Helpful information about the unique nutritional needs of dogs and cats with certain lifestyles or health challenges.
Highly Active and Working Dogs
Nutrition, when matched to the type of work or sport, can help highly active, working and sporting dogs successfully perform to their genetic potential and training.
Anticipated energy requirements of selected canine working and sporting activities
Adapted from Shmalberg (2014) and Wakshlag & Shmalberg (2014)
(<25% increase in energy needs)
(25%─100% increase in energy needs)
(>100% increase in energy needs)
Obedience or conformation
|Bikejoring (2─10 miles)
Carting (2─10 miles)
Hunting (<3 hours)
Search and rescue
Sled dog racing (<20 miles)
|Sled dog racing (>20 miles)
Bikejoring (> 10 miles)
Carting (>10 miles)
Hunting (>3 hours)
"We want to make sure your dog's nutrition helps [him/her] perform to [his/her] training and genetics. The energy (or calorie) needs of working and sporting dogs vary widely. Some dogs need a food formulated especially for performance; others do well on a high-quality, highly digestible adult maintenance food. It is also important to keep your dog in lean body condition by routinely assessing body condition score and adjusting the amount of food given as needed."
The Progress Chart should be used with the Canine Body Condition System Sheet to help track a pet’s weight loss or gain.
Assess your dog's Body Condition in just 3 simple steps.
Water is vital to health. How much water should pets drink, are there differences between cats and dogs, and how can pets be encouraged to drink?
Hill, R. C. (2004, July 31). Feeding dogs for agility [Presentation]. University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine 8th Annual Dog Owners & Breeders Symposium, Gainesville, FL, United States. http://www.rrcus.org/health/pdf/Feeding_For_Agility.pdf
Shmalberg, J. (2014). Canine performance & rehabilitative nutrition part 1: Canine performance nutrition. Today’s Veterinary Practice, 4(6), 72─76. https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/acvn-nutrition-notes-canine-performance-nutrition/
Toll, P. W., Gillette, R. L., & Hand, M. S. (2010). Feeding working and sporting dogs. In M. S. Hand, C. D. Thatcher, R. L. Remillard, P. Roudebush & B. J. Novotny (Eds.), Small animal clinical nutrition (5th ed., pp. 321─358). Mark Morris Institute.
Wakshlag, J., & Shmalberg, J. (2014). Nutrition for working and service dogs. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 44(4), 719─740. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2014.03.008
Zanghi, B. M., Robbins, P. J., Ramos, M. T., & Otto, C. M. (2018). Working dogs drinking a nutrient-enriched water maintain cooler body temperature and improved pulse rate recovery after exercise. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5, Article 202. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00202