DAYTON, OHIO-Iams has increased the nutrient levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in key formulas after its research determined that higher levels actually helped make puppies more trainable.
DAYTON, OHIO—Iams has increased the nutrient levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in key formulas after its research determined that higher levels actually helped make puppies more trainable.
DHA, a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, is thought to be critical for healthy brain development in growing puppies. Research conducted by the company was so compelling, Iams is reformulating six key products to include higher levels of DHA. The company plans to make the official announcement this month at the American Veterinary Medical Association meeting in Philadelphia.
Reformulated products include: Eukanuba Premium Performance, Eukanuba Premium Performance Large Breed, Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy, Eukanuba Medium Breed Puppy, Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy, Eukanuba Lamb & Rice Puppy, Eukanuba Weaning Diet, Eukanuba Veterinary Diet Low Residue Puppy.
Dr. Daniel P. Carey, director of technical communications for Iams, reports that the research investigated the concept of trainability being linked to higher levels of DHA. Carey explains that the study looked at 39 genetically similar Beagles and evaluated the effects of DHA. He adds that DHA levels were designed to be the only variable.
As part of the study, low DHA levels were fed to 20 puppies, while the high DHA group consisted of 19 puppies.
At 9 weeks of age, the puppies began testing in a maze to evaluate cognitive abilities and learning. The self-learning maze test took 30 days to complete, Carey says. The study showed that the relative success criterion was more than double for the group of puppies fed higher levels of DHA as compared to the low-DHA group, Carey says.
The study concluded that high levels of DHA resulted in smarter, more trainable puppies.
Carey adds that since behavior problems and poor training are leading causes of relinquishment in pet shelters, Iams made the decision to include higher DHA levels in certain products.
"Training issues and behavior problems are one of the leading challenges many veterinary clients face with a new puppy. However, as this study reveals, nutritional intervention with high levels of dietary DHA can make a difference," the company reports.
Carey says to consider that by 12 weeks, a puppy's brain is 90 percent of its adult size. By comparison, its body is only 25-30 percent of its adult size. Between 8-12 weeks is typically the most intensive training period.
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