Delta Tested: Eukanuba Premium Performance 30/20 Sport

Eukanuba has seemingly lived by the motto, “stick with what works,” but recently the pet nutrition company made a move that hasn’t occurred in some time: It updated its performance formulas. Among them is Eukanuba Premium Performance 30/20 Sport — named in reference to its 30-percent protein and 20-percent fat, an ideal ratio to ensure duck dogs and other sporting breeds have adequate energy supplies and the ability to build, maintain and repair lean muscle.

I was eager to evaluate the new formula, given that my springer has noticeably benefitted from his switch to a Eukanuba diet nearly three years ago. The most obvious change has been a dramatic improvement to his skin and coat health. Junior had long been a rather itchy dog, which his veterinarian attributed to allergies and treated with a mix of prescription and over-the-counter meds. However, since switching to Eukanuba, the scratching has all but disappeared.

His teeth are healthier as well. While Junior’s former food discolored his teeth every 12-18 months, Eukanuba has left them pearly white. Like the original formula, Premium Performance 30/20 Sport contains an anti-tartar agent, and the kibble is larger than many competitors — aggressive eaters like Junior have no choice but to chew it, an action that may not be as effective as a tooth brush, but it darn sure helps.

Key refinements to Eukanuba’s Premium Performance 30/20 Sport formula, which I began feeding last September, include a 15 percent increase in Omega-6 fatty acids to further support skin and coat health; a move from chicken as the first ingredient to a chicken byproduct meal, which is more digestible and delivers a higher quantity of amino acids in support of muscle health; and an overall 12 percent increase in calories — within about three months, I was able to slightly reduce the volume of my dog’s meals while maintaining his energy levels and body condition.

The new formula also includes 33 percent more glucosamine in support of healthy joints, and an anti-oxidant cocktail (beta carotene, among other ingredients) to reduce muscle stress and improve post-exercise recovery.

Notably, though Junior is approaching 9 years of age, he’s in peak physical condition — if anything, his endurance levels are higher now than at age 6, when he first made the switch to Eukanuba. Recently he placed in a field trial, not because he had a particularly exceptional day, but because the temperature became unseasonably warm and Junior was among the few dogs with enough gas in the tank to finish.

I attribute that ribbon — and last year’s exceptional hunting season — to consistent exercise and highest-quality nutrition. — Kyle Wintersteen