Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

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Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby Dakotazeb » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:14 am

On another forum we have a bit of a debate going regarding giving dogs anything (food or snack) during the hunting day. I'm of the belief that if you feed your dog an adequate diet of a quality dog food that there is no need to give them a snack during the day. I feed my dogs once a day in the evening and have never felt they needed anything during a day of hunting except for water. The breeders and vets I have talked to do not suggest feeding the morning before a trial or hunt so I can't believe feeding them anything during the hutn would be good. I know there are some vets on this site so I would like everyones opinion. Thanks.
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby Doc E » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:03 am

Unless a dog has a blood sugar regulation problem, there is no need to feed during the hunt.
It takes an otherwise healthy dog 12 to 16 hours to fully digest a meal.

I feed two times a day. 1/3 is apx 12 hours before the inactive period and 2/3 is fed about 12 hours before periods of lots of activity (hunting/training etc).



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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby sbirkey » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:51 pm

My 4 1/2 year old DD took the last week's duck hunting in SD pretty hard in that he was completely pooped out after 3 days. I've never seen him so wiped. Water was extremely cold and the dog is very lean because of a recent trial. I did not increase his feeding and I assume that is at least partly the reason why he ran out of energy sooner than usual. The water temps were incredibly low also, but he has been able to sustain activity in previous years. The last day of hunting him he actually ran to the water edge and whined before me giving him another prompt to fetch--he wanted the bird so bad but acted as if the water temps were just too cold. I've only seen that once before from him and after a multi-day hunt in cold temps. He wears a vest. Any other suggestions for getting him ready for cold water/temps during extended duck hunting forays?
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby Dakotazeb » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:58 pm

I'm certainly no expert but I would try increasing his ration before and during the hunt. My other suggestions was to get a good neoprene vest but you say he already wears one. I'm sure the some other DD or GWP owners might have some insight on this. While the DD's do well in the duck blind extended periods in cold water are going to have an effect. They are not a Lab or Chessie and do not have coat of these dogs to withstand as much wet and cold.
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby SelahCowgirl » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:34 pm

Personally I would feed him. When we (people) work hard we need more calories to keep our energy up. Marathon runners eat while they race, same with endurance riders, when they stop they feed their mounts. Most athletes eat more when they are in training or on a competition day. Same with animals in my opinion.

I am not saying add a whole full meal, but something that will give quick calories will probably help keep the energy up.
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby Doc E » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:52 am

SelahCowgirl wrote:Personally I would feed him. When we (people) work hard we need more calories to keep our energy up. Marathon runners eat while they race, same with endurance riders, when they stop they feed their mounts. Most athletes eat more when they are in training or on a competition day. Same with animals in my opinion.

I am not saying add a whole full meal, but something that will give quick calories will probably help keep the energy up.



We humans (and horses) digest and metabolize food markedly differently than dogs.
Kind of depends on the source of "quick calories" ---- some of them will cause a resultant significant drop in blood sugar after the initial "high".



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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby APR » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:52 am

SelahCowgirl wrote:Personally I would feed him. When we (people) work hard we need more calories to keep our energy up. Marathon runners eat while they race, same with endurance riders, when they stop they feed their mounts. Most athletes eat more when they are in training or on a competition day. Same with animals in my opinion.

I am not saying add a whole full meal, but something that will give quick calories will probably help keep the energy up.


Dogs are not like people in that regard. Hunt them on a empty stomach. No food for 2hrs before and 2hrs after hunt. I lost a Pudelpointer due the GDV...it's not pretty.

From Docs post above, "Unless a dog has a blood sugar regulation problem, there is no need to feed during the hunt.
It takes an otherwise healthy dog 12 to 16 hours to fully digest a meal."
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby SelahCowgirl » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:14 am

Thanks it looks like I need to read up a bit more before I open my mouth. :)
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby orhunter » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:20 pm

