The choices in competitive and recreational dog sports today are endless. It’s just another affirmation that we are including our pets in every aspect of our lives, from care at home to vacations to participating in our active sports lives. Dog sports are a great way to keep our canines both physically and mentally active. It goes beyond the daily walk and occasional hike. We’re talking about dogs involved in agility training, field training, disc competitions, dock jumping, choreographed dancing, herding trials, dog racing … and the list goes on.
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Care of Your Sporting Dog
Be sure your dog is thoroughly evaluated by a veterinarian who specializes in active dog care before starting any dog sport. If your dog hasn’t been super active, he will first require some conditioning and weight management to help avoid injury. Just like humans, vigorous activity can bring about injuries or irritations to the eyes, nose, mouth, legs, feet, etc. So it’s important to know what to check for and to be prepared for administering first aid, if needed.
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You’ll also want to talk to your vet about the right diet for your sporting dog. If your dog is a weekend warrior, he probably would need some adjustment to his regular food to make sure he is getting the energy input he needs. But his regimen would differ from a farm dog that is herding every day for hours. In addition to making sure he is getting the muscle building proteins and amino acids, you’ll also want to talk about joint supplements to help build strong joint cartilage.
Hydration is critical - before, during and after sporting events. Talk to your vet about the conditions surrounding your typical sporting events. Will it be extremely hot and humid? How many non-stop hours of activity? Your vet can recommend hydration strategies so you can be prepared. In addition to bowls of water, your dog may need an oral electrolyte solution or an electrolyte gel to stay properly hydrated.
If you’re interested in learning more about the breeds naturally gifted for active sports, visit AKC’s website showcasing the Sporting Group. Ready, set, go!
Homemade Grain-Free Power Bars
Working dogs on the go can shed weight very quickly as well as feel a dip in energy. These power bars are a healthy high protein and high calorie alternative to junk food dog treats. Offering one or two during these high-octane activities will help restore energy and provide protein to help them perform to the best of their ability.
Sweet Potato and Banana Power Bars
3 cups of chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1 cup of boiled and mashed sweet potato
½ cup of mashed banana
¼ cup of raw local honey
Boil sweet potato until soft; mash and let cool. Mash enough banana to fill ½ cup. In a large bowl thoroughly mix the chickpea flour, sweet potato, banana, honey and egg together. The batter should be similar to a banana bread batter.
Grease a small cookie sheet with extra virgin olive oil and fill it with the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into small squares. Note: This size pan will yield bars about ¼ inch thick.
Already Involved in Stressful Competitions?
Already active in the competitive arena? Does your dog have the occasional bout of digestive upset (vomiting or diarrhea) brought on by the stress of competition? Then you’ll want to be prepared ahead of time with our product, Under the Weather® Chicken & Rice bland diet to help them soothe their digestive systems. Keep a few packages on hand of this bland diet recipe of 100% human-grade white meat chicken and white rice. Just add boiling water to rehydrate the product and it’s ready to go! No meat by-products, gluten free, no chemicals or dyes and made in the U.S.A.!
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