Feeding high-performance dogs with the appropriate type of food is essential to ensuring their continued performance – whether that’s at work on a farm, hunting, or just being a highly-active dog in general. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that dogs that expend more energy than others require a completely different level of nutrition.
While the underlying principles of canine nutrition will always remain the same, no matter what breed you’re looking at (or what their energy output is), the important thing is realizing that optimal macronutrient levels (and specific ingredients) differ from breed to breed, and individual dog to dog.
If you’re curious what the latest in high-performance canine nutrition research says, or simply want to know some of the best brands to feed your high-energy pup, keep on reading. Below we cover exactly which nutrients and ingredients are optimal for working dogs and high-performing breeds.
Overview of Basic Canine Nutritional Needs
Before we get into high-performance nutrition, let’s first cover some of the basics about nutritional needs for dogs. Contrary to popular belief, dogs require a lot more than just protein (which is the exact opposite of cats – which are 100% carnivores). Dogs, just like humans, require a well-balanced diet full of a wide range of nutrients (both macro and micro).
Healthy fats, protein, carbs, and vitamins/minerals are what should constitute your dog’s diet. The optimal range of these nutrients varies from breed to breed, but you can read more about these guidelines at the AAHA site. Generally speaking, your dog needs to be getting a decent amount of protein, fat, and carbs, along with numerous vitamins/minerals too.
However, don’t think that you can feed them any type of ingredients, as long as they fit those macronutrient profiles. Because just like anything else in life, it’s more about the quality of the actual ingredient than what that ingredient represents. In order for your dog to operate at its highest level, you need to be feeding it the highest quality ingredients that you can afford (which brings us to the next section of this blog).
Top Ingredients for High-Performing Dogs
Dogs that expend a lot of energy throughout their day can be considered what we like to call “high-performing.” Whether they’re working on a farm, in the military/police, or performing rescue operations, these dogs require a unique level of nutrition that other dogs don’t. While having the proper macronutrient profile is important, what’s more, important is making sure the food you fed your dog contains high-quality ingredients.
For example, Stella And Chewy’s Turkey Dog Food Topper makes regular food tasty, and can also be used as a supplement for high-performing dogs. Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein, and when it’s combined with a quality fat source, your dog will be operating at a very high level (especially compared to cheaper ingredients).
Before we get into specific nutrients, you need to understand that even between wet dog food and dry food, there are some major differences in nutritional needs. Dry dog food typically needs to have a much higher percentage of crude protein in it (compared to wet food). Usually, dry dog foods have over 20% crude protein, whereas wet foods only have over 5%. This is just another thing to keep in mind when shopping for your next dog food product for your pup!
Apart from the basics like protein and carbs, your dog also needs high-quality amino acids. These are essential for filling in the gaps that macronutrients don’t cover, and without these added ingredients, your dog won’t be able to function at their true level. Which brings us to our next section: carbs and energy.
The Great Energy Debate: Carbs vs Fat
Even among humans, this debate is still being fought by nutritionists, MDs, and everyday people. Which nutrient is better for energy? Is it carbs or fat? The answer, of course, depends on a lot of variables. Your dog’s breed, age, and medical history all play a role in determining which type of energy source should be emphasized.
Some dogs respond great to having a more fat-focused diet, whereas some need a very balanced diet that has stringent ratio guidelines. The important thing to realize is that in order for your dog to lead an active, healthy life, you need to be feeding them only the highest quality ingredients you can afford. Skip the fillers, additives, food dyes, etc. Your dog deserves only the best, and that’s exactly what you should be feeding your little furball.