This is my detailed guide about the best dog food for hunting dogs in 2021.
Some dog breeds are specifically suited for hunting. However, their nutritional needs may be different from other dogs. The diet of these dogs is high in calories, and they should also be provided with the optimal amount of protein and fat.
If you’re wondering what food hunting dogs need to buy, you’re in the right place. I spent an entire day finding the best recipes for you. My favorite is the Purina Pro Plan SPORT Formula.
Since the nutritional needs of puppies may be different, I also chose a product for them. And this is Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food.
In the rest of this article, you can read an overview of many other good-quality hunting dog foods and learn much useful information about these dogs.
What are the best dog foods for hunting dogs?
- Purina Pro Plan SPORT Formula
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness
- Victor Purpose – Performance
- Victor Purpose – Grain Free Hero Canine
- Taste of the Wild Pet Food
Best puppy foods for hunting dogs
What is High-Performance dog food?
High-performance foods are the best for those who have working dogs, sporting dogs, or other very active canines. These animals need a lot of energy because they have to be active during the hunting season. But they are usually always active, not just then. I will write later about exactly which breeds belong here.
These foods have more fat and protein than carbohydrates. This diet not only provides the right energy. It also supports lean muscle mass retention and buildup and also reduces recovery time.
Nutritionists, veterinarians, scientists, and other experts help prepare these foods.
These formulations usually also contain omega oils, vitamins, and minerals. These ingredients support health, joints, and bones.
Keep in mind that normal dog food is unlikely to support the regeneration of your hunting dog. However, you cannot give normal dogs performance food. That’s because they can become obese.
If you have any questions about whether your chosen dog food is right for your dog, consult your veterinarian or a dog nutrition expert.
Best Dog Food For Game Dogs
Adults and puppies need different dog food. Because of this, I took my usual dog food advisor section in two parts. Let’s look at foods for adults first!
Foods for adult hunting dogs
Purina is a pretty popular brand among the best canine foods.
If you choose this dry dog food, you will not be disappointed. It’s perfect for active or athletic dogs.
Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages Dry Dog Food has 30% protein and 20% fat. It’s all from good quality chicken. This product was developed for athletic dogs. In addition to the usual nutrients, it contains amino acids, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids. Also recommended for you, if you have a young or a senior dog.
This formula has a positive effect on oxygen metabolism due to its high protein and fat content. This way, your hunting dog will last longer in the field.
By the way, this food is not only excellent in composition but quite affordable. You can buy that in several packages. Be sure to consider this product, if you have a hunting hound or a working dog.
This product is based on the diet of wolves. The recipe includes deboned chicken, which dogs love and is a perfect source of protein.
It also has chicken meal and turkey meal, as well as eggs.
Blue’s food is a grain free recipe, so sensitive dogs can consume it with confidence. Like other high-performance hunting dog foods, this food also contains vitamins, minerals, and phosphorus. And Omega fatty acids contain DHA, which helps with cognitive and retinal function.
It also contains Omega-6, which is responsible for the shiny coat. Be aware that some dogs may be sensitive to chicken and other poultry. Be sure to consider this excellent dry dog food!
Victor’s dry dog food has been very convincing to me and has become one of my favorites.
In terms of protein, it is composed of several sources, such as beef meal, chicken meal, and pork.
There are plenty of useful and important ingredients in this dog’s food. The joints of athletic dogs are supported by Glucosamine and Chondroitin in it.
In addition, prebiotics and probiotics were added and its carbohydrate source is also gluten-free. That’s why this product is also excellent for dogs with food sensitivities, gluten-sensitive, or digestive problems.
If all that weren’t enough, Victor Purpose also contains yeast and minerals. This helps with regeneration and the immune system, among other things. It also contains chicken fat which is a very good source of energy.
It’s available in several packages.
I will write very little new about this dog food option now. It is very similar to the other Victor product.
The difference is that this food does not contain chicken. This is good news for those whose dog is sensitive or allergic to chicken.
Protein sources are beef meal, pork meal, and fish meal. Carbohydrate sources are gluten-free grains, so gluten-sensitive dogs can also consume this product.
Incidentally, Glucosamine and Chondroitin and pre and probiotics mentioned in the previous product can also be found in this Victor food. You should definitely consider this product.
For performance dogs, this Taste of the Wild dry dog food is a great choice. The primary source of protein is roasted bison.
In addition, it contains a good proportion of all nutrients.
In addition to high-quality protein, Taste of the Wild also contains vitamins, minerals, and wholesome vegetables and fruits. And healthy fatty acids and antioxidants support the immune system and make the skin and fur beautiful.
This product does not contain any harmful or unnecessary ingredients. So it is a grain free formula, does not contain wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors, colors, fillers, and preservatives.
Foods for hunting puppies
This dog food is for puppies up to one year of age. But it’s also suitable for nursing or pregnant dogs.
You can choose from two types of kibble sizes, depending on which one your dog likes better.
