As the shooting season draws to a close, Chudleys nutritionists advise on how to maintain a working dog's weight if they become less active.
It is important to consider workload and how the dog maintains its weight before adjusting feeding amounts. In some dogs, as workload decreases so does the nutrient and calorie requirement. Rather than reducing the amount of feed, it may be more beneficial to change from a high calorie, high protein diet to one that is reduced for a lesser workload.
Protein and calories
If your dog becomes less active, it may be beneficial to switch to a feed with a reduction in protein and calories. Excess protein would be excreted via urine and additional calories may cause unwanted weight gain.
Chudleys’ Everyday Range is formulated to support a working dog during the off-season with a reduced protein and calorie content. The range consists of Original, Classic and Salmon with Rice & Vegetables Maintenance.
Breed and age
Some breeds maintain their weight better than others, however it may not be necessary to adjust feed depending on this. An everyday feed is suitable and supports the working dog through the season and off-season.
For the elderly dog that is typically aged 7 years+, a senior diet may be appropriate. However you know your own dog and they may not be showing typical signs of ageing, therefore a senior diet may not be appropriate.
Once the shooting season is over, working dogs may begin to train in preparation for scurries such as the Chudleys Gundog Championship or BASC Chudleys Scurry League.
There are a number of different nutrients that can affect performance, however, it is important to understand that they all work together
Protein – Protein is utilised by the body for muscle cell maintenance and generation. A hard working diet will be higher in protein to support the increased demand from their workload.
Joint support – In some cases the older dog may benefit from a little added joint support within their diet. Glucosamine and green lipped mussel are reported to help support the musculoskeletal system.
Antioxidants – Providing antioxidants in the diet is also beneficial. During work and as workload increases so does the production of free radicals within the body. These free radicals can sometime cause cell damage. A QLC antioxidant package, included in Chudleys feed, provides additional antioxidants within the diet to help support the dog’s physiological systems.
Water – Often a forgotten nutrient, it is important to always provide fresh, clean drinking water for working dogs. Dehydration is a common occurrence that tends to go unnoticed and can significantly affect performance.