How should I feed my working dog?

A dog that is under heavy physical exercise needs more energy in its food in the form of fat.

Fat being the best energy carrier. The more a dog loads its muscles, the more the muscle fibres break and then you need good building materials to repair the muscles and make them bigger and stronger with each workout. A more digestible protein is the body’s building blocks

If you notice that the food that the dog is currently eating is not enough in energy and you need to give more and more food in volume to meet the dog's nutritionalneeds, it may be time to choose an energy rich food. What many people don't think about is that the feeding table on the back of the bag is balanced to the number of vitamins and minerals that the food has, and the dog’s needs. If you need to give a larger volume of food than recommended, there is a risk of overdose of certain vitamins and minerals.  The larger amount fed will increase the recovery time between workouts.  If this is the case, then it is time to choose a higher energy food so you can give a recommended amount without increasing the volume. Feeding plus or minus 20% of the recommended amount is acceptable but increases the intake in volume by more than 25% we recommended that you choose a food for working dogs with more calories. Consider FourFriends Power.

The same applies when you scale down the training and suddenly need to give less food so that the dog does not gain weight. Then there is a risk that there will be too little of vitamins and minerals required. Change to a variety that has less calories so that the dog feels full and is satisfied.

If you know that your dog is going to partake in hard physical work during the day, then our recommendation is that you give about 20% of the total daily requirement in the morning. It is not so good if the dog carries a lot of food in the digestive system when it is physically active. Give the rest of the recommended daily requirement, that is, 80 % of the food at night when the dog is at rest and the bowel movements calm down. A more effective nutrient uptake occurs at this point compared to when the dog is active. During the day, it is better to give small portions as a snack. These portions should preferably consist of pure fat and protein. A nutritional paste or FourFriends Power Meat Sausage are ideal, they are rich in calories without burdening the dog’s digestive system with volume and giving the dog a good energy boost for continued work.


Water is the most important component to any dog. A working dog may need up to 3 times more fluid than a normally active dog. A low-active dog needs about 50-60 ml of water per body weight per day. This means that a 30 kg dog needs to drink at least 1.5 litres of water in any 24-hour period. If it is works hard, the fluid intake should be increased to at least 4.5 litres!

For more information on water see our blog Water is Water here.

We are always happy to help. Feel free to call us on 01302 637377 Option 2.

Article by FourFriends Pet Food,