Chukar hunts can last all day and the weather can be very cold and damp. It takes an incredible amount of calories to keep a dog going for 7 or 8 hrs. I do feed some but not till after four hours and in very small increments. A small piece of bread with peanut butter or bread and egg (french toast) kind of thing. Some dogs are suseptible to upset stomach without something to eat and this can prevent puking up bile as well as a small energy boost. The amount of food I give is so small, it cannot cause stomach torsion. As long as the dog is running good, they get nothing till we're walking back to the truck. I want them to have enough energy to want to eat when it's time. Dogs can be so spent at the end of a long day, they won't eat.
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby Stu » Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:00 pm

I am currently feeding my pup (who will be 6 months old at the end of this month) 3 times a day, 2 cups per feeding. We are leaving for SD on Fri. Should I feed him 3 cups morning and 3 cups night or should I give him his afternoon feeding and rest him a couple of hours? I am leaning toward the first option. As I do not want him to miss out on anything.
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby orhunter » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:42 pm

Stu:

That's way too much food in the morning and in my opinion way too much food for the entire day. I don't know what you're feeding but the volume is way out of porportion to the total calories needed to maintain proper health. For my dogs, the morning meal consists of around 1/4 cup of dry with a fried egg. The evening meal is 1 1/2 cups dry with a little canned (probably equal to 1/4 cup or less of dry) and some yogurt. On hunting days, the evening meal is is equal to two cups dry. They get a dog biscuit at 8:00 PM. In the summer, I have to switch to weight control food mixed with their regular food to keep them from getting fat. I'm keeping my dogs healthy and close to their correct weight with less than half the volume you're feeding.
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby sbirkey » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:26 pm

Based on my experience with my dog, this isn't an unusual amount that he is feeding depending on the dog's age, weight, daily activities, and dog-specific needs (such as how they process food). Each dog is different. I used to be able to feed my dog about this much when he was young and he would barely gain weight. I moved him to a higher protein diet (BG) and can now feed much less (about 4 1/2 cups a day) during hunting season. This keeps him at a steady weight (around 70 lbs). My particular dog has always had stomach issues and it took a long time to find the right food and food amounts. I also use Purina's Probiotic to control his gas and stool firmness. It took a long time, but I finally figured out what works for my dog. Don't let others tell you what works or doesn't work for your specific dog. A higher quality food may make it easier for you to feed less--it did for me.

As for feeding before, during, and after hunting--I've heard it all. Most everyone can agree that feeding a lot within 2 hours of hunting a dog hard could cause torsion/bloat. I have a good friend whose dog got torsion without him screwing up this general rule, so go figure. A little during the hunt may help with energy amounts, especially if you have a dog that can become hypo/hyper glycemic--I always forget which is which. Regardless, some dogs need the sugar more than others. I personally feed before the hunt (at least 1-2 hours) but half the amount I normally do int he morning, and then the remainder at least 2 hours after he is done hunting. Depending on the amount of energy expenditure I also feed small treats throughout the hunt (bananas, granola bars, a little meat from my sandwich). I've had vets tell me to give them karo syrup during the hunt to keep. Again, this all can be dog-by-dog basis. Try different things, within reason and never feed when the dog's heart rate is elevated or just about to be elevated (hard work) to avoid bloat/torsion. I've also heard folks say that food that expands more when wetted can cause more of a problem than others, but who knows for sure.

Good luck finding what works.
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby Stu » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:38 pm

I feed him Pro Plan puppy chicken and rice, there is never any left over, stools are good, and he's a healthy weight. He eats at 6am and you can't hunt till 10am in SD. At home he is usually very active he gets at least 2 longer outings romping through the woods. How can you tell if your dog has a blood sugar problem? Are they similar symptoms to humans? Cause I am very familiar with those.How about those who free feed? Thanks for the info so far, Stu
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby zcook06 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:58 pm

Personally I let my dogs free feed, but usually ill take the bowl up the night before a hunt. After the hunt I will usually give them a little something extra tho, like some canned food or something, to try and make up for the calories burned during the hunt. The only snack that they get in the field are those little snacks they find themselves. Lol.
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Re: Feeding Dogs during the Hunt

Postby Doc E » Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:29 am

zcook06 wrote:Personally After the hunt I will usually give them a little something extra tho, like some canned food or something, to try and make up for the calories burned during the hunt.


Canned food is MUCH less nutritious than kibble............... It's usually 74% water and take a look at the Protein/Fat compared to your kibble.



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