Gun dogs need a high protein diet to fuel their time in the field.

Hunting dogs are loyal working companions out in the field with their owners burning off calories. They spend a lot of time outdoors through inclement weather such as rain and snow. Because of the amount of energy gun dogs exert when working, their diet is vitally important. 

What is the best diet for hunting dogs?

The best diet for an active hunting dog is a diet high in protein, fat and nutrients. The protein and fat are used by the body as fuel while working and as energy to keep dogs warm while they are out in the elements. The nutrients help support the overall health and wellness of dogs. 

A raw diet like Vital Essentials has the perfect blend of fat, protein and vital nutrients to support the metabolic needs of hunting dogs. Vital Essentials diets for dogs are available in frozen and freeze-dried varieties and in several protein sources including Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Rabbit, Duck and Salmon. The different meats allow you to custom pick the food with the right blend of fat and protein to support your dog out in the field.

For example, Freeze-Dried Salmon Mini Nibs, Rabbit Mini Nibs and Duck Mini Patties contain high percentages of protein, healthy fat and they’re the perfect size to treat your dog to a quick bite while out in the field.

Before making any significant dietary changes, consult with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist to determine the most appropriate diet for your dog’s age, weight, body condition and activity level.

When should you feed your hunting dog?

When it comes to feeding your hunting dog before heading out to the field, a common question is, “when should I feed my dog?” A good rule of thumb is to feed your dog a calorie-packed meal at least 12 hours before hunting. The reason it’s best to wait so long is because it takes about 12 hours for your dog to fully digest the food you give them. When dogs are working out in the field, their adrenaline kicks in and if your dog has a full belly, the excitement can often cause unpleasant side effects for your dog, like vomiting or diarrhea.

You know your dog best and if waiting that long to feed your dog is unreasonable for your situation, then at a minimum feed your dog an hour before leaving to hunt. On days when your dog isn’t out hunting, it is best to feed your dog twice per day, about 12 hours apart. 

After a long day out in the field locating, running and retrieving game, your dog deserves a reward. There’s no better reward for a hunting dog than some hearty VE RAW BAR snacks like Duck Heads, Duck Hearts, and Duck Necks. VE RAW BAR is available in select stores so check out our Store Locator to find a VE RAW BAR retailer near you. 

Don’t forget to reward your dog during training, too. Freeze-Dried Dog Treats come in the perfect size for training, and in a variety of protein sources to entice your hound. Chicken Hearts, Duck Nibs, Beef Nibs, Minnows and Rabbit Bites are so popular among dog families that they come in a bigger size bag so dogs don’t run out so quickly. 

Do you love watching hunting shows or learning about new products from guys in the field? Well we’re happy to say that this year, Vital Essentials is being featured on Gun Dog TV. Watch it on The Outdoor Channel and you may catch an episode featuring our CEO, Lanny Viegut having a blast with the Gun Dog TV cast and crew! For more tips to keep your gun dog at peak performance, check out our other blog posts and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Subscribe to our email list for special savings and offers throughout the year.