L-Carnitine Improves Performance in Working Dogs in New Study


A new canine study shows that Lonza’s Carniking L-carnitine aids dogs’ exercise performance and recovery.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/cmannphoto

A canine study recently published in the Journal of Nutritional Science1 on Lonza’s (Basel, Switzerland) Carniking L-carnitine ingredient found that Carniking aids both exercise performance and recovery of working dogs, and contributes to higher lean muscle mass, improved muscle recovery, and less oxidative stress during vigorous exercise. L-carnitine has been shown to have a number of uses for overall health in both people and animals, and is essential for transporting long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria. There are currently very few studies on the impact of L-carnitine supplementation for performance and recovery in canines; most L-carnitine studies have been performed on human athletes.     

In the controlled study, researchers used Lonza’s special-grade Carniking L-carnitine powder to determine whether L-carnitine supplementation, as opposed to a strictly commercial diet, would be beneficial for more active dogs. Lonza also sponsored the study.

Two experiments were conducted over a two-year period analyzing a total of 96 Labrador Retrievers. In each experiment, the dogs were split into two groups. One group’s diet was supplemented with 250 mg/day of Carniking powder for up to 14 weeks; the other group was fed the commercial diet. The experiments were conducted with slight variances: Experiment 1 studied 56 dogs that completed one endurance and two sprint runs per week, while Experiment 2 studied 40 dogs that completed two endurance runs per week. The study authors analyzed the dogs’ performance through running programs, activity monitoring, body composition scans, and evaluation of recovery.

The results from Experiment 1 indicated that dogs supplemented with Carniking produced approximately 4000 more activity points per km compared with the control group during both sprint and endurance runs and experienced markedly less muscle breakdown, producing half the creatine phosphokinase (CPK) following exercise compared to the control group. In addition, the Carniking dogs had lower myoglobin following intensive exercise compared with controls. Body composition scans in Experiment 2 showed that the Carniking group gained more total tissue mass and lean muscle mass while the dogs not supplemented with Carniking lost tissue mass and lean mass. Carniking dogs had lower CPK secretion and myoglobin levels than did the control group.

Finally, the Carniking dogs gained body weight in the form of lean mass and demonstrated greater activity levels, while the control group lost weight and were less active. Overall, the research shows sign significantly improved activity, body composition, and recovery biomarkers in Carniking subjects.

Craig Coon, PhD, CEO and co-owner of the Four Rivers Kennel LLC (Walker, MO) where the study was conducted, said he has a positive outlook on Carniking supplementation: “The positive results clearly demonstrated that Carniking L-carnitine helps recovery after exercise in active dogs and has significant effects on muscle mass. These effects provide the first evidence of Carniking’s specific positive impact on working dogs. This finding is promising as the increase in lean mass, recovery and activity can provide better quality of life and function for working animals and house pets, for example.”

Aouatef Bellanine, PhD and Senior Scientific Manager of Nutrition at Lonza, further emphasized Carniking’s untapped potential: “This data is promising for senior pets, in particular, where muscle performance continues to be an unmet need.”

Lonza says that Carniking can be incorporated in dog food and treats, both wet and dry, and can be added to animal feed.




  1. Varney J et al. “Utilisation of supplemental L-carnitine for fuel efficiency, as an antioxidant, and for muscle recovery in Labrador retrievers.” Journal of Nutritional Science. Published online April 3, 2017. 
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