The best hunting dog diet – How to use Omega oils & feed MEAT in the field.

nova scotia and retired labThe best hunting dog diet is always meat based.

This post is a continuation from the previous article on best hunting dog diets. It fills in some of the dots and gives practical methods of field feeding your dog the best food for performance.

IAM       Some trainers have tried just buying some fish oil capsules for administration to the dog, but this is not a practical method of providing the ideal fatty acid ratio for several reasons. First, it is difficult to give a pill every day to every dog in a typical bird dog kennel. Second, it is difficult if not impossible to get the total dietary fatty acid ratio of between 5:1 and 10:1 using capsules. Third, supplying additional Vitamin E in the diet is necessary with omega-3 supplementation. Vitamin E levels are already enhanced in dog foods with corrected omega-6: omega-3 ratios. And, fourth, omega-3 supplements are expensive.

A             This is where the IAMs story completely breaks down. Can you read how desperate they are to sell you propaganda? Don’t worry its the same story all dog food manufacturers wont you to buy, literally.

Point by point analysis:

” difficult to give a pill every day to every dog”  I would say if you cant be bothered about dog nutrition, you shouldn’t have a dog. Just because it is “difficult” shouldn’t stop you from doing what is right by your dog.

“.. difficult if not impossible to get the total dietary fatty acid ratio of between 5:1 and 10:1 using capsules.”

Wow rocket science here we come !  BE VERY AWARE that most pet food companies use flax seed oil as the source of omega 3 for your dog. That many papers suggest that Flax seed omega 3 only has a 5% conversion ratio into the ALA chemical that is then utilised by the dog. That’s right, only about 5% of the ALA chemical gets converted to the EPA and DHA chemicals that are required by the body to do any good. Research this for yourself.

You will notice that Omega 3 fish oils state their active ingredients as EPA and DHA already – dogs, rice is an excellent carbohydrate source for this reason.”

A   There are plenty of reasons why carbs are bad. Firstly dogs did not evolve to eat grains. This means that manufacturers have to pulverise and cook the grains to try and unlock any nutrition.

Second, grains are just filler to make people think they are getting a bag of food. Grains provide some vitamins and minerals, but usually both of these are inadequate amounts. They provide poor fats and very poor proteins.   The only real value of them is their insoluble fibre helping intestine health (if it is the right type of fibre).

IAM     ‘In one research project completed by Iams scientists, racing sled dogs were fed diets of 16, 24, 32, and 40% protein. None of the dogs on the 16% protein food made it though the training season without at least one injury serious enough to remove them from training. Dogs fed the 32% and 40% protein foods had no injuries. Having increased levels of protein in the diet makes sense for the competitive bird dog.”

A             Grains typically have a low percentage of protein in them, and not the quality protein supplied by meats.

Protein is composed of 22 amino acids – 12 the body can make the other ten are called ‘essential amino’ acids as they need to be supplied external to the body. All grains and most vegetables have low quality and low quantity of the amino acids a dog requires.

If you get the exact ratio of quality grains (not chaff) and legumes you can just about achieve the aafco min requirements of the ten amino acids, maybe. Alternatively you can grab just about any red meat and achieve the minimum requirements.

IAM  “Soybeans and corn gluten have been used for decades as a protein source in dog food because of their lower cost. The protein in plants can be quite digestible but high-quality animal source proteins provide superior amino acid balances when compared to vegetable based proteins like soybeans. Animal-based protein can also vary in quality and characteristics like digestibility and amino acid availability. But, in my experience appear to be more beneficial for hunting dogs. Protein quality cannot be conveyed though information presented on a dog food label.”

A             If you are out hunting, I am sure that you can stock up at a local supermarket on meat and offal and bones to keep feeding your dog a true meat raw diet. Keep it in a chiller box in your car or your motel room.

NOTE while raw meats might only be 27% protein, when dehydrated it will multiple the wet value by up to three times, meaning around 75% protein in quality jerkies.


Like all pet food manufacturer press releases (often disguised as crafty science papers) there is much information based on fact  mixed with very misleading comments to get you to buy their products.

Many bird hunting dog owner’s feed their dog’s a balanced raw diet.

For those that don’t, using a high animal fat, and high protein diet (whether that be via pellets or the raw diet is critical to great performance.

Omega 6 and Omega 3 amounts and ratios are also vital to great performances. Even if you use a manufactured dog food, note that the flax seed is unlikely to add the required amount of Omega 3 and you can supplement with fish oil capsules.

REF     (just search using the text strings in the quotes.


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