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Nutrition & Training Tips

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Level Is Your Dog?

By Steve Ries

What The Levels Mean
The first thing most people ask when they see Native® performance dog food is what do the Energy Levels mean. The Energy Levels are simply an indicator of the caloric content of each formula. The higher the number, the higher the calorie content. Native was designed to make it easy to choose the level of food that will meet your dog's needs and all Levels are formulated to meet the nutritional requirements for all life stages.

Change Is Easy
With one exception, the ingredients are exactly the same in all of the Native products. The Energy Levels are increased by simply adjusting the balance of Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates in each formula. Since the ingredients are the same, you won't get digestive issues when you move from one Energy Level to another as your dog gets more active.

The one exception is that Native Level 1 uses primarily Lamb Meal while the other Levels use primarily Chicken Meal. This formula was created to meet the needs of dogs that have very sensitive stomachs and just seem to do better on Lamb than other meat proteins.

Energy Factors
With that said, there are several factors that will determine what Level is appropriate for your canine athlete. We have found the following factors to be the most important ones.

Breed – As a rule, certain breeds tend to burn more calories than others.
Age – Puppies tend to burn more calories than adults.
Activity – Obviously, more active dogs burn more calories.

You should keep in mind as you consider these factors that there really are no hard and fast rules. Every dog is a little different and body condition should be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that nutritional requirements are being met.
So What Level Is Your Dog?
The following are some recommended starting points that work well for most breeds. Again, this is just a starting point. If your dog is very active, move him up a level if it seems to help.

Formula Puppies Adults
Native Level 1 Large breed puppies
Puppies with sensitive stomachs
Medium and large breeds with normal activity
All breeds with sensitive stomachs
Native Level 2 Medium breed puppies
Large breed puppies
Small & medium breeds - normal activity
Large breed – active dogs
Native Level 3 Small & medium breed puppies
Large breed puppies if limit fed
Small & medium breed – active dogs
Large breed – very active dogs
Native Level 3 Puppy Small & medium breed puppies
Large breed puppies if limit fed
Small breed – very active dogs
Dogs that must have very small kibble
Native Level 4 Small breed puppies
Medium breed puppies if limit fed
Small breed – very active dogs
Medium & large breed – very active dogs

Don't Forget The Water
As always, quality and quantity of water is the key to any nutritional program. We need to make sure the bowl is kept clean and full to maintain optimal health. We strongly encourage frequent cleaning of your food and water bowls to avoid the presence of bacteria and we try to never let the water bowl run dry. This may be the best thing you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy.

To learn more about Steve Ries and his training methods, visit

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