Due fish oil, it contains omega fatty acids. It also contains vitamins and minerals. All things are necessary for the development of the puppy. In addition, it is balanced and easy to digest.
The product does not contain flavors, preservatives, colors, or other artificial ingredients. In addition to high-quality protein, it also contains fruits and vegetables such as carrots, cranberries, apples, or broccoli.
Although this is not a grain free recipe, it does not contain much grains.
If you have a hunter puppy, you might want to try this food.
This is because Purina’s food for puppies properly reinforces and nourishes the little active bad guys.
Calcium and phosphorus help in the development of bones. And antioxidants and vitamins support the immune system. The protein source of the product is lamb, which supplies your young puppy with the right amount of protein and fat. This helps in growing and building energy and endurance.
Digestibility is also a good side to this puppy food. Your pup is sure to get the digestible nutrients he needs.
The last puppy formula on my list is a Victor product.
But it is perfect for all ages, as it contains all the necessary nutrients for every dog.
It has a particularly high protein content of 33%, sourced from beef, pork, chicken, and fish. It also contains good quality carbohydrates and vegetables such as sweet potato, peas, and tomatoes. The product is grain-free.
The product has a feeding chart that you should follow while feeding.
First of all, if I had a hunting dog who has no sensitivity, I would be happy to give him all the food on the list. Because every dish I choose is excellent. However, the most likable high-performance dog food for hunting adult dogs is the Purina Pro Plan SPORT All Life Stages Formula. This product clearly provides what active hunting dogs need.
You can purchase it here.
Puppies for puppies are also all very good. My favorite from the list is Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food For Puppies.
You can check it here.
Normal vs High-Performance Dog Food
As I mentioned, high-performance dog foods have been developed for active dogs. This requires a lot of energy, which guarantees the right amount of protein and fat.
And what does this mean in practice? The ideal ratio of macronutrients is about 30% protein and 20% fat. The rest is carbohydrates, fiber, moisture, and other useful nutrients.
This diet promotes your dog’s performance, endurance, and mental and physical health.
Types of hunting dogs
These dogs are practically the most active breeds. In addition to hunting, they have high activity level, which also include various extreme sports such as trekking, climbing, running after animals, and so on. These breeds not infrequently also serve as working dogs. Below we look at exactly what types of hunting hounds there are.
Rat Terriers, Boston Terriers, and Jack Russell Terriers. These just a few examples. These dogs are small but extremely energetic. They are most often used when hunting smaller animals, like squirrels, rabbits, foxes, and birds. But they are also very effective for backyard rodents.
These are larger breeds than terriers. They are usually used to scare animals to be hunted and to retrieve shot game. These dogs include, for example, Labrador Retrievers, Springer Spaniels, or Golden Retrievers.
These dogs have very good senses and are persistent with a lot of stamina. Their sense of smell is excellent, which is why they can sniff out the animals you want to hunt from afar. The most common hounds are Coonhounds, Bloodhounds, or Redbone Hounds.
Nutritional needs of hunting dogs
As I mentioned, the activity of These dogs can be much higher than that of other dogs. Because of this, these breeds may have different nutrient needs.
Due to the increased activity, and high energy levels, these dogs need more calories. Of course, it also depends on exactly how many times you went hunting with your puppy.
It is best if the food you choose is rich in nutrients and dense in terms of calories. This way, your canine can get extra energy by consuming the same amount. Most hunting dog food has a chart to help you feed your hound.
Fat has a much higher caloric content than other macronutrients. Therefore, it can adequately supply hunting dogs with energy and provide them with sufficient endurance. However, the fat content should only be high if your dog is really moving a lot. If you rarely go hunting, choose food with lower fat content.
Carbohydrate content is important and carbs should not be left out of a balanced diet. You should make sure that the sources are digestible. Examples are sweet potatoes or brown rice. These nutrients do not raise your dog’s blood sugar levels unnecessarily and are well digestible.
We should definitely take care of our dogs’ protein levels. This is an essential nutrient for all dogs which provides essential amino acids. And even more important for these dogs. After all, in order to maintain high activity and lean muscle mass, dogs need to consume enough protein. Choose good quality protein sources like chicken, lamb, or fish.
Hydration is important for all living things. High activity hunting dogs need a lot of water. When you go hunting, always have enough water with you. Some dogs do not want to drink enough. The best way for them is to put more water in their bone broth. This will ensure proper fluid intake.
A dog with an active lifestyle needs healthy micronutrients. Make sure you buy the best dog
Best foods for hunting dogs
Best hunting foods for puppies
Other things to consider
- Calorie requirements depend on the dogs’ activity levels: If you have a hunting breed, that doesn’t necessarily mean extra calories. First and foremost, consult your veterinarian on this topic. If you only hunt with your dog sometimes, he won’t need a lot of calories.
- Spaying and neutering affect the calorie needs too: This procedure can also affect how many calories your dog needs. It is best to consult your veterinarian about this as well.
