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3 Best Practices to Care for the Working Gun Dog

Working gun dogs can be a fantastic companion during hunting season. However, cold weather and deep snow can cause problems for your hunting dog, especially near the end of the hunting season. 

If you have a working dog, you must work with them year-round for them to be ready for the season each year. This includes providing them with a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, a sufficient amount of exercise to maintain stamina and endurance, and boosted gut health for overall health. 

1) Routine Checkups to the Veterinarian

Most dogs have an annual checkup once per year. However, working gun dogs should have more than this to ensure their health is in good order before returning to the hunt. Before hunting season starts and after your dog has been out in the great outdoors, you should do a preseason check and a midseason check to make sure they are in good health. 

Hunting dogs are in contact with all sorts of excrement and contaminated objects. The game birds or deer that are hunted, for example, could result in your dog coming into contact with contaminated water, pathogens from animal droppings, or ticks that carry lyme disease. 

Taking your dog to the vet a few times each year can make sure he stays on track and stays healthy. After all, if they're your hunting partner, they aren't only your best friend at home; they're your best friend in the field, and you want your companion to be as happy and healthy as possible.

2) Provide More Food

If you're a hunter, you likely have a number of working breed dogs. These dogs are often different sizes. Some are small, while others are large and muscular. Regardless of their size and breed, your hunting dogs need more food than other dogs. The reason for this is that these dogs need to be in top condition to help you out in the field.

Hunting dogs also need more food because they exercise more than regular household pets do. They run around all day long in order to chase down prey. This can be tiring work, which means that they burn through energy at a much faster rate than other dogs do. If they don't get enough food to replenish what they've lost, then they won't have enough energy for their next hunt.

Gun dog breeds have a high metabolic rate, which means they burn calories quickly. They tend to eat more, but the amount of food they need depends on the breed, age, and activity level of the dog. The average hunting dog eats about 4 cups per day, but some breeds need up to 7 cups or more.

3) Use Specific Supplements for Hunting Dogs

Hunting dogs may benefit from several types of supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps in their diet, especially if your hunting dog is one that prefers not to eat when they’re supposed to or is particularly picky. You may find the following supplements helpful:

  • Chondroitin and Glucosamine for Joint Health

  • Chondroitin and glucosamine are two supplements that promote joint health. These supplements are often used to help prevent canine arthritis or improve the quality of life for hunting dogs that already have arthritis.

    Both chondroitin and glucosamine are naturally found in the dog's body. However, as dogs age and become less active, their bodies may not produce enough to keep up with the natural wear and tear on their joints. This can lead to inflammation, which can result in pain and stiffness when hunting dogs move around. 

    By adding these supplements, you can help ensure your dog has enough of these nutrients to maintain joint health throughout his life.

  • Vitamin B12 for Cognitive Function

  • Vitamin B12 helps support healthy red blood cell production in dogs. It also boosts immunity and cognitive function because it's needed for nerve cell function. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in fish liver oils, so if you feed your hunting dog this type of food regularly, he might not need supplementation. 

    However, if you feed him dry kibble or other types of commercial dog food that don't contain fish liver oils or other sources of B12, he may benefit from supplementation.

  • Vitamin C to Reduce Inflammation

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps support immune function. It also helps heal wounds faster, which is important for hunting dogs, who often get injured during training or on a hunt. Vitamin C also helps reduce inflammation, which can help with pain relief for sore muscles and joints. Vitamin C can also help prevent heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.

  • Probiotics for Immune Health

  • The average dog is exposed to more than 10,000 different kinds of bacteria each day, so you can imagine how many bacteria your hunting dog is exposed to. These bacteria are naturally present in the environment and can be found on the ground, in grass, water, and even on our hands. Many of these bacteria are harmless or even beneficial to dogs. However, some can cause illness or infection if they gain access to your pet's body through the mouth, nose, or skin, especially without protection.

    Probiotics can offer some protection by adding beneficial bacteria to your pet’s gut. The good bacteria help keep the bad bacteria in check so that the gut microbiome is healthy and balanced. Since 70% of your dog’s immune system is in their gut, probiotics can also help your dog remain healthy overall and boost their immune-fighting power. 

    Choosing one that is antibiotic-resistant, like S. boulardii found in Daily Dog, is also helpful just in case your dog encounters a bacteria that absolutely requires antibiotics. 

  • CBD for Overall Well-Being

  • CBD works by interacting with receptors throughout the body to help regulate pain and inflammation. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2 receptors, and they’re found on every cell in the body. 

    When you give your dog CBD oil or treats, like Canine Cush, they bind to these receptors, increasing quality of life, preventing illness, and improving your dog’s health.

    There are many benefits of CBD oil for dogs, including:

    • Pain relief: CBD oil can help reduce inflammation and pain in your dog’s joints or muscles. This can make life easier for your dog, especially if they have arthritis or another painful condition that causes discomfort when they move around or exercise.
    • Relaxation: CBD oil also has an anti-anxiety effect on dogs, which helps them relax in stressful situations like being left home alone while their owners are away.
    • Reduces Inflammation: Helps reduce inflammation in joints or muscles and improve mobility overall by reducing stiffness and soreness after exercise or injury. 
    • Homeostasis: CBD brings the body back to homeostasis, or balance, by working with receptors in the endocannabinoid system to improve overall well-being. 

    Give Your Dog the Best

    A healthy dog is a happy dog. And when you’re hunting, a healthy dog is also a successful one.

    With the right supplements, you can help your pup maintain peak performance throughout the year and make sure they stay in top form for whatever challenges come their way.

    Read More:

    Essential Care for Hunting Dogs

    Beware These 6 Bird Dog Health Hazards

    Disease Precautions for Hunters

    What is the Best Nutrition for Hunting Dogs? 

    Nutrition Guidelines for Your Gun Dogs

    Photo by Josh Frenette on Unsplash