In the last ten years, working dog nutrition has advanced significantly, and there are now many different meals available. A dog’s energy levels, resistance to disease and injury, and longevity as a working dog are all impacted by good diet.
It has been demonstrated that feeding a high-quality diet designed for a heavy workload can boost endurance and reduce soft tissue injuries and stress fractures of the bones. Working dogs need a diet high in calories, unlike dogs kept as pets. The most calorically rich part of a meal is fat; the other two are protein and carbohydrates, which give calories for quick bursts of energy as well as important amino acids for developing and repairing muscles.
Some diets tend to be highly full and bulky because they are low in protein and heavy in carbohydrates. Many dogs physically cannot eat enough to meet their energy demands on these diets, which are comparable to eating weetbix. These diets also cause dogs to poop a lot.
- a minimum of 25% protein
- minimum 20% fat
- a calorie count of more than 4000 kcal per kg
The back of dog food bags plainly lists all of this information. Look at the ingredient list as well. Since they are listed from highest to lowest, it is best to choose a diet that has a protein stated first, such as chicken rather than chicken by-pass meal.
Each food bag will also specify whether it complies with AFFCO feeding experiments or food guidelines. A significant disparity exists. The feeding trial determines whether the food is edible while meeting food standards is like baking a cake according to a recipe.
Most working dogs will thrive on a mixed diet that includes sheep meat and premium food. Younger dogs are especially prone to weight loss during busy times; in these instances, dogs may benefit from being given a handful of premium food when they are let out in the morning. Although eating before activity is known to put GDVs at risk for bloat or twisted stomach, a small handful is safe, and for many dogs, this snack has helped them keep their weight in check.
The most popular working dog formulations are Eukanuba premium performance and Royal Canin 4800, which are available at all of our clinics.
Over the summer, we observe a variety of working dog issues, such as:
- Heat Stress: On hot days, certain dogs will exert themselves to the point of exhaustion; on farms, these dogs occasionally display signs of “fitting.” If your dog experiences this, cool them down as quickly as you can, place them in a dam or trough while making sure their head is above water, and take them to the vet as soon as possible. To avoid internal organ damage, they require rigorous fluid therapy. The majority of dogs fully recover.
- Constipation is a regular problem in elderly dogs on a bone-and-Tux diet. A common kind of arthritis in dogs’ tails can make it difficult for them to squat and urinate. The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is to take the dog for a run. Instead of encouraging them to poop, this further dehydrates them and may exacerbate the issue. If you have any concerns that your dog may be constipated, please take fast action. Being constipated can also impede a dog’s ability to urinate.
Speak with the staff at your clinic for suggestions on what food to feed your working dog (or other pet).
What kind of food is best for working dogs?
15 Top Dog Foods for Working
- Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 by Purina.
- Food for High Prairie Dogs in the Wild.
- High protein Solid Gold dog food.
- Dry dog food Victor ClassicHi-Pro Plus.
- Pureformance Freeze-Dried Dog Food from Grandma Lucy.
- Premium Sport Dog Food from Eukanuba.
- High-Performance Dog Food called Bully Max.
How frequently should you feed working dogs?
Free feeding entails precisely that. The dog can graze all day long and consume as much food as she desires from a bowl that is consistently refilled. Allowing dogs to eat as much as they want can upset their stomachs and make them fussy, but it can also make them overweight, which can cause other issues like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.
Some dogs, like some people, appear to be able to eat indefinitely without gaining weight. Although they may seem to be in excellent health, these dogs frequently pass the majority of the food they consume, leaving the owner with large, foul-smelling (and frequently runny) feces to pick up. When fresh food is supplied during mealtimes and your pet is allowed to choose all day, he or she will not be hungry at those times.
Free feeding can allow a puppy to consume far more food than is necessary. Once more, this could create digestive issues, but more importantly, it could lead to fast growth. Too much rapid growth might cause joint issues later in life; this is particularly problematic for larger breeds.
Therefore, free feeding is typically only advised for aging, underweight dogs who need to up their calorie intake.
Puppies require more food (per kg of body weight) to support their rapid growth than adult dogs do. Offer smaller meals because their bowels are not yet strong enough to handle greater amounts of food. 3–4 meals a day starting with weaning, then less as they get older.
Some of the “naughty” behavior of older puppies, according to behaviorists, may just be the result of hunger. After all, many of us have had the experience of becoming distracted and irritated when we are hungry! The growth rate of your own puppy (including whether they are now going through a spurt) and their breed will determine whether to lower the daily amount of meals.
Adult dogs often eat once or twice each day. Again, there is no clear rule in this situation. For instance, a working dog requires more frequent feedings to maintain blood sugar levels and energy levels, whereas a very picky dog who isn’t stimulated by food can manage with just one meal per day. At least two meals a day are advised for larger, deep-chested breeds because one large meal is more difficult to digest and may result in bloating.
For some illness conditions and digestive disturbances, smaller, more frequent meals are advised since they are simpler to process. Additionally helpful for dogs with liver illness, they are also more likely to be tolerated by sick or queasy canines.
