A Critical Look at Table and Requirement Values
The question about the believability, plausibility and comparability of nutrient requirement values for the dog causes, time and again, quite a stir.
The first systematic investigation of animal feed in Germany was carried out by E. Wolf and J. Kuehn in 1850.
In the year 1951 the DLG (German agriculture society) started it’s activity and developed, in the following years, nutrient requirement values for the domestic cattle field, in particular ruminants and pigs.
In 1974 the “Gesellschaft für Ernährungsphysiologie der Haustiere” (DGE) provided the DLG publishers with Value Tables for horses and in 1989, dogs were added.
Interestingly enough, in the preface of the requirement recommendations, there is mentioned that the Values given are based on the strength of insufficient research, in particular concerning estimates and analogy other species (with that pigs and ruminants are presumably meant).
So, all in all, no evidence of extensive research into the nutrition requirements for horses and dogs, rather a purely mathematical exercise, under scientific conditions, of course.
What’s the situation now regarding requirement values for dogs?
Basically there are two leading American unions:
AAFCO (American Animal Feed Control Officials), which develops standards for nutrient profiles for dog and cat food and NRC (National Research Council) which researches the minimum nutrient requirements for domestic animals, as does the DGE, who apparently received their requirement values from Professor Helmut Meyer.
His successor, and long-standing employee, Juergen Zentek who, in the meantime, has a professorship in Vienna inne - which is sponsored by a major animal feed manufacturer - and whose animal test laboratory has now, for the second time, been a cause of great concern to the dog world, due to the dubious circumstances involved.
When the different Requirement Values are compared, some questions are left open:
Why does it come, in part, to considerable (unclear) differences? (For Example: Vitamin A
for young dogs in a bandwidth of 3710IE - 8000IE daily)
Why is a fixed, arbitrary safety allowance calculated for every supposed minimum value, without discretion?
Can the studies mentioned, regarding requirement values, be considered as ethical?
EG: In order to verify the requirement values of Vitamin D3 and the influence of sunlight on Vitamin D supply, pups were kept in complete darkness for the first six weeks of their lives. The physical and psychological condition of the pups in this oft quoted study are, however, not mentioned.
During a further study, mastiffs were deliberately given a triple-sized overdose of Calcium additive, to study the role of a calcium supplement to determine the origin of Osteochondrosis dissecans during breeding.
The result could not turn out any than it did, with a great number of the young animals experiencing serious growth problems and malformation and naturally they, after suffering unbearable pain and other hardships, were put down.
In our opinion, these studies - carried out in the name of science – are not ethical.
'One recognizes the level of a society by the way he treats his animals', a quotation, that we wholeheartedly agree with.
In addition we should all also be aware that findings gained in this way have nothing to do with the real life circumstances of our dogs. This clearly shows that such findings are completely unreliable and irrelevant in practice.
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