Feeding Your Working Dogs with George Hickox
For over two decades, George Hickox has shown all levels of owners how to train great bird dogs. More often than not, the secret to successful days in the field start with top tier nutrition and a consistent feeding program. Find out how to feed your working dogs the right way to ensure many happy memories are made on the hunt.
Sound genetics, proper and consistent training, as well as feeding a tier one nutrition are required for the canine athlete to maximize his stamina. A genetically talented dog that has developed his abilities through a successful training program will be unable to stand up to the rigors of a day of running if fed improperly.
The canine receives the nutritional benefits from eating eight to sixteen hours after ingesting his food. Feeding Pupster in the morning of the big hunt or strenuous exercise is not a sound feeding program. Feeding raises the dog’s body temperature and pre-exercise feeding can led to gastrointestinal health issues such as bloat. Gastro Volvulus Distention can be life threatening.
A dog should not be fed within two hours prior to exercise or within one hour post exercise. Digesting food requires water and a dog fed prior to exercise is more prone to dehydration. There is no plus to feeding in the morning prior to a day of activity. We feed in the evening no sooner than an hour post exercise. This schedule allows the dog to digest his food and receive the necessary calories that will be demanded for the following day’s activities.
The amount of calories individual dogs will require varies considerably. A dog with a high metabolism will demand more calories than a pooch with a lower metabolism. A dog that is kenneled outside in lower temperatures will need to ingest more calories to maintain his internal body core temperature than a companion living in the house. A good guideline is that a dog will require 7% more or less calories for every 10 degree rise or fall in temperature. If the temperature was 50 degrees on Tuesday and dropped to 30 degrees on Wednesday Fido would require 14% more calories on Wednesday than on Tuesday.
Obesity and the side effects of obesity are the leading cause of early death in canines in the US. A good gauge for the proper weight a dog should maintain is if viewing the dog from above the dog should look like a horizontally placed hour glass. Purina has a body scoring system on their website that will inform viewers about proper weight. Google “canine body scoring.”
Carbohydrates heat and fat cools. A diet of high carbohydrates and low fat will raise the dog’s body core temperature which can lead to overheating. In addition to keeping the dog well hydrated prior to and during exercise a higher fat and lower carb diet will keep the four-legged hunting partner running cooler.
A balanced diet with the proper percentages of proteins and fats will provide the dog with the necessary fuel to perform his tasks on a day’s outing. We feed a blue ribbon diet of 30% protein and 20% fat for the working dog. Feed your dog a quality nutritionally balanced diet and do not let the dog become overweight. Your dog will live a longer and healthier life.