diets containing too much fat.

Corn Oil

Probably the most universally useful source of energy for a dog is corn oil.  Corn oil supplies 9 calories in every gram, 250 calories in every ounce, 124 calories in every tablespoonful, and 62 calories in every teaspoonful.  When used as the only fat in a food it also furnishes about ten times the amount of essential fatty acids needed by a dog.  Corn oil is inexpensive, easily obtainable, and has a reasonably good keeping quality.  Other vegetable oils that can be used satisfactorily as an energy source for a dog are olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil and soybean oil.

How Long Should You Run Your Dog?

Dear Adam: I have a Shepherd/Malamute “Newt.” She’s great. I have a couple of problems with her but I won’t waste your time with them as I have found them addressed at your site and in your book.

I “run” Newt in the bush, she is either in front of the truck or behind it, running as fast as she can. I stop when she slows down and we take a 5-10 minute break. Each time we stop, I open the door to the truck and let her decide if she’s had enough. Lately it’s been me who has had enough (she wants to run for longer and longer periods of time) and I tell her to get into the truck. My question: Should I limit how far she runs (for her own good) and can it be too cold for a long run?


Dear Sally:

Thanks for the question.

To be honest… I don’t know.

Usually my advice is to let common sense rule. But to be specific, it’s really a health question that you should consult with your veterinarian before beginning any extensive exercise program with your dog.

As a general rule, you need to build up your dog’s endurance. I usually start a dog at a 10 to 15 minute jog, and over the course of several weeks, gradually build up the duration to anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your dog.

By the way… it’s best to run your dog on dirt, gravel, sand or grass. Running your dog on concrete should be avoided if possible.