Bird Dog & Retriever News

April / May 2003 issue Page 24

 mented at 3:30 that afternoon, an hour before we headed off to find one last bird to fill our mixed bag limit of "sharpies" and "chickens." "Your dogs eat better than I do," he decided. "And, all these snacks sure don't seem to hurt them," he added as he lifted his exhausted setter into her dog crate where she collapsed in a ragged heap.
The next morning his setter and my two shorthairs hit the ground with their wheels spinning and their motors running full-blast. But, by 10:30 during our first extended rest period, my friend's dog was mostly walking, and walking very slowly back to the truck. "She just may be a little tired," her owner said. "She just may be really hungry," I decided as I watched her drool as she watched my dogs chow down on their boiled eggs and canned meat.
Don't starve your gun dog.
"Don't unintentionally starve your gun dog during the hunting season," is the advice of Jim Reiser, a D.V.M. and an upland gamebird hunter from Franksville, Wisconsin. Dr. Rieser's opinion on nutritional supplements for hardworking hunting dogs is based on his professional background as a veterinarian. But, just as significant his advice comes from more than 20 years of experience in hunting his "Shooting Starr" line of German shorthair pointers and running those same dogs in the various events of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association, in National Shoot to Retrieve competitions, and in AKC Hunt Tests.
Don't use the 'old days' as a guide for gun dog feeding.
"In the old days, the standard attitude among hunters was to feed their dogs once every 24 hours, then work them hard all day without another scrap of food at any time during that period. Even the toughest gundog can't take much of this. And that's why in the past so many dogs looked so bony and gaunt and acted so worn-out and tired half way through the season," in Rieser's estimation.
Feed your gun dog more, more often.
"Now days, there is a growing recognition among many gun dog owners that feeding a dog more during a single day of hunting and through the whole hunting season is a good idea and not necessarily dangerous for most canines," Rieser has concluded. "Double, maybe triple your dog's rations and certainly increase the quality of your dog's food by adding more highly-digestible protein, greater quantities of calorie-laden fat, and some quick-energy carbohydrates if your dog is hunting hard every day," Rieser suggests.
Know your gun dog before you add nutritional supplements.
"Calculate their increases according to what you personally know about your particular dog's metabolism, level of exercise, and personal past experiences with these 'extra' nutrients. In other words, experiment with these nutritional supplements at home before you head to the field with them," Rieser warns all owners of hard-working hunting dogs.
Don't "surprise" your gun dog.
Don't 'surprise' your dog with any nutritional supplements whether protein-fat-or-carbohydrate-based energy foods," Rieser warns all owners of hard-working gun dogs. "I've learned the hard way from past experiences not to 'suddenly' give any food new and different to a hunting dog. Especially not in the middle of a hunt when that pooch is just a little weary or flat-out dead tired because this can create an intestinal disaster. Many foods rich in tasty calories may be a shock to your dog's system, a shock that can lead to anything from mild up-chucks to full blown diarrhea."
"To prepare your pooch for nutritional supplements given during the hunting season, start 'testing' for what works best by way of food

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News May 2003
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
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