You can go to the gym every day, but if your diet consists of fast food breakfast biscuits and caramel lattes, burgers and fries, and shakes and sodas, then you'll never get the full benefit your workouts could provide. It's really very simple, put good stuff in you--lean proteins, with an appropriate balance of the right carbs and fats--and you'll feel, look, and perform better. The same holds true for your gun dog. His retrieving, pointing, and flushing are his version of the gym, and that means you need to feed him right and keep his other health maintenance issues attended to with quality products that enable him to work with the style, vim, and vigor you expect. Here are some of the best food and health products available today to do just that.
Blue Buffalo Feel kind of "earthy" about your own nutrition? Like to stay away from chemical ingredients and preservatives when you can? Well, why not take the same approach to your dog's nutrition? You can, with Blue Buffalo. This uniquely named company keeps things all-natural when it comes to your pooch's food. It starts with de-boned chicken, lamb, or fish, and then adds in grains and anti-oxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. What it doesn't add is corn, soy, or wheat, ingredients many dogs today have an allergic reaction to. Key to Blue Buffalo dog foods are the LifeSource Bits. Developed by a team of scientists and holistic vets, LifeSource Bits blend essential vitamins, minerals, and other assets that BB says have been shown to not only support your dog's immune system, but also protect it against potential effects from environmental toxins. The Blue Wilderness packaging is specifically designed for super active dogs, but if you really want to go green, try the company's Blue Organics formula.
Cargill This giant company has its cooks in a lot of kitchens, everything from financial management to salt to commodity processing. It also has a viable and well respected animal nutrition division, and its top tier Nutrena Loyall line is just what the vet ordered for your sporting dog. Developed at the Cargill Innovation Campus, which gathers animal nutrition experts from around the world to create and apply sound nutrition for real-world needs, Loyall is available in seven dog formulas (as well as one for barn cat). Of high interest to sportsmen will be its High Performance 24/20 blend. With enhanced levels of essential nutrients such as glucosamine, organic trace minerals, and Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, this food keeps your dog going mile after mile, retrieve after retrieve. It even freshens his breath and helps keep teeth clean. Cargill was thinking about you, too, though, when it designed Loyall--its EZ Open bag design does away with the pain of hard-to-grasp pull-twine or glue-sealed bags that take an engineering degree and/or utility knife to open.
Iams/Eukanuba Is your gun dog on the clock every day hunting season's open? Then he needs his tank refueled with a top op-end dog food like Eukanuba's Premium Performance 30/20. Engineered specifically for hard working, hard driving sport canines with an optimal mix of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, the food's No.1 ingredient is chicken. It also has the added benefits of L-Carnetine for added and sustained energy; JointFlex, Eukanuba's naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitan sulfate natural fish oil for a healthy coat; beet fiber to aid in digestion; and DentaDefense, a micro-crystal coating on the kibble that promotes dental health. Of other interest to sporting dog owners, specifically those with Labradors that don't get out into the field very often and are experiencing weight issues, will be the Labrador Retriever formula. Designed to address the joint and weight issues that this breed faces, this formula actually helps to burn fat, thanks to the addition of L-Carnetine. This in turn helps keep the stresses of extra weight off of sensitive joints. Joints also get added support with high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.
Kent Pet Foods When two of the biggest bird conservation organizations take on a dog food for a national sponsor, you can be fairly sure they didn't make that kind of decision lightly. So when Pheasants Forever and Quail Unlimited made the decision to partner with Kent's Native dog food, people sat up and took a look at this line of performance dog feeds. Without using wheat, soy, or corn, without by-products and chemical preservatives, Kent's four Native formulas are geared to move your dog through progressive levels of training stress and their resulting energy needs without upsetting his gut. Start with Level 1, a lamb-fish-rice mix with a protein:fat ratio of 24:14 when beginning a regular exercise program. Move on to Level 2's 26:16 when you begin the, say, stressful training of force-fetching or "whoa" work. Running long triple mark drills? You'll want to step up to Level 3's 30:20 mix, and during hunting and trialing season, then move on one more time to Level 4's 35:25 blend. Your dog is sure to thank you for this kind of careful feeding to meet his needs by delivering stellar performance every time you drop him off the truck.
KENT PET FOODS
Purina For several years now, Purina's Pro Plan has been one of the top tier dog foods on the market. It continues to be so, especially with two of its most recent offerings. The new-to-shelves Shredded Blend is available in three meat-and-rice blends--beef, chicken,--and Purina claims it s one of its most palatable blends ever. I can't say I'd argue with that assessment. I recently gave this blend of hard kibble and tender strips a whirl with my Lab and pointer, were nuts about it. This blend just might be the answer for your harder keepers or for those traveling dogs that get too antsy to eat on the road. Also new, and following the holistic approach many dog nutrition companies are promoting today, is the Selects line. Available in puppy, dog, and senior dog blends, the all-natural formulas do away with corn, animal by-products, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, while adding in things like sweet potatoes, blueberry pomace, barley, and brown rice to improve antioxidant availability and great taste. As you'd expect from Purina, the No.1 ingredient in Selects is always high-quality fish or poultry.
Natural Balance Original Ultra Ultra Premium Dog Formulas are used and respected worldwide by top trainers, breeders, veterinarians, kennels, and caring pet owners who want the best for their animals. Each of their Ultra Premium Formulas has its own unique combination of quality meats, brown rice, oatmeal, potatoes, fresh carrots, flaxseed and other fine ingredients that provides the most natural balance of nutrition for your dog. Natural Balance Original Ultra Ultra Premium Formula is formulated for all life stages, from puppies through adulthood.
