Get Your Dog in Hunting Shape With a Proper Diet and Exercise
For some, fall means cozy sweaters, trips to pumpkin patches and apple cider.
For us, it’s hunting season.
You’ve spent all summer at the shooting range, daydreaming about early mornings in the blind or at base camp. The guns and gear are clean, and the permits and tags are purchased.
You’ve been ready to go since July — but is your dog prepared for hunting season?
No matter the breed of your dog or the kind of critters you’re after, diet and exercise are the two key things you need to focus on to make sure your dog is ready.
Exercise is crucial to ensure your dog is ready to spend long days in the field. Your hunting dog is essentially an athlete, and you wouldn’t run a marathon without training for it beforehand, would you?
A dog unable to control its breath will have a harder time picking up and tracking an animal’s scent, putting your hunt in jeopardy.
You should start training your dog six to eight weeks before you hit the fields, if not earlier. Brisk daily walks are a must. You can also reacquaint your dog with the act of chasing down birds by playing fetch — bonus points for a using a launcher and dummy bird.
Weight management is also crucial in in the weeks leading up to hunting season. A common mistake hunters make is allowing their dog to pack on extra mass before hunting season. But an overweight dog is much more susceptible to injuring itself through over-exertion or joint issues.
Just like a serious athlete during times of increased activity, you dog’s hunting season diet should be high in protein and fat. Avoid kibble that’s high in grain or fillers in favor of a diet with animal-based protein.
With protein and fat making up over 50% of the ingredients, Black Gold’s Super Performance is optimized for active hunting dogs with a heavy workload.
In addition, Black Gold Explorer Performance has the high-quality protein your dog needs for energy, stamina, and recovery. The essential oils and Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate also included in this formula help support healthy joints, which are crucial to help older hunting dogs perform at their peak.
During the offseason or times with lower activity levels, formulas such as Black Gold’s Original Performance provide your dog with the right combination of protein and fat to help maintain overall muscle condition.
While the caloric intake should be increased before and after the hunt, the exact ratio depends on your dog’s age, size, and breed.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the level of work you’re planning to put your dog through. Dogs burn calories exponentially given the strenuousness of the work. For example, a 50 lb. dog needs about 1,500 calories for a light day, but upwards of 5,000 calories for a long day of strenuous activity.
Before and during the hunt, don’t feed you dog more than a handful of food to maintain optimal endurance. They should however drink more water throughout the day to prevent overheating and exhaustion.
As you’re preparing for hunting season, don’t forget about you companion. Take your dog on some long walks, pick ‘em up some Black & Gold, and you’ll be all set for awesome days in the field — just don’t forget those hi-vis vests!