Bird Dogs & Training  |  12/01/2013

New Purina Pro Plan SPORT Bars Help Fuel Active Dogs

The Purina Pro Plan SPORT performance nutrition line is introducing in January two nutritional supplement bars designed to optimize performance nutrition before and after exercise.
The Pro Plan SPORT PRiME Bar is a pre-exercise protein-rich supplement bar to be fed 30 minutes prior to activity so key protein building blocks are digested and absorbed into the blood to help keep muscles strong during exercise. “The purpose is to delay or minimize the natural muscle protein breakdown that occurs with exercise,” explains Purina Nutrition Scientist Brian Zanghi, Ph.D.
The Pro Plan SPORT ReFUEL Bar is a post-exercise nutritional supplement bar that helps replenish muscle energy stores and promotes muscle rebuilding. It should be fed within 30 minutes after exercise, which is important because of the brief window of time after exercise when muscles are maximized for nutrient uptake. The ReFUEL Bar contains key nutrients to help reinvigorate tired muscles and is formulated with rapidly digested ingredients to help deliver these nutrients within the optimal time after exercise.

Prime Before Activity

The PRiME Bar contains protein from a combination of whey and hydrolyzed soy. “These fast proteins are rapidly digested and easily absorbed,” Zanghi says. These protein sources contribute to enriched levels of the amino acid leucine, which is the primary amino acid to activate protein synthesis and offset the protein and muscle fiber breakdown that occurs with exercise.
Because the PRiME Bar contains high levels of protein and fat, it is optimal for use during training and conditioning. It helps promote muscle strength and aid in muscle conditioning.
Made with real beef, the PRiME Bar is highly palatable. Dogs weighing up to 50 pounds should be fed one bar 30 minutes before exercise compared with two-thirds bar for dogs weighing up to 34 pounds and one-third bar for dogs weighing up to 16 pounds.

Refueling After Exercise

A dog’s nutritional needs for short-term recovery immediately after strenuous activity are different than the nutrition that comes from a performance dog food that is designed to help with prolonged recovery.
The ReFUEL Bar’s select carbohydrates restore a critical glucose energy source found in muscles called glycogen, and amino acids from select proteins activate the rebuilding of proteins. The bar contains a targeted blend and proportion of carbohydrates anchored by maltodextrin, which is the “optimal” carbohydrate source, explains Zanghi.
Although glycogen is an important fuel for intense work, the muscle has a very limited capacity to store it. Long periods of exercise or repeated short, intense bouts may deplete glycogen stores and ultimately impair performance. Dogs that perform in a three- to five-day competition may experience significantly diminished energy or drive on the fourth or fifth day due to glycogen depletion. A dog having depleted glycogen stores, or only partially replenished stores, will definitely experience an impact on the next day’s performance, Zanghi says. Feeding dogs their main meal after exercise will not deliver the same effect as feeding the ReFUEL Bar. This is because main meal foods are not typically formulated with rapidly digested carbohydrates like maltodextrin. Purina feeding studies have shown that feeding a performance dog food (30 percent protein/20 percent fat) immediately after exercise will not result in an immediate post-exercise rise in blood sugar levels within the optimal recovery timeframe to promote the glycogen replenishment.
Timing of post-exercise ingestion of the ReFUEL Bar is critical for optimal recovery because of the natural process of glycogen store recovery in animals. Dogs should be offered a ReFUEL Bar shortly after the end of exercise for the day. You should allow a dog’s panting rate to slow and offer cool water for rehydration immediately after exercise, followed by a ReFUEL Bar. Dogs weighing up to 55 pounds should be fed one bar, up to 36 pounds two-thirds bar and up to 18 pounds one-third bar.
The Purina Pro Plan SPORT PRiME and ReFUEL nutritional supplement bars may be bought individually or in a multipack of 12 bars exclusively at pet specialty and farm supply stores. For information, visit or to talk with a pet nutrition consultant, call 800-PRO-PLAN (800-776-7526) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.