Active Dogs

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Active Dogs Have Special Needs

Working dogs that herd, guard, search or even act as assistants for disabled people need one and a half to two and a half times more food energy than pet dogs. If the weather is cold energy demands can go up another fifty percent. (Simply living in an unheated kennel in winter results in a 25 percent increase in food need.) In the most extreme circumstances of winter sled dog races, a working sled dog may need 10,000 calories per day. While human athletes increase their stamina by consuming carbohydrate-rich diets, this is not a natural source of stamina food for all dogs. Greyhounds and other dogs working in short sprints benefit from increased carbohydrates while endurance dogs need increased fat in their diet for the stamina of hard work.

Feed a high fat, highly digestible, energy dense diet in two or more portions daily. Provide a small meal about one hour before working.

Feed the largest meal an hour after hard work. During endurance work provide small amounts of high fat, high protein food while working if necessary.

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