A sporting dog needs an appropriate diet that can meet its energy and nutritional needs. He doesn’t need to eat more, he needs to eat better and differently. It needs a quality diet that is of good quality, balanced, richer in proteins, vitamins, lipids, carbohydrates and minerals, and that can also meet the needs related to age, height, race, age, health and sports status. Indeed, a dog practicing a persistent activity does not have the same needs as a dog practicing a short, intense activity.
Also, before questioning the diet of the sporting dog, it is necessary to determine whether the animal is indeed considered sporting. As a matter of fact, if the dog that does daily sports needs a suitable and richer food, this is not the case for the dog that spends time with its owner from time to time.
When can we talk about a sports dog? How is it fed? Which ration should be put in its place? What precautions should be taken? How to make a diet change? Let’s take a look at this case.
When can a dog be considered athletic?
Before discussing the diet for a sporting dog, it’s important to distinguish between a truly sporting dog and an occasional self-indulgent dog. It is not even considered a sporting animal for a dog that occasionally accompanies its master or pushes itself like a little madman in the garden. Consequently, it is absolutely essential that one does not change one’s diet at risk of promoting overweight and obesity. In this case, it is recommended to feed only conventional kibbles adapted to their needs in terms of breed, size and age.
On the other hand, if your dog is doing a sport or constant exercise and this practice is repeated every day, we can qualify as an athletic dog. In this case, the animal that trains several times a week really needs a suitable diet to meet its specific needs, depending on the nature of its practice.
How to feed a sports dog?
It is important to determine your dog’s energy needs in order to provide him with an appropriate diet. To do this, take into account the nature of his efforts, their duration, possible stress, and the climatic conditions applied. If necessary, you can get help from your veterinarian.
Once you’ve determined your dog’s energy needs, you need to adjust his diet and ration accordingly. Indeed, their needs differ in terms of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Your pet needs to get more energy fuel to meet their intense efforts than a non-athletic dog, and it needs to allow their body to withstand the fact that it will continue to burn calories at rest without the risk of deficiency. Since he cannot eat double rations, he needs a proper and richer diet.
Know that you have two options for meeting their needs: convenient industrial food and homemade.
Industrial food for sports dogs
There are kibbles and food specially formulated for athletic dogs. These are the preferred solutions because they are the best way to meet the nutritional and energy needs of the sports dog without making any mistakes. Some brands offer products adapted to different types of sports and are preferred. Indeed, the dog that practices agility does not have the same needs as a dog that runs long distances with its owner several times a week.
This solution is the safest, because it makes it possible to meet the needs of the sports animal without the risk of deficiency and headaches for the owner! On the other hand, as we mentioned earlier, it is imperative to choose a quality food that is truly dedicated to athletic dogs and adapted to dog practice. These products are sold in pet stores, veterinarians or on the Internet, on specialized sites. Avoid big-box products that aren’t actually designed for athletic dogs. A quality, balanced and dietetic food makes it possible to meet the needs of the animal, while at the same time ensuring the protection of its health and well-being.
There are two categories of dietary industrial foods.
- Physiological food: These are growth and maintenance foods for adults and senior dogs. These products are formulated to meet the strict needs of the dog according to its breed, age, physiology and possibly health. This food is perfectly suited for a healthy sports dog.
- Therapeutic food: In this case, it is prescription food. This diet is prescribed by a veterinarian to dogs suffering from certain ailments after a medical diagnosis.
If you do not want to feed your athletic dog with industrial food, you can give him fresh food that will meet his needs. Meat, white fish, red offal, rice, pasta, brewer’s yeast, bacon, poultry fat, coconut oil and coconut oil are particularly recommended.
On the other hand, the risk of mistakes is greater with a homemade diet. Not only is it more difficult to truly meet the needs of a dog that plays sports, but there is a danger of giving him food that he has digested poorly, which can cause bloating and diarrhea, and even poisoning.
But if you still want to prepare food for your sporty dog, here are our recommendations for the daily ration:
- 4/10 meat (5% fat) or lean fish, ie at least 12 g to 18 g per kg of dog’s weight, depending on the intensity of the sports exercise;
- 3/10 rice or pasta;
- 2/10 vegetables (green beans or carrots);
- 1/10 vitamin and mineral supplement for athletic dogs;
- 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil, source of omega 3, coconut or copra.
How to feed a sports dog?
It is quite possible to distribute the daily ration of the sports dog to the normal dog in one go. However, it is preferable to give the ration in two meals, morning and evening, in order to better distribute the energy it receives. In addition, this prevents the animal from eating too quickly and starving during the day, forcing it or other dogs to eat their feces.
Also, be sure to check if your pet’s ration is meeting their energy needs. If you notice that you get tired or lose weight too quickly, consult your vet for a readjustment.
Conversely, if your little friend is gaining weight, you may have overestimated his needs. A more precise reassessment is necessary to avoid the risk of overweight and obesity, which not only causes illness, but also weakens the dog’s bones and muscles and increases the risk of injury to the joints.
Finally, remember that you should definitely not do sports within two hours of eating, because the risk of stomach torsion is very high. However, it is an extremely serious illness that requires immediate consultation and immediate surgery to prevent the dog’s death.
How to introduce diet change?
If you need to change your dog’s diet to introduce the new sports ration, being vigilant is imperative to avoid complications. Indeed, the dog is not like the man, he does not appreciate the diversification of the contents of his bowl and the change of his meal routine.
If you replace his old croquettes with new ones, his body may react badly. The dog may indeed suffer from digestive disorders that lead to stomach pain, bloating and diarrhoea.
As a result, be sure to make a smooth transition from her old diet to her new one to help her gradually get used to the gym food.
Ideally, it is recommended to make a transition change over an eight-day period and organize it as follows:
- day 1: give him 100% of his old croquettes;
- Day 2 and day 3: Mix 75% old kibble with 25% new kibble;
- day 4 and day 5: provide 50% of the old and new feed;
- Day 6 and day 7: mix 25% old kibble with 75% new kibble;
- 8th day: give him 100% of his new croquettes.
Be patient and let your body get used to the diet change. If on day 5 you notice that everything is going well but reacts badly to the day 6 menu, continue the day 5 mix for another day or two. This precaution will prevent your pet from experiencing digestive upsets and even pouting on this new diet, which is causing him discomfort.