When we first considered the concept of an advanced feed that would eventually become Australian Formula, the most common question we were asked was – will it make my dogs go any faster? We found it incredible that very few trainers even considered the possibility that correct nutrition could help reduce the risk of certain types of injury. While some nutrients play a key role in injury recovery.
We should first establish that there are MANY factors acting alone, or in concert with others, that lead to injuries.
They would included genetic predisposition, quality of rearing, accumulation of minor injuries, speed of healing of minor injuries, race and exercise regimes, exercise and racing surfaces and just plain bad luck.
For all these reasons, and more, it is practically impossible to attribute any single injury to incorrect feeding.
The only possible exception might concern a litter, or group of dogs, reared with a chronic shortage of suitable nutrients which could leave the entire group ‘more prone’ to certain types of injuries, particularly skeletal problems.
So instead of looking for direct proof, let us consider ‘likelihood’. If we accept that exercise leads to ‘wear and tear’ and extreme exercise leads to extreme wear and tear on the body of an athlete, is it logical to assume that failure to address ‘maintenance’ will increase the likelihood of injury?
We know that the two single most important factors in physiological maintenance are rest and re-building – and they work in tandem.
The very best trainers of any type of athlete: human, canine or equine, are the people who can push their charges to just short of the limit before the structure breaks down.
To do so, they need to accurately gauge the recovery period and then ensure that ALL the materials needed for maintenance are available.
This process starts as soon as the footballer leaves the pitch, athlete steps off the track, or greyhound returns to the paddock.
(Did you know that leading horse nutritionists recommend protein supplementation by oral syringe immediately after exercise – while still on the gallops!)
This will later be supplemented with a carefully chosen diet with additional nutrients.
At Australian Formula, our goal was to make muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments as strong as possible by providing the correct balance of quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
If you can’t keep an athlete sound, how can you get them performing to their limit?
Vital factors to be considered include:
This is very important as it causes a reduced blood flow through the muscles, which can add to an injury risk and certainly slow the rate of recovery and repair. Australian Formula has an effective electrolyte blend, which will go a long way to aiding rehydration after exercise. It is still however very important to carefully monitor fluid intake and encourage it in dogs prone to dehydration. We consider dehydration one of the principle causes of poor race performance and can’t stress enough it’s importance.
Protein is essential for the repair of damaged tissue. After a race, trial or exercise that causes minor tissue damage the race is on for the dog’s body to repair and make good before the next outing. The speed at which this happens may be largely determined by the quality of the amino acid blend available and this is where you really have to start trusting your dog food manufacturer.
Is the 28% declared on the bag a superbly balanced cocktail of proteins just waiting to rush into action and effect emergency repairs to complex and demanding tissues? – Or is it largely made up of plant proteins and other quite hard to absorb and assimilate materials which still allow a quite legal declaration of 28%?
Bones like all the other mechanical tissues in a greyhound’s body are constantly under pressure to repair and strengthen after exercise. Studies on soccer players have shown that bone injuries are rarely just caused by single traumatic events, rather they are the result of repeated micro damage that is not given a correct chance to heal and so become compounded until they eventually cause a big breakdown.
Nutritionally, bones need the correct macro and micro nutrients to heal and strengthen as well as a diet that is in complete nutritional balance. As we have illustrated so many times, there are powerful interactions between nutrients and it is almost impossible to concoct a home mix that will nutritionally deliver like Australian Formula does.