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Bayer/K9 Advantix Not only are fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes high on the list of annoyances, they're a distinct danger to your health and your dog's. K9 Advantix is the quick fix for your dog, because it not only kills all three of these pesky pests, it actually repels them through the use of imidacloprid and permethrin--yes, the same ingredients found in a host of insecticides you're familiar with for personal and home use, but in levels safe for your dog. Use Advantix just once a month, and you'll not only stop biting fleas from their chewing within minutes, it'll kill them before they lay eggs. Ticks are repelled and killed before they can attach, and mosquitoes get the same treatment, with their feeding reduced up to a whopping 95.2 percent. Now that's protection!
Happy Jack Your hunting dog is a working dog, bar none, and when he's had a long day in the field, and when those long days pile up over the long years, parts of him are going to start hurting. Give him a boost of relief with Flexenhance from Happy Jack. With glucosamine and creatine--that's right, creatine, the same compound many human athletes use--as its active ingredients, Flexenhance works to actually backtrack damage to joints, bones, cartilage and muscle fiber The results are improved mobility and flexibility. That means more s in the f e d for both of you and isn't that what it's all about?
Intervet As hunting dog owners in the 21st Century, we're privileged to have a bevy of products that stop pests that transmit bad things to our four-legged companions. But some parasites cause big problems in our dogs that these treatments can't prevent, things like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and other intestinal parasites. For these you need a broad-spectrum dewormer. Intervet's Safeguard is an excellent choice for this type of dog care. It can be used in pups as young as six weeks old and can even be used in pregnant bitches. Available over-the-counter, Safeguard used every six months is the smart way to rid your dog of any unseen parasites and keep him at his healthy best.
Mendota Products There are a growing number of sports drinks available to human athletes, and now there's one for your dog! Mendota Product's Rehydrate is a tab-form electrolyte that, when added to his water during and after workouts, replenishes essentials like sodium and potassium to recharge him. The tabs also contain vitamin C and a host of other antioxidants to give some extra oomph to the other reserves he uses up in his working day. And don't worry about your dog turning his nose up at this. Each Rehydrate tab has flavor added that will encourage him to drink what he needs. The tabs are also packaged with the human factor in mind--10 tabs come in a plastic tube that fits easily in the breast pocket of your waders or upland vest.
Outdoor Safety If one of hunting companions your always seems to be Murphy's Law, then you need to pack along a Sports Canine First Aid Kit from Outdoor Safety. This company's been putting its kits together for nearly 20 years, and they've got it down to a fine science. There are six kits to choose from. The top of the line is the Pro Model #3030. From Benadryl to hydration mix, trauma pad to SAM splints, this kit has nearly everything but the vet himself packed inside. Don't need quite so much, maybe just something to tuck in your field vest? Then take a gander at the Gun Dog Field Kit. This smaller-sized unit has fewer items, but they're the important ones that'll get many injuries patched up enough to either keep you hunting or get you and your dog on your way back to the truck and more thorough medical attention.
Ready Dog There's nothing worse than sending your dog into deep cover or splashing into the water, only to see him reemerge limping or bleeding. No matter what injury has occurred, you'll be better prepared to handle it if you have a Ready Dog First Aid Kit with you. These kits were actually developed specifically for dogs in the field, including law enforcement, hunting, and trial competitor canines. The Gun Dog Kit is the one readers of this feature will be interested in It has the tools to remedy a face full of porcupine quills, the jagged gash from a barbed wire fence, a skunk encounter, and just about any other mishap that could befall your dog. In fact, from reams of gauze to paramedic shears, Kelly forceps, cold compresses, skin stapler, antihistamine tablets and even honey packets (good for getting down other pills and giving a blood sugar boost), you'll be hard-pressed to find a better or more properly equipped dog first aid kit. Best of all, part of the kit detaches from the main unit so you can stuff it in your bird vest or shell bag and take it afield, where you're likely to need it most.
TriForce/The Duff Company If your dog has fleas, he could also have tapeworms. Running in tick-heavy country? Then he's exposed to Lyme's disease and, in some places, Rocky Mountain spotted fever. And mosquitoes, well, from West Nile virus to heartworms, this pest is way past being annoying. So top them all with TriForce Canine Squeeze-On. This once-monthly topical preventative kills fleas and their eggs and their larvae, kills and repels ticks and mosquitoes, and prevents re-infestation of fleas and ticks for a full nine weeks on each application. Available in four formulas based on your dog's weight, from toy breeds to large.
TRIFORCE/THE DUFF COMPANY
ZoomDog Joint pain is eventually going to be a fact of life for most, if not all, working dogs as they age. They work hard, pounding the ground for miles on end, and their joints take the brunt of the punishment. With ZoomDog Hunt Dog Hunt Performance Formula supplement, though, you can help improve joint strength and prolong your dog's productive days in the field. It's chock full of a host of anti-oxidants, as well as chondroitan, glucosamine, collagen, and a plethora of other good things. These help combat the free radicals that are produced Uring aerobic exercise, thus aiding your in going pain free when the hunting is rigorous.
Source Citation:Pearsall, Jennifer L.S. "Performance boosters.(2009 BIRD HUNTER'S CLASSIC: CANINE FOOD & MEDICAL SUPPLIES)." Gun Dog 28.5 (Sept 2009): 90(4). General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 24 Sept. 2009
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