Feeding Fido


There is a lot of controversy and misunderstanding amongst dog owners about dog food and feeding schedules. There is a an entire sub culture within the hunting dog community related to food and getting the most performance out of your hunting partner. In this post I am going to try to clear this up a little bit with the limited knowledge I have.

First of all, a better way to understanding how to feed your dog can be related to how you feed yourself. If you get yourself on a good diet you will feel better and be more physically capable. Couple that with exercise, what you feed your body and when, and you can really get yourself dialed in to perform your tasks at a higher level, no matter what the task may be.

It's the same way that you would think of a performance athlete. High level athletes put good food into their bodies and exercise religiously. More than that, they make sure that the diet and exercise compliment each other. That my friends, is how we should look at our dogs. They ARE performance athletes in every sense of the word. We require a lot from them and they put out a lot on a daily basis. The dog's basically run a marathon every time we hunt them.

So what do we know? We know that it takes a dog around 24 hours to digest a meal and get rid of the waste. We know also know that fat burning is the best source of energy for the dog's muscles.  Science tells us these things, and how you interpret that is up to you. The dog needs fat, this we know. We also know through studies that they don't run as good on a full stomach, we don't either. Another tidbit the studies tell us, is that the closer feeding time is to their exercise the more they burn carbs for their energy production, when the dog is on an empty stomach he has to burn fat and that is exactly what we want for supercharged dogs.
We also know that although its not regularly recognized, GI problems can ensue when a dog is run while still carrying a high amount of digested food product in its body. Most common to my limited knowledge and research is bloody stool as a result of an irritated colon and intestinal tract caused by movement of fecal matter in the dogs body.

So, when possible it seems best to feed your dog 24 hours before any rigorous activity such as hunting. This means that to avoid your dog running on a full stomach you would be feeding them once a day. Personally, I run my dog almost daily so I resort to feeding him shortly after our hunts are over. I give him all he needs for the day in one sitting. Another preference of mine is that I only do this for half the year when he is being run more frequently. In the off season I switch back to a twice a day routine to curb the appetite brought on by boredom. This is all easy for me to say because I have a small dog who doesn't need to eat a massive wad of food everyday.

Switching food in the off season presents another problem, weaning a dog onto new food can be problematic and very uncomfortable, not to mention wasteful when it comes time to switch. This is something that can't be overcome unfortunately, until now that is.
I feed my bud "Louis" a high quality food, I have tried many but I have settled on Kinetic. I feed Kinetic's 32K formula during hunting season to accommodate his high energy consumption. He loves the taste, gets everything he needs from it and doesn't have any digestive or other health issues. The nice thing about Kinetic, is that the different formulas they have all contain the same ingredients just in different quantities. What this means is that you can switch from one formula to another without an exhaustive weaning period. And trust me, you do want to switch. My little guy is a rocketship 24/7 in the offseason if I don't take him of a high energy diet.

Another thing I try to warn people about getting tied up on is grains. People are freaking out these days about providing grain free dog food. This is for two reasons, to prevent allergies and because its an "unnatural" part of a dogs wild diet. It is known that hungry canines in the wild will consume grains such as corn, carrots, etc. Hell, I know dogs that LOVE their veggies, a primary source of grain in dog food. In regards to allergies, its very uncommon and usually associated with wheat or soy which are usually not present in high end dog foods.

So don't get tied up too much if you see your dog food has some grain in it, its probably not a big deal and its a good source of proteins. Another thing to avoid getting torn up about is "meal" instead of whole meat. High quality meal often has a much lower moisture content equating to more nutritional content, so the dog is getting more bang for your buck. With this said, its important to know that the ingredients in your food are high quality and come from a good source. Do your homework and you can't go wrong.

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