PrimaDog Active dog food and two huting dogs

Hunting dog food – What to feed to a hunting dog?

Best hunting dog food keeps your trusty hunting companion fuelled up for the adventures in the great outdoors. The rhythm of a hunting dog's life can vary between active and resting seasons.

In many countries hunting seasons are tightly regulated. Most often, the most active hunting season falls in the autumn but can also extend into the winter months. Additionally, an active hunting dog requires training off-season also, so the energy needs of a hunting dog can remain high throughout the year. 

So, when it comes to hunting dog food, let's take a relaxed approach and make sure your four-legged friend is ready for action when it counts.

Feeding for endurance

Before we dive into the specifics of hunting dog food, it is important to know that the feeding routine of a hunting dog depends on the type of work the dog does in the field and the prevailing conditions. Wet swamps, deep snow, reeds, and other challenging terrains test a dog's fitness differently than dry coniferous forests. And let's not forget those long hunting days and multi-day excursions that can really put your dog's stamina to the test.

Before the hunting season, it is time to start tweaking your hunting dog's diet as needed. Think of it as fine-tuning a radio station to catch the best beats. Just like you dress for the weather, your dog's diet should adapt to the demands of the hunting days. You can tell if the hunting dog food is appropriate when the dog has enough energy in the field without losing or gaining weight.

If you train your dog regularly outside the hunting season, plan your four-legged hunting companion's daily feeding according to the needs of an active sports and working dog. Read our article on feeding an active dog.

Hunting dog food during the active hunting season

Go slow with changes: If your dog's diet was on the chill side during the resting period, do not rush into a high-fat diet. Gradual changes are the way to go to avoid any stomach troubles, so start making dietary changes for the active season early. Check out PrimaDog's instructions on changing dog’s diet.

Fuel up with fat and protein: Your hard-working dog needs enough fat and animal-based protein to perform at its best. Look for dry dog food with around 30–35% protein and 20–22% fat. You can also add fatty meats and sausages for dogs into the dog’s diet to give extra boost and hydration to keep the furry hunter going. Fatty meats and fish are good supplements, especially for dogs that tend to lose weight easily.

Prep ahead: Feed your dog a hearty, energy-packed meal 8–12 hours before the hunt. This ensures the dog is ready to roll and full of energy without any digestive discomfort. Save about 100 grams of the dog’s meal, mix it with water and serve it a few hours before the hunt. This helps your dog maintain its hydration balance.

Snack smart: During long hunts or training sessions, offer your dog small snacks every few hours. It is like a mini recharge that keeps the dog’s energy levels up. PrimaDog's meaty sausages for dogs are perfect snacks for a day out hunting. You can store them at room temperature when they are still sealed, and they are easy to divide into just the right-sized treats for your furry friend.

Remember rest: After a day of hunting, wait a couple of hours before serving your dog its main meal. It is all about letting your four-legged hunting companion relax and let that tummy do it thing. Proper digestion is the key before the next hunting adventure! During an active hunting season your dog deserves some solid rest and recovery time after all that running around. It has earned it!

For hunting dog food you will want to check out PrimaDog Active Duck & Herring dry food. It is packed with 30% protein and 22% fat, giving your dog the energy it needs for chasing both small and big game. Grain-free recipe fits great for sensitive stomachs, and added joint supplements help your dog's joints handle all that action. Want to know more? Explore the product.

PrimaDog labrador eating meaty Mini Meals

Hunting dog food during off-season

Gentle recovery: During the off-season, your dog's body rests, recharges, and gets ready for the adventures ahead. Top-notch protein sources are key for a proper recovery. The amino acids in animal-based proteins are like the repair crew for hard-working muscles that have been put through their paces.

Quality in the bowl: Do not skimp on quality. Even off-season hunting dog food should always be top-notch, but the protein and fat levels in the food can be slightly lower. Look for protein levels around 25–27% and fat content between 15–20% in dry food. For instance, dry foods PrimaDog Grain-Free Venison & Turkey and wheat-free PrimaDog Lamb & Potato fall within this range.
Enough exercise: Even during the resting period, it is vital to keep your furry friend moving to maintain its muscles and fitness. So, do not cut back too much on the protein and fat levels in hunting dog food. It is all about keeping the dog in tip-top shape, even when it is taking it easy.

Weight watching: If your dog is chowing down on food with less fat during the chill-out season, you might not need to change the portion size. Just keep an eye on the dog’s weight and tweak the diet if necessary. We want our furry companions to feel satisfied, so sometimes opting for food with lower fat content is a smarter move than cutting down on portion size. Happy, well-fed dogs make happy owners!

Hydration for the hunt

Hunting can be thirsty work, and it is crucial to keep your dog well-hydrated, especially when it is scorching hot outside. For instance, gun dogs may retrieve many birds during early autumn dove hunting trips, and poor fluid and energy intake can leave your dog exhausted.

Keep your hunting dog hydrated with grain-free PrimaDog Mini Meals. They are easily dissolved in water and their delicious taste will tempt even the most finicky barker to empty out its water bowl. Learn more about the products. 

3 tips for keeping your dog engine running smoothly

  1. Stay hydrated: Dogs need their water. Even cooler weather can make your dog thirsty. Ensure the dog gets enough water before heading out and take breaks during the hunt. Heavy work can raise your dog's daily water need to as much as five litres.
  2. Water breaks: During the breaks, encourage your dog to drink about two decilitres of water at a time. Do not wait until the dog is panting heavily to offer refreshment.
  3. Relax when needed: If your dog looks tired or seeks shade with a lolling tongue, it is time to call it a day.

Delicious PrimaDog Wheat-free Meals are a brilliant way to make sure your dog has plenty of energy for hunting days and hunt tests. What is great about these complete wet dog foods is that they are easy to serve right from the pouch and they support your dog’s hydration. Also, no need to worry about refrigeration; you can simply toss an unopened pouch in your bag, and your dog can enjoy a tasty meal wherever you are. Curious to learn more? Check out the products. 

A happy and well-fed hunting dog is a trusty companion in the great outdoors. So, whether you are gearing up for an action-packed hunting season or enjoying some downtime, make sure your furry friend gets the right hunting dog food to keep the adventures rolling.

PrimaDog wheat-free wet dog food meals