I am often asked what I feed my dogs and what I do to keep my dog in such a great shape. During pre-trial and trial season he glows and shows off his shiny coat and muscle definition. The truth is, a lot of it is genetics, and a lot is exercise along with raw diet 90 percent of the time and the appropriate supplements according to his needs which of course vary at different times. He doesn't look this way all year around, we don't train the same and nor do I supplement the same during our "off" and "maintenance" periods.
Supplements... Always a controversial topic, and rightfully so. Most professionals don't like to recommend particular brands, to avoid being blamed later because every dog may respond differently. That is a smart move on their end, yet I decided to be brave enough to share what I have found to work for us over the last couple of years. Please only take if for what this is - my opinion based on my quest for finding best nutrition solutions for my dogs over a couple of decades, and the results I see in my own dogs😊!!!
Of course each dog is different and so is their environment, and you simply won't know until you try and find something that works for your dog, yet there are a couple of points to consider when talking supplements:
1. Are the ingredients fully disclosed or is it some "mysterious formula" promising "magical results"?
There is such a thing as over supplementation and/or a conflict of ingredients. And this can sometimes cause more harm than good. It is important to understand the ingredients and how they work in a dog's body, so we must know what's in a formula. If your dog has any dietary allergies, a complete transparency is a must!
2. Does the formula actually work or is it a simple waste of money? It can consist of the best ingredients and they can work together beautifully, but unless they are digested and fully absorbed, it's like flushing your dollars down the toilet. This is where the liquids and powders work best, of course anything powdery has to be rehydrated with water and not just sprinkled on the food.
Yet, how do we really know if the supplements are working on our healthy dogs who are already in good shape? And are they even necessary?
It is easier to see the improvements when supplementing for a particular issue, for example a dog who is arthritic or has dull coat and dry skin. If the supplement is working, we should see the results within a few weeks. Or, in Bravo's case, well, he gets gas, and sometimes loud😃. So I can easily see the difference on the days I forget to add the digestive formula into his breakfast🤦♀️.
3. When is it helpful to supplement? Our dogs' nutritional needs vary and change throughout the seasons and they also depend on our training cycles and exercise programs. Obviously there is less need to supplement during the "off" times and throughout the regular daily activities than during the trial season and trial preparation times.
First and foremost, our dogs are always on the move throughout the day, whether we are on the training field or not and they usually give it all by their nature and some ore reckless. A good joint and cartilage supplement is a must and if it has antioxidants to help with inflammation, it's a bonus. I feed it daily always to my adult dogs.
I also supplement on pretty much regular basis with multivitamin antioxidant digestive formula with green lipped mussel, Astaxanthan, kelp and oil and a few other ingredients that made me choose it.
With trial preparation and trials also comes travel. And for some of us, lots of it. Long hours spent in the car or even flying, change of temperature and latitude, staying in different places, change of the routine and schedule, it all adds up to stress, even when our solid dogs don't show it. Now, let's add strenuous training sessions often back to back day after day and then the trial with handler trial nerves. This is the time when the best diet and recovery supplement boosts are needed! I feed it after the cools downs after most sessions. I love the idea of boosting energy and increasing stamina while providing muscle support while my dog loves the taste of his shake snack☺️.
It is also recommended to replenish glycogen right after the anaerobic exercise, which is what IGP routine is. There is a supplement for that, but Bravo doesn't like it in his water, and I want him to drink plenty to rehydrate, so while I see the benefit, we don't use it. Some of my customers swear by it, and their dogs like the taste...
During shedding or in the winter when it’s cold and their skin gets dry and flaky, I supplement with coat supplement but only as needed.
No supplement can ever substitute solid quality ingredients daily diet and proper exercise and training of course, but it can help boost and balance a conditioning program for our special athletes when used wisely.
I wrote this blog to share what has worked for us, and hoping it may work for you. I only endorse and distribute products I have tried and like. If I use it for my own dogs, then I add it to my DogSports4u store. An old Belgian Malinois breeder friend has recommended K9Power to me 3 years ago, I liked the ingredients list, so I gave it a try and have been using it since! If you would like to try it, get the 2-3 week supply in small quantities and see for yourself if you notice the difference in your dog. Learn more
If you would like to learn more about complete nutrition and create a customized individual program for your dog, to implement the supplements and nutrition to enhance your dog's conditioning and training, Christina Hansel can help. She is a nutritionist, a breeder, a trainer and an IGP World level competitor. Learn more