The Perfect Dry Dog Food for Active Breeds

October 3, 2023
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The Perfect Dry Dog Food for Active Breeds

When it comes to our pets, ensuring they have the right nutrition is essential to their overall well-being. This is especially true for active dog breeds who rely on their strength and energy levels to maintain a happy and healthy life. 

An active dog requires more protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates in their diet than a less active dog breed. If you have an active dog, you’ll need to get informed about the type of food, and the ingredients of said food in order to make sure you’re feeding your pet a diet that will maintain their health needs.

In this article, we will go over the importance of providing the perfect dry dog food for active breeds, as well as guide you in choosing the best options for your four-legged companion.

Why is Nutrition Important for Active Breeds?

Active dog breeds, such as Border Collies and German Shepherds, are typically higher-energy dogs than less active breeds. As such, these breeds need a specific blend of vitamins and nutrients in their food so that they can maintain their activity levels. This means that careful consideration is required when choosing your pet’s food, both by brand and formulation. A well-balanced diet not only ensures that your dog has the energy they need for their daily activities, but it also supports their muscle development, joint health, and overall vitality.

Examples of Active Dog Breeds

Several dog breeds can be considered particularly active, regardless of their size and age. Here are a few dog breeds that typically have higher energy levels than other breeds.

  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Beagle
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Greyhound
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Belgian Malinois
  • German Shorthaired Pointer

Choosing Dog Food for Active Breeds

Choosing the right dog food for an active breed isn’t always as easy as walking into a pet store, grabbing a bag of food, and assuming it will provide your dog with everything he or she needs in order to thrive. When selecting dry dog food for your active breed, it's important to consider several key factors:

  • Nutritional requirements: Active breeds need a diet that provides them with a higher level of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to fuel their activities. Look for dog food formulas specifically designed for active or performance breeds.
  • Protein content: Protein is essential for muscle development and repair. Choose a dry dog food that contains high-quality sources of protein, such as chicken, beef, or fish.
  • Fat content: Fat is an excellent source of energy for active dogs. Opt for dry dog food that contains moderate levels of healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Carbohydrates provide sustained energy for your dog throughout the day. Look for dry dog food that contains whole grains and vegetables.
  • Presence of vitamins and minerals: Active dogs require a wide range of vitamins and minerals to support their overall health. Ensure that the dry dog food you choose contains essential nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin C, and calcium.

Understanding the Ingredients List

Usually, if you’re shopping for active breed dog food, the packaging will indicate whether it’s intended for performance or for particularly active animals. Usually, the label will say “active” or “performance” somewhere in the title. However, even with this designation, it’s important to thoroughly review the ingredients in each offering before making a decision. You may find that one food blend has more of what your dog needs than what other brands are offering. Furthermore, you may also find that one blend contains ingredients that your dog is sensitive to, while another doesn’t. For these reasons and more, it’s essential to read each label carefully.

When choosing dry dog food for your active breed, it's important that you not only read, but fully understand the various entries in the ingredients list. First, look for recognizable, high-quality ingredients such as chicken, beef, whole grains, and vegetables. 

You should not have to scan the ingredients list for long in order to find the blend’s protein source and other nutrients. Because ingredient lists are organized by the weight or amount of a certain ingredient (in descending order) a high-quality dog food will have its protein source, vitamins, and other essential nutrients towards the top of the list. If you have to scan through several ingredients you’re not familiar with before you see something you recognize, there’s a good chance you’re not looking at the best option.

While you’re scanning the ingredients lists, remember to avoid products that contain artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. For example, meat meal, by-products, MSG, gluten, corn syrup, or color names followed by a number (which represent unnecessary dyes) are worth avoiding. 

Introducing Your Dog to a New Brand of Food

When introducing your dog to a new brand of dry food, it’s important to take your time. Don’t replace your pet’s current food without any sort of transition period, as this will likely lead to digestive upsets. 

Instead, begin by introducing your dog to a small amount of the new food at a time. Add a small serving to your dog’s current food, and as the days pass, add a little more of the new food while giving less of the old food. After a week or two, depending on your pet’s tolerance, you’ll have replaced his or her old food completely.

During and after the transition period, keep an eye on your dog’s reaction to the new brand of food. Watch for vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, or skin allergies. Should you notice anything concerning, consult with your pet’s veterinarian for guidance. 

Feeding Guidelines for Active Breeds

The feeding guidelines for active breeds may vary depending on factors such as their age, weight, and activity level. Most dog food brands will provide a serving guide on the packaging, so be sure to match your dog’s age and weight with the serving recommendations listed. 

There are a couple of issues you may notice when getting your dog accustomed to a new food. If your dog experiences softer stools than normal during the transition period, don’t worry right away. Getting used to a new type of food might cause temporary, mild stomach upsets. These issues usually clear up within the first few days of eating a new brand of food. If the symptoms persist, contact your dog’s veterinary office for advice.

Also, because serving guides are more of a general recommendation, they may not be perfectly attuned to what your dog needs. You may find that after you have passed the transition period with your pet, he or she has gained or lost a couple of pounds. For dogs that are losing weight, feed a little bit more than what the recommendations say, and if your dog has gained weight, feed a little bit less. Keep a watchful eye out for any further weight changes.

If you’re feeling lost and you’re not sure how to remedy your dog’s fluctuating weight, it's best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion sizes and feeding frequency for your dog. 

Myths About Dry Dog Food for Active Breeds

Though having endless information available at your fingertips is usually a good thing, misinformation can muddy the waters of knowledge. There are several common myths surrounding dry dog food for active breeds. To avoid being pointed in the wrong direction in regards to your dog’s nutrition, let's debunk a few common myths on the topic:

  1. Myth 1: Dry dog food causes dehydration. This is not true - as long as your dog has access to fresh water, dry dog food can be a perfectly suitable option for hydration. Regardless of the type of food you give your dog, fresh water should always be available.

  2. Myth 2: Dry dog food lacks nutritional value. In fact, many high-quality dry dog food brands offer a complete and balanced diet for active breeds, providing all the necessary nutrients they need to thrive.

  3. Myth 3: Active breeds need a raw food diet. While some pet owners choose to feed their dogs a raw food diet, it is not necessary for all active breeds. Dry dog food can provide the necessary nutrients in a convenient and safe format. In addition, unless you’re well-informed and guided by an experienced professional, taking the wrong approach to a raw diet can make your pet quite ill. 

Choosing the perfect dry dog food for your active breed is crucial for fueling their playfulness and energy levels. By considering their unique nutritional requirements, choosing high-quality brands, and understanding how to read the ingredients list, you can provide your canine friend with the optimal diet to support their active lifestyle. Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, consult with your dog’s veterinary provider for personalized advice. 

Once you have your pet’s nutrition figured out, enjoy watching him or her thrive with the right nutrition!


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