Because older dogs are typically less active and often need fewer calories, you can either reduce the amount of food you feed them or switch to Burns Weight Control+, which has fewer calories.
Some extremely old dogs, however, might not eat much at all, presumably because as they age, their senses of taste and smell have gotten worse. Additionally, some illnesses, such as kidney failure, can restrict appetite. It may be important to encourage older dogs to eat more by giving them free food or small, frequent meals if they consume little food and lose weight. Alternately, even if they are only eating little amounts, switching to a higher-calorie diet may aid in weight gain.
Also noted in senior canines is an increase in appetite. After underlying conditions like diabetes have been checked out, it’s possible that the hunger is brought on by something else. Theories range from drug side effects to senility to the simple fact that mealtimes are now the highlight of their day. Giving your dog more frequent meals or feeding it a higher-fiber diet like Burns Weight Control+ can help keep them from being too hungry.
How can I provide energy for my working dog?
There are a few options available if you’re looking for commercially available energy-boosting treats for hunting dogs. Hunting dogs were considered when creating XTremFuel Booster Bars and XTremFuel Booster Tabs. For example, the XTremFuel Booster Bars are the perfect treat to give your hunting dog while they are out in the field. It has a combination of high-quality proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates to boost energy while enhancing endurance. The high-calorie, high-energy mix of the booster tablets helps build stamina and is useful for training, conditioning, hunting, and testing.
Another option for canine athletes is Tech Mix’s K9 Restart Energy Bars, which are meant to be consumed before, during, and after hunting. Retrieve Tri- Energy All Natural Nutrition Bars, another brand of energy bars made by Gander Mountain, offer working dogs both instantaneous and time-released energy.
How should a dog for performance be fed?
The Schutzhund USA Magazine’s March 2018 issue is where this essay first published.
We all know that busy working dogs require more nutrients than the average domestic dog. These dogs are athletes, and as such, they have higher caloric needs to match their increased energy and activity levels. But for the high-performance dog, it’s not only about fulfilling nutritional needs. The timing and manner of feeding can have a big impact on how well your working dog performs. Here are a few essential management and feeding advice for active dogs.
Feeding Before Work
How long before intensive work it is best to feed your dog is one of the most common questions regarding feeding working dogs. No matter how you feel about exercising on an empty stomach, a dog who has fasted is going to perform far better than a dog who has recently eaten. The best outcomes will come from feeding 6–12 hours before to an extensive period of work because dogs conserve energy. This facilitates complete digestion, allowing your dog to store energy, and lowers the possibility of physical problems like twist or bloat.
Feeding After Work
You don’t want to have your dog fast for too long after they fasted before going to work. However, you must make sure they have enough time to cool up before introducing food after a workout. After work, giving your dog some water and allowing him to cool off for 30 to 60 minutes should be enough to let him acclimate. Following that, give them food when they’re ready and be sure to keep giving them lots of fresh, clean water.
What to Feed
This one is fairly easy. The best outcomes for working dogs come from eating fat at higher amounts than you might assume are healthy. Your working dog should consume a diet that contains 40–50% calories from fat in order to function optimally. Dogs burn fat much more effectively than humans do, and a high-fat diet will give you much more endurance. Although they still consume protein and carbohydrates, a high-fat diet and a fasting interval before strenuous exercise allow your working dog to perform at its very best.
It’s also crucial to keep in mind that feeding your dog a reasonably high fat diet all year round will probably speed up the transition from lower to greater activity requirements. In essence, feed a performance diet all year long, even if you need to feed a little less when the dog isn’t exerting himself as hard. Reducing the amount of fat in the diet simply to cut calories can actually work against maintaining the target level of fitness.
Feeding and Management
A vital aspect of the health and performance of working dogs is feeding them high-quality food. Here at Kinetic, that’s what we do, and we’re quite passionate about it. Nevertheless, we understand that a feeding program involves more than just providing meals. Your working dogs will perform at their peak levels and will be in the greatest possible condition over the long term if you follow good feeding and management techniques.
Are working dogs able to eat raw food?
Feeding animals raw can cause a number of issues, especially when done at home. Our veterinarians advise against making your own pet food, cooked or raw, without consulting a professional in pet nutrition because a homemade diet could be nutritionally unbalanced and lead to illness in your pet.
Meat in particular contains germs, parasites, and other pathogens that are generally eliminated during cooking but are present in raw food. Giving your cat raw food therefore has additional hazards for their health as well as the health of other family members. Even with extreme caution, there is a far larger chance of cross-contamination, which means you could unintentionally spread diseases like E. coli, Salmonella, and even TB through the food or through your pet.
Another risk of consuming raw animals is the presence of bones, particularly in “Raw Meaty Bones-type dishes.” No matter how cooked or uncooked they are, we never advise giving bones to your pet. Splinters of bone can hurt your pet’s delicate internal organs or become lodged in your pet’s stomach, blocking it. Additionally, your pet’s teeth may fracture from chewing on bones. Even if your pet is fortunate enough to stay away from these problems, bones’ high calcium content frequently results in stomach discomfort and constipation.
