The relationship between farmers and their dogs is a long-established one and with good reason: It can be extremely difficult to run a farm without a good farm dog, whether their job is animal herding or catching rats or standing guard. Dogs are happiest when they have a job to do, and they're incredibly useful in the day-to-day running of any agricultural setup.
If your dog has such a demanding, active life, it stands to reason that they might need feeding a little more carefully than a dog who lolls around on a cushion all day! Just like humans, it's important for dogs to eat enough food to fuel their lifestyles. You shouldn't feed a working dog in exactly the same way as you would any other--so read on to learn more.
Remember that a dog's nutritional needs are not the same as a human's
We take our energy mostly from protein, which can easily come from either animal or plant sources. Carbohydrates help us to keep our stamina up and form at least half of our diet, while fats--which we know we should eat sparingly--aid us in the efficient usage of the energy gained from protein and carbs.
Dogs, on the other hand, work quite differently: the bulk of their stamina comes from fats, and a working dog requires a higher-fat diet than a non-working one. They also struggle to metabolise plant proteins efficiently, and--unlike humans, for whom vegetarian and vegan diets are entirely sufficient--need to rely mostly on animal proteins to keep themselves going. While they enjoy carbohydrates, they don't need them in the way that we do and it makes sense to keep a working dog's carb intake a little lower than that of a dog with no role.
Make sure your working dog's diet is relatively consistent
Dogs thrive on predictability, and their diets are no exception to this. Find a dog food with the right nutritional balance for your dog, making sure you choose one that has a real animal protein as the first ingredient, and plan out what you're going to supplement it with and how your dog's diet is going to be structured. And then stick to it! Treats and table scraps are absolutely fine in moderation, but they shouldn't form a significant portion of your dog's diet and you shouldn't allow your dog to come to expect them.
Get your dog on the same eating schedule as yourself and your human farm hands
If you have a working dog, you'll find that they work all the better when they feel as though they're a part of the pack with you and your farm hands. Figure out your dog's caloric needs, divide them by three and give your dog the same three meals as you do, feeding them just as you finish eating. This will make them feel a real part of the pack and help them to keep their energy up throughout the working day, just like it does for you!Share