Pet store shelves are filled with seemingly endless types of dry dog food or kibbles. Some are for older dogs or obese dogs, and some tout the phrase "nutrient dense" or "high energy." These nutrient-dense or high-energy dog foods are higher in protein and fat. Their purpose is to give dogs more nutrition in less food. But not all dogs need high-fat dog food -- they may even harm your best buddy.
High-fat dog foods are high-energy dog foods. Relatively new to the dog food market, these foods were originally created for working dogs or high-performance dogs such as sled dogs or bird dogs. Nutrient-dense foods contain 15 to 20 percent fat and as much as 25 to 30 percent protein. The high fat and high protein give dogs more calories needed for optimum performance. Trainers also discovered that the nutrient-dense dog food works well for dogs stressed from travel and competition. Stressed dogs eat little, so high-energy food gives them necessary calories.
Besides providing dogs with more calories and more energy, the nutrient-dense kibbles produce low amounts of feces. The feces are small and compact, ideal for the average dog owner who has to pick up the backyard. The dog food is also easier to digest.
Because high-fat dog foods were originally developed for the working dog and high-energy dog, the nutrient-dense food may actually harm the house pet that spends time sitting on the couch, catching a ball in the backyard, or taking short walks with his master. Typical dog owners work, so their furry friend spends time watching squirrels instead of chasing squirrels. A 1-cup serving of high-fat dog food has more calories than 1 cup of typical commercial dog food. Feed your dog the same amount, and he could become obese.
Man's best friend can have life-altering situations. The dog who is suddenly housed outside in the cold, dogs used for breeding and dogs that are ill can often benefit from high-fat dog food. If you decide to run a marathon and want your dog to accompany you on those long training sessions, the change in exercise requires more calories for your pooch. You might need the high-fat dog food to compensate for the increased activity.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.