As autumn sets in certain outdoor activities come to the forefront. We look at the correct nutritional foods for the working dog.
Performance dogs need high quality nutrition to maintain optimal body condition and weight, help recovery and injury, build and repair muscles, and fight infection. So, what can we do to help them to keep in peak condition from a busy day and carry out those tasks again tomorrow? The best foods for working dogs should include the right mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates, a mix which depends on the type and duration of the activity your dog participates in, as well as their breed and specific needs. These nutrients also need to be easily digested and quickly absorbed.
Fat and Carbohydrates Give Energy
Contrary to most people’s thinking protein doesn’t give energy to dogs. If you have a working dog, it is fat and carbohydrates that are the main sources of energy. Fat is the best energy source for dogs that are involved in search and rescue, sled pulling and hunting. Whereas carbohydrates are the main source of energy during activities that require short bursts of energy because they can be quickly and easily converted from food to energy.
Protein to Build and Repair
A performance dog’s requirement for protein increases as the intensity and duration of their activity increases. The source of the protein is critical. Meat based proteins are far more easily digested than cereal ones. Most nutritionists believe that 5 to 15 percent of a dog’s energy is provided by amino acids, depending on the level of activity and the duration of the exercise. Amino acids are also needed to make enzymes, blood proteins and new muscle tissue, as well as repair exercise-related damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons and other connective tissues.
When adequate carbohydrates are provided in the diet, protein remains available to provide essential amino acids, repair and build tissues and support a healthy immune system, instead of being used for energy. Using amino acids for energy is less efficient than dietary carbohydrates because the body needs to process and remove the nitrogen waste formed after amino acids are broken down.
High-Quality Protein Is a Must
Most of the amino acids that are used for energy during exercise are those that can only be obtained from the dog’s food. It is critical to feed your working/sports dog a food containing high-quality protein that’s well balanced in essential amino acids. like those found in FourFriends Power that help your dog thrive and maintain muscle after a hard day’s work.
Water Is Essential
The most important nutrient for any dog is water. Exercise produces heat, and dogs cool by panting, which causes water evaporation from the respiratory tract. Dehydration can reduce performance and lead to injury or illness. Water should be supplied during exercise to keep dogs hydrated.
Choosing an Appropriate Diet for Working or Sports Dog
We are here to help you choose the correct foods for your dog, Sports and working dogs are in need of the correct nutrition to help them recover and perform again the following day, it’s important to feed them a diet that is appropriate for their increased nutritional needs. Most importantly make sure they have access to plenty of clean fresh water throughout the day.
Always follow the golden rule. Some dogs are susceptible to bloat, so no matter what diet you choose, always wait at least an hour after exercise to feed your dog.