Since a protection dog or any high-performance working dog gets a lot of exercise, you need to make sure it eats a proper diet to have the fuel it needs. This is especially important during the extra exercise demands of the training process and during any time when the dog will be very active.
This post will give you an idea of what you should feed your protection dog so it has the energy to handle all the exercise required for the job.
Balance of Nutrients for a Protection Dog
A high-performance dog will need to eat more calories than a less active dog and will need a certain balance of the three main nutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrates. The New York Times Well blog explains that it’s important for your dog to get enough protein, and that highly active dogs should have a diet with 25 percent or more of meat protein. Just like in people, protein helps dogs build their muscle mass and maintain their strength.
The Exceptional Canine suggests that you feed your performance dog animal protein like chicken, lamb and fish. They also recommend carbohydrates like barley, sorghum and cornmeal, which the dog’s body can use easily, and omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which you can get in fish and chicken.
And don’t forget about water. Have water available to your dog for when he is thirsty. Stick to water — avoid giving your dog sports drinks.
Formulated Dog Foods
You can purchase specially designed dog food for high-performance dogs. There are many of these “specialty” dog foods available, making it confusing for you as the consumer to provide your dog with the proper nutrient amounts it needs. For our purposes Inukshuk is the food of choice. The caloric density of their high performance products provide our working German Shepherds with the nutrition they need, without all the added bulk in many other brands. They also provide formulas for lower energy levels.
Your dog will benefit from a high-performance diet when he is very active, such as during protection dog training. However, if your dog’s activity level decreases, you should stop feeding him this type of high performance diet because he will put on weight and become unhealthy. Obesity is not the friend of a trained German Shepherd.