Rocket Fuel (noun): An explosive charge that propels a
|Crazy dog being propelled by rocket fuel|
Recently I discovered that we have been feeding Athena rocket fuel (yes, the explosive stuff that propels energetic dogs to do crazy things!). I bet you even fed your dog a bit of rocket fuel this morning for breakfast without even knowing it! That's because rocket fuel is hiding in your bag of dog food. Don't worry, we were shocked to find this out too. But really, rocket fuel can be found in EVERY bag of dog food (no matter how fancy) and is hiding behind the "protein" label.
Since beginning Athena's new training class, we have learned that the food we were feeding Athena could actually be the culprit behind some of her mega zoomies and crazy energy. Our trainer quickly introduced us to the concept of feeding a dog rocket fuel when we told her that Athena often gets some intense bursts of energy after each of her feedings. She explained that when a dog eats a bowl of high protein food A.K.A. rocket fuel, explosive energy may follow soon after.
|Just say no to too much rocket fuel!|
As novice dog owners we had read somewhere that a high protein food is good for dogs. So, before picking up Athena from the shelter, we went to PetSmart and picked out the highest protein food that we could find. This happened to be Blue Buffalo Wilderness with 34% protein which we have been feeding to Athena for the past three months.
When we told this to the trainer she gave us this little fact: "unless you are raising a working dog for a farm, dog sledding, or some sort of search and rescue, she doesn't need more than 24% protein in her food." Whoopsies. Athena is surely not a working dog! Our trainer proceeded to explain that sometimes dogs who eat a high protein food and aren't out working all day will have extra energy that they don't necessarily need as a domestic house dog. This excessive energy can translate into behavioral issues for dogs who are already energetic (like Athena).
She suggested that we take Athena off from such a high protein food to see if it might help with her rocket fuel syndrome (i.e. too much energy for her own good). So, we recently made the switch to Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet with 21% protein.
It has been three weeks now since making the food switch (we are still trying to deplete our bag of Blue Buffalo and therefore Athena gets a mixture of both the old and new food). Feeding her less rocket fuel as well as eliminating her food bowl have made all the difference in her energy level. We have noticed that Athena has begun to actually take on the role of "lazy house dog" and we have even been able to cut back on the amount of physical exercise that she receives each day.
|Embracing my role as lazy house dog|
Disclaimer: This isn't to say that your dog's high energy levels are necessarily caused by the protein level in his or her food, because there is actually evidence out there that suggests that dog food labels aren't always very accurate. So, maybe this whole rocket fuel thing is in our heads and we just assume that Athena's energy has decreased due to the food switch?! Whatever the cause is, we sure do like it!
If you are into doing some further reading about protein levels in dog food, do a little Google search for "high protein and dog aggression." Verrrrrry interesting.
What information do you check on dog food labels? Have you ever made a food switch based on something you discovered?