The advantages of giving raw over canned pet food have not been established. Rather than official research on a large number of pets indicating a significant difference, the reasons for feeding raw meat to pets are based on the experiences of individual owners.
Is feeding a dog once a day cruel?
Generally speaking, occasionally feeding a healthy adult dog once daily is not cruel; however, that meal should be of the proper amount and be well-balanced. Additionally, given that many dogs struggle with a single daily feeding, it’s critical to identify any problems with that feeding schedule early on.
Whether or not your dog should be fed once a day depends greatly on his or her age.
Puppies have smaller windows of time during which they require nutrient support, thus feeding them once (or even twice) day is bad for their health.
First off, it’s likely impossible for your dog to finish the meal in one sitting.
Second, until the next burst of energy, your puppy won’t have the energy it usually has in between naps when it normally regenerates.
If your dog is elderly, he might also struggle with just one meal a day because he won’t have the stamina to eat much and won’t be able to digest it.
To be sure, consult your veterinarian, but in general, if you’re unsure, feed your dog 2-3 times daily and you should be fine.
If any of the following statements apply to your dog, you should probably stop feeding him once a day:
- The dog is elderly or ill.
- You possess a pup (needs feeding 3-4x per day)
- Multiple days in a succession had already passed since the last feeding.
- Your dog has problems eating just once every day (vomiting, lethargic, gut issues)
Let’s delve deeper, though, for those of you who simply want to try feeding only once a day, or perhaps you’ve done it in the past on hectic days or something similar and wondered whether or not it’s actually a good idea.
Pros and Cons of Feeding Your Dog Once a Day
There can be significant drawbacks, however some dog owners who feed their dogs only once a day claim that their dog’s intestinal health or immune system improved as well as their hunger.
Other dogs simply gurgle up that foamy, white vomit (the vomit color is actually essential to check the reason for the vomiting).
The benefits of feeding your dog once a day are as follows:
- better intestinal health
- increased immunity
- More eagerness to eat the remainder of the week
- less likelihood of bloating, particularly on hectic days
- resembles the wolf’s feeding behavior.
- greater ease for dog owners
You should be aware, as was already indicated, that the gut health and immune system boost are not unequivocally supported by science.
Having said that, because this feeding schedule is far more in line with what they’d do in the wild, your dog’s digestive health may very well be positively benefited.
Others contend that because they were domesticated, which also affected their dietary habits, dogs are no longer wolves.
Even while your dog may need the same amount of calories each week whether you fast or not, intermittent fasting can still be beneficial.
It can be a terrific tool for overweight pets as well as many people who are attempting to shed weight.
Avoid going overboard and eating more in one sitting than you would normally during the day.
Going without food for two days is obviously not for me, and even if I were to fast my Rottweiler, I would still give her anything than raw flesh (still the benefit of having a reset for her gut).
The following are disadvantages of giving your dog one meal per day:
- long-term lack of nutritional balance
- Vomiting can result in additional medical problems.
- Dog may not be able to consume the entire meal (or will wolf it down too quickly)
- can lead to a misunderstanding of the eating schedule
Some of these problems, like dietary balance and skipping portions of meals, are simple to fix.
Your dog is probably fine in that aspect if you watch his food intake and he consumes the meal without any problems (might still not be the best solution for you though).
Vomiting, on the other hand, can be a transition period but is more difficult to regulate, so you should keep an eye on it and talk to your veterinarian.
Consider this: You aren’t being told anything, and then all of a sudden, you are without food for the entire day. Are there going to be any more meals? Will you go hungry? Are you being overlooked?
Even if I only miss one meal, that’s what my Rottweiler’s eyes are saying.
On another side, it occasionally happens that I don’t have time for two meals when I’m traveling with my dog.
I don’t just mean the actual eating, but also the time she needs to eat in peace and then have some downtime following.
The worst thing that may happen when you exercise your dog shortly after eating is bloat, so if I had to pick, I’d skip meals altogether or only offer a very mild one.
Best Time To Feed Dog Once a Day
The optimal time to feed your dog once a day is when the previous meal was given 12 hours earlier and the subsequent meal was given 24 hours later, or vice versa (usually in the morning or evening). You can also evenly space the meals apart and feed your dog in the middle of the day.
This schedule implies that, before to and following the day when you only feed your dog once per day, you have been feeding him twice daily and will continue to do so.
Choose a time, like noon, and stick to it every day if you just feed your dog once per day as part of your regular feeding plan.
Here are a few instances:
- You feed your dog at 8 p.m. on Monday, 8 a.m. on Tuesday, and 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
- You feed your dog at 8 p.m. on Monday, 8 p.m. on Tuesday, and 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
- Monday at 8 p.m., Tuesday at 2 p.m., and Wednesday at 8 a.m.
- Stick to 2 p.m. every day, for instance, if you just feed once per day.
Your morning and evening meals should be served around the time you get up and go to bed. Not everyone can feed their dog in the middle of the day.