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Tag: K9

Feeding Tips for Working Dogs

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Schutzhund USA Magazine.

We all know that active working dogs have higher nutritional requirements than the typical house dog. These dogs are athletes with the corresponding caloric requirements that go along with the elevated energy and activity levels. For the high performance dog, though, it’s not only about meeting nutritional requirements. When and how you feed can have a significant impact on the performance level of your working dog. Here are a few key feeding and management tips for hard working dogs.

Feeding Before Work

One of the most frequent discussions to come up with regard to feeding working dogs is how long to before extensive work it’s best to feed your dog. Regardless of how you might view working out yourself on an empty stomach, a dog that has fasted is likely to perform far better than a dog that’s been fed too recently. As dogs will store energy, feeding 6-12 hours before an extended work period is going to give you the best results. This allows for full digestion so your dog can store energy and also helps reduce the risk of physical issues like twist, or bloat.

Feeding After WorkFeeding Working Dogs

Since your dog fasted before work you don’t want to make them fast too long after. You do want to make sure they have a sufficient cooling off period, though, before introducing food after the workout. Water soon after work followed by a 30-60 minute cooling off period should be sufficient for your dog to adjust. After that, feed when they’re ready and make sure to continue to offer plenty of fresh, clean water.

What to Feed

This one is pretty simple. For working dogs, you get the best results by feeding fat at higher levels than you would think is healthy. Optimally, your working dog should be getting a diet with 40-50% of the calories coming from fat. Dogs burn fat far more efficiently than we humans do and you’ll get far more endurance from a high fat diet. They still make use of protein and carbohydrates, but a high fat diet, combined with a fasting period before heavy work, allows your working dog to function at peak efficiency.

It’s also important to note that keeping your dog on a fairly high fat diet year round is likely to shorten the adjustment periods from lower activity needs to higher ones. Basically, feed a performance diet year round even if you need to feed a bit less when the dog isn’t working as hard. Decreasing the fat levels in the diet just to decrease the calories can actually be counterproductive to maintaining the desired fitness level.

Feeding and Management

Feeding a quality food is an essential component of working dog health and performance. It’s what we do here at Kinetic and we’re extremely passionate about it. Still, we recognize that there’s more to a feeding program than just the food. Proper feeding and management practices together can help you get the best performance from your working dogs as well as setting them up for optimal long term health.

Why We Started a Dog Food Company

Kinetic Co-Owner Dave Dourson talks about why they started a dog food company focused on the needs of working and sporting dogs.

Vohne Liche Kennels and Kinetic Announce 2017 K-9 of the Year

Officer Jonathan Kolb and K-9 Cento Selected

Press release published nationally through Online PR Media.

(Denver, IN) – Vohne Liche Kennels, a full service K-9 training facility for Police and Military Service Dogs, and Kinetic Performance Dog Food, named Officer Jonathan Kolb and K-9 Cento of the Aurora Police Department in Aurora, Indiana as the winners of the 2017 K-9 of the Year contest.  Officer Kolb and Cento will be awarded a one year supply of Kinetic Performance Dog Food for the winning photo submission. In addition, Cento’s winning photo will be featured in Kinetic and Vohne Liche media and marketing materials for 2017.

Police K9 Cento INOfficer Kolb and Cento were selected as the winners by Vohne Liche owner, Ken Licklider, and other members of the Vohne Liche Team. “We work with dogs and handlers from 46 states in the U.S. and more than 20 foreign countries each year,” said Licklider. “Officer Kolb and Cento are a great example, from right here in our home state, of our program to develop the finest working police and military K-9 teams in the world.”

“Vohne Liche Kennels is a great partner and well known as one of the best in the business when it comes to working police and military K-9 dogs and training,” added Dave Dourson, Co-Founder of Kinetic Performance Dog Food. “We couldn’t be prouder of working with them on this contest to help showcase working K-9 teams like Officer Kolb and Cento.”

Cento is 6 ½ years old and has only been paired up with Officer Kolb for a few months. In referencing the photo, Officer Kolb shared, “The winning photo was actually submitted by Cento’s previous handler before we were paired up. Cento is a veteran and never seems too shy around a camera so we have a lot of great working photos.”

About Vohne Liche Kennels

Founded in 1993 by United States Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Kenneth Licklider, Vohne Liche Kennels is simply the best in the industry in training K-9 Teams for protection duty anywhere in the world. The training staff at VLK consists of eighteen on site trainers and six off site trainers all whom are either former military, law enforcement or both. Vohne Liche trained K-9 Teams can be found working at any number of local, state and federal agencies including the Pentagon, NSA, DoD, US State Department, US Army and over 500 other US government, police, military and civilian agencies. To learn more about Vohne Liche Kennels and their training methods, you can visit their website: www.vohneliche.com.

