08 July 2019

NUTRITIONAL NOTES - HELPING TO SUSTAIN A HEALTHY WORKING DOG

Nutritious feed alongside training and exercise ensures working dogs perform at their best. Working breeds are renowned as strong, agile and hardy dogs, however due to a higher workload, they are at an increased risk of injury. Working dogs are much more active than a typical housedog, they have need for higher nutritional requirements that go along with an elevated and energetic lifestyle.   

The ideal diet will help support the digestive system, ensuring the immune system is the optimal protection for the dogs’ body. By feeding the appropriate diet, your dog will develop all the key attributes needed to be a healthy and successful working dog, including strong bones, joints and a well-muscled frame. 

It isn’t just the working dog’s physical health that should be monitored; their mental health should also play a factor when it comes to nutritional requirements. A balanced diet that supports all of the dogs feeding needs will help promote alertness and improve concentration levels.

Timing and frequency of feeding is important. You need to make sure that your working dog has sufficient energy when they need it most, avoiding heavy meals just before or after any exercise. Typically, active dogs should be fed an hour or more after their strenuous exercise. 

High quality protein provides the crucial building blocks for muscle development, muscle repair and recovery functions. A mix of protein sources is the most efficient way of providing your working dog with the right amounts of essential amino acids. Remember, increased workloads require an increase in protein levels. Carbohydrates are important to fuel dogs when they need to sprint or work quickly. Dogs can break down carbohydrates easily and can store excess in muscle for use later on. The more work a dog is doing, the higher the requirement for carbohydrates.

Fat provides dogs with a source of slow release energy. Fat is broken down easily and has higher energy content than protein and carbs, which is important for working dogs. High fat diets are often beneficial for active working dogs. The correct ratio of omega-3 to 6 is important in any animal’s diet. Omega-3 can aid in flexibility of the joints, maintaining suppleness of joints, as well as having hormonal and cell functions. Ingredients high in omega-3 include salmon oil, full fat linseed and green-lipped muscle. Omega-6 fatty acids can enhance the dog’s skin and coat.

Vitamins, minerals and trace elements are important in providing a nutritionally balanced diet. They are often required for the utilisation of other parts of the diet. Working dogs benefit from the functional ingredients such as antioxidants. All of Chudleys feed includes antioxidants to help to neutralise free radicals produced during exercise. 

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