feeding for competition: 5 things every owner should know!

Working or sporting dogs not only require extra energy but extra protection. Here their needs are explained.

No matter the discipline, very active or working dogs have different requirements than the average household pet. Feeding a working or sporting dog is rather like fuelling a formula one car. There is no way teams can compete at optimal efficiency by using inferior fuels! Here are some things to consider if your dogs are more active than most.

1. Start right

By feeding an appropriate diet from puppy-hood to ensure your dog will grow and develop strong bones and joints, and a well-muscled frame at a healthy rate.

2. Work rest and play

Anyone who trains and competes with their dog will tell you a working dog is a happy one, but the balance must be right. Ensuring that your working dog leads a full and active life, with appropriate rest, will go a long way in promoting good health and longevity.

3. Hydrate

As well as ensuring clean drinking water is readily available, try feeding kibble lightly soaked for about 30 minutes prior to serving to ensure that your dog’s increased requirement for water is met.

4. Fuel

Naturally, highly active dog will require more calories than the average family pet. Feeding an energy dense diet means that increased nutritional demands can be met during the competitive season without having to feed copious volumes of food that take longer to digest and metabolise. A quality, well designed diet will contain nutrients that are highly bioavailable to dogs, meaning less time is spent trying to digest ingredients of little value.

5. Protect

Some dogs are particularly subject to physical stress due to the demands of their sport. When the body is under stress, potentially harmful free radicals are released. Antioxidants, if present in the diet in sufficient volume, may help to combat their effects. Choose a food with the correct balance of essential nutrients and sensible levels of supplementary ingredients such as omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids, joint supplements and chelated minerals.

Don’t just take our word for it, Mary Ray, who has trained and bred many champions in obedience, agility and heelwork to music, says “Levi has been one of most successful and well known dogs not just for championship obedience but also for his heelwork to music performances at Crufts, but when he was young I had real problems finding a food that he could tolerate. After moving him to the Sensitive diet he blossomed into the ‘super dog’ that I knew he could be. All my dogs are fed Arden Grange from puppyhood and they have grown into healthy adults in great condition. These diets have also helped ‘fuel’ the great success I have had with Lyric and Frankie! My latest puppy Quiz is already is thriving on his puppy food.”

By Ness Bird RVN CFVHNut