Getting to the Meat of Dog Food

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2016 Issue of Vohne Liche Kennels’ American Working Dog Magazine.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation in the world of dog food when it comes to ingredients. We’ve touched on some of these in the past when discussing the perceived benefits of grain free foods. Another common misconception is the perceived superiority of whole meats versus meals and by-products. To illustrate the flaws in this, we’ll use the various forms of chicken used in dog food as examples.

 

Pet Food Meats Defined

Following is a summary of how AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) defines these three ingredients. For clarity I’m paraphrasing but it is an accurate characterization of each of the definitions.

 

  • Chicken: Chicken meat, skin and boneKinetic Dog Food Vohne Liche Kennels
  • Chicken Meal: Chicken meat, skin and bone which has been ground and dried
  • Chicken By-Product Meal: Chicken meat, skin, bone, necks, unborn eggs, cleaned entrails, feet and organs which has been ground and dried

 

Now if you believe most of what’s spread around the internet, you’d probably rank the quality of these ingredients in the order shown above. In reality, you’d probably be doing your dogs a nutritional disservice. In most cases, we’d encourage you to move “Chicken” to the last spot on the list and here are three very good reasons why.

 

3 Reasons Meat Meals are Better

Reason #1: Chicken is about 80% water. This means you’ll get about 5 times more meat from both Chicken Meal and Chicken By-Product Meal than you will from whole Chicken. During the manufacturing process all that water is cooked out and you’re left with basically Chicken Meal except only about 20% as much as if you’d have started with a meal.

 

Reason #2: Many foods that use whole Chicken immediately follow it up with some other ingredient to account for the protein they missed out on by not using a meal to begin with. In many cases, this is a vegetable protein, such as Corn Gluten Meal, which dogs absorb at only about half the rate they do a meat protein. In short, you replaced the missing protein with only half of what you should have.

 

Reason #3: As unsavory as it may seem to many people, there’s actually excellent nutrition in the by-product components of Chicken By-Product Meal. Hearts, livers, feet and even clean entrails provide a protein dense meal with a broad nutrient profile that offers nutritional benefits not found in regular Chicken Meal. While it may not sound appetizing, dogs both enjoy it and thrive on it.

 

Specific is a Must

One final distinction that may seem small but is actually pretty important is making sure your meat sources are specific. While a by-product meal may be acceptable, or even preferred, we’d limit that to only those that are known and named. If you see a generically named ingredient such as Poultry By-Product Meal or Meat and Bone Meal, you’re probably better off to avoid those foods. The generic terminology allows for least cost usage of different protein sources in your food. This means you’re quite likely to get a different quality and type of meal from one bag of food to the next. For safety sake, you’re better off avoiding the mystery meat and sticking with something you know.

Should Your Dog Be Grain Free

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2016 Issue of Vohne Liche Kennels’ American Working Dog Magazine.

Why the Push for Grain Free

Over the last decade there’s been a big push on grain free pet foods. Some say they’re healthier as dogs wouldn’t eat grain in the wild. Others say they’re better because grains cause allergies. The truth is that neither of those positions is very accurate and there are good reasons grains have been in dog food for many decades.

 

Labrador Grain Free Dog FoodDog Food and Starch

Basically, every commercial dry dog food kibble has some kind of carbohydrate source in it which provides starch and fiber. Traditionally those starches were primarily provided by grains. In the grain free diets, they simply replaced the starch from the grains with starch from other plant and vegetable matter like peas or carrots. Are these better sources for your dog? They may be marginally better but often they aren’t. They just look better on the label. From a digestibility standpoint, rice is a better source of starch and digestible fiber than almost all the trendy new fruit and vegetable ingredients.

 

Eating Grain in the Wild

While it’s true that dogs much prefer to eat meat and fat, they will consume plant matter such as grains and can survive on them. They convert protein from plant matter much less efficiently than animal protein but can break down the carbohydrates into simpler starches and burn the calories. A hungry dog in the wild would be just as likely to eat corn as peas or carrots although none of them should represent the bulk of a canine diet.

 

Grains as Allergens

While recent consumer perceptions have turned a negative eye to grains as a common source of allergies in their dogs, this is very rarely the case. In fact, your dog is much more likely to develop an allergy to meat and dairy products than to any grain. In addition, the most common grain sources linked to allergies are wheat, soy and corn, and these are often not included in the better premium dog foods. It’s a very rare dog that shows any sort of allergic reaction to grains like rice or sorghum.

 

Grain Free is a People Thing

The reality is that the push for grain free has been primarily driven by people’s desire to feed their dog as more of a family member than a dog. Dog food companies simply responded to consumer demand despite the fact that there’s no compelling nutritional benefit to a grain free diet. At the end of the day, a high quality, nutritionally balanced food should contain good sources of carbohydrates and certain grains are some of the best sources you can buy.

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