Whether you own a working dog or just a highly active breed that requires lots of exercises, feeding your pet the right diet is crucial to their health and development. Lots of owners have questions around basic canine nutrition (especially when it comes to working dogs/high-performing dogs), which is exactly why we’ve made this blog.
In the following sections, we cover some of the basics around canine nutrition, as well as which type of dog food is optimal for working dogs/highly active breeds. The information posted below will help you make a more informed purchasing decision, and also provide your dog with a more balanced diet (designed specifically for active canines).
The Basics of Dog Nutrition
Generally speaking, dogs require a more complete nutritional profile than cats (with cats being considered “hypercarnivores”). This is an important distinction to make because oftentimes owners simply don’t understand the complex nutritional requirements of their dogs (which leads to them placing less emphasis on what they feed their dog).
Dogs require protein, fat, water, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in order to grow, develop, and stay healthy. While a large majority of people might think of dogs as carnivores, they’ve actually evolved over the years to be able to handle the same type of diet as humans (i.e. an omnivore diet).
With that being said, dogs are typically at their best (both from a performance and health standpoint) when they’re consuming a diet that’s rich in both protein and fat (along with some carbohydrates). Using a product such as Purina Pro Plan Sport for high-performing dogs would be a good starting point. The field of canine nutrition has come a long way over the past five decades or so, and thanks to the internet everybody has access to the latest clinical research around dog nutrition.
For example, in the early days of the pet food industry, manufacturers were only concerned with profit. The health of the dog was an afterthought (at best). However, fast forward to 2020, and there are countless brands that have built their entire business model around creating high-quality and minimally processed dog food that contains optimal nutritional profiles (oftentimes exceeding AAFCO standards).
How to Choose the Best Food for Your Dog’s Active Lifestyle
While some owners might not think that their dog’s food is that important in regards to their overall health, they couldn’t be more wrong. What your dog consumes is one of the most important (and controllable) aspects of its health. When it comes to pet dogs, you should be buying the highest quality food possible (in terms of what you can afford).
High-quality dog food is expensive, and many owners opt for a more affordable brand/product. They compare the nutritional profiles between brands and think that there isn’t too much of a difference. This is another mistake that’s seen way too often among owners. The important difference between brands/products isn’t found in the ratio of macronutrients, rather it’s found between the ingredients (and where those were ingredients were sourced/how they were processed).
Why is the quality level so important? Dogs need their food to be easily digestible, and the ingredients used in cheaper dog food products are typically much more difficult for them to digest. This means that they get less nutrition from food. On the flip side of this, is the quality of ingredients used in more expensive brands/products (they’re usually very high-quality and minimally processed which makes digestion and nutrient absorption much more enhanced).
What to Look for in a Brand
Now that you know what separates a low-quality dog food from a higher quality one, let’s get into exactly what to look for during the shopping process. Before even considering switching up your dog’s diet, you should first have a talk with your vet and ask if they have any specific recommendations.
Look for dog food brands that feature high-quality ingredients that are minimally processed. The easiest way to do this is by looking at the ingredient list on the product’s label. Does it contain a normal list of ingredients? Or are there numerous chemicals, additives, and flavoring agents? If it’s the latter, keep on moving until you find a product that’s mostly real foods (not processed junk).
There are a few different considerations that you need to keep in mind when you’re deciding which type of food to feed your dog. Namely, your dog’s specific breed, age, and medical history. All of these factors can have an impact on the type of diet that your dog will respond best to.