Feeding Hardworking Dogs

The more active your dog is, the more nutrition he’ll require. Hardworking dogs include those used for hunting, herding sheep, or sled dog racing, as well as those who routinely run long distances (greater than 20 miles per week). These dogs may have increased nutrient needs while training or working. Food requirements will vary depending on an individual dog’s activity level. In general, their diets should contain at least 26% protein, 10% fat, 30% carbohydrates, and 3,850 kilocalories per kilogram of dry food. When a dog is not training or working, he’ll require less nutrition. During the offseasons, either reduce his feeding portions, or gradually transition to a lower-energy food (containing at least 20% protein and 3,300 kilocalories per kilogram). Maintaining your dog’s good body condition in the offseason will help make training seasons less stressful. It’s also important to know that your hardworking dogs should not be fed a meal immediately before or after a session of hard activity, as this may cause gastric upset. Instead, give him regular snacks or treats during periods of increased activity to prevent hunger pains and fatigue. The snack or treat should be doled out in small portions, with fresh water, and followed by a period of rest.