- More fat, fewer carbohydrates, and protein: Hunting dogs have high energy levels, so they need to be provided with energy with fat than other dogs. Prefer carbohydrates that are slowly absorbed and easily digestible.
- Meal once a day: Hunting dogs perform better on an empty stomach. If you feed your dog after strenuous exercise, you can be sure that all the nutrients will be absorbed.
Buyer’s guide to dog food for hunting dogs
Of course, each canine is different and may come with different needs and tastes. However, there are a few things you should definitely keep in mind when feeding your hunting dogs. Below you can read a buying guide on this.
- Avoid by-products: You should always avoid these, for example, meat by-products. If there are such ingredients in your food, it will certainly not contain the right nutrients for your dog. However, the protein quality of these dog foods will not be good either and they usually contain bone.
- Avoid fillers and grains and preservatives: Grains aren’t necessarily bad, but make sure there are whole grains in the food. Do not choose food for your dog that contains gluten, corn wheat or soy, or processed ingredients. The same goes for preservatives. Examples are ethoxyquin, BHT and BHA. You can choose grain free hunting dog foods too.
- Choose products with complete nutrition: You should strive for the best possible quality of food. If the product of your choice is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials then you are on the right way.
Should I give my hunting dog dry or wet food?
It is up to you to answer this question. You have to decide which one is better for you and your dog’s needs. There most difference between the two types is the water content. So if you choose dry dog food, be sure to provide the right amount of water.
The other important difference between the two is storage. Canned food is both more expensive and more difficult to store. After opening, it is worth consuming or putting in the refrigerator.
Dry food is easier to store and you can buy it in bulk. So you can make a more cost-effective purchase in the long run.
In terms of protein, dry food is usually a better choice. Of course not in all cases, but usually these foods have more protein content.
Avoid wet foods with unnecessary additives and fillers.
Is Raw Food A Good Option?
Since these dogs need a diet high in fat and protein, the question of whether a raw diet is good for them is legitimate. There are discussions among experts about this. The raw diet has clear advantages and disadvantages.
Raw meat and animal parts, organs retain all nutrients without processing and heat treatment. However, this is also true for harmful bacteria and microorganisms, and parasites. If you get raw meat from an uncontrolled source, it can be a danger to you and your dog as well.
You also need to keep in mind that if your dog has eaten commercial dog food all his life, a sudden change can be a problem. Anyway, all dog food changes should happen gradually. However, this is especially true when it comes to a raw diet.
And finally, a raw diet doesn’t just mean you put a slice of raw meat in front of your dog. This method can cause severe nutrient deficiencies. Your dog’s diet should include fresh fruits and vegetables, omega fatty acids, and fiber sources if needed.
Even before you misunderstand me: I’m not against the raw diet. I think it’s an excellent alternative if done correctly. For safety, talk to your veterinarian about this.
Common health problems in hunting dogs
Hunting dogs are basically very healthy because of their active lifestyle. However, some problems can occur with these breeds at times. Of course, these problems can be prevented and treated with the right diet.
Problems in the digestive system
Proper timing of feeding can help prevent bloat. It is not a good idea to feed these animals less than two hours before the hunt. If you choose a food that has at least the first five ingredients natural, that can also help.
Larger-bodied hunting dogs tend to suffer from joint-related health issues. In hip dysplasia, the bones of the hip do not fit together perfectly. This usually causes pain in these dogs. In more severe cases, a degeneration can also occur, which is called arthritis.
These problems are very often hereditary. However, an overly active lifestyle and wear and tear on the joints also contribute to this. Foods that contain glucosamine and chondroitin can help.
Another reason why these diseases can occur is obesity. If your dog is fat, his joints will have to suffer more strain. You need to adjust your pup’s calorie intake properly.
Hunting dogs spend a lot of time outdoors. Here, they can catch diseases and infections for which their body may not be prepared. Such are tick-borne infections such as lyme disease.
Foods developed for them help strengthen their immune system. Sufficient protein content, fiber, and antioxidants are very useful.
F.A.Q. about high performance dog foods for hunting canines
Is higher protein dog food better?
In general, it is not the quantity of protein that matters, but its quality. Make sure the protein in your food comes from the right source. Digestibility is also important. The food should not contain any by-product meat. By the way, of course, the amount of protein also matters, as with an active lifestyle, it is not good for your dog to have a low protein intake.
Should hunting dogs have a grain free diet?
Since grains are usually put into food as fillers, I say yes. Grain free dog food has no advantages, but it can have disadvantages. Examples are upset stomach, bloating, and even allergic reactions. Obviously there are dogs who have no problem with grains. However, if you want to be sure, choose grain-free products.
When should I feed my hunting dog?
The most perfect timing is the end of the hunting or training session. Food and nutrients will thus be utilized in much greater proportions. Studies have shown that these animals perform much better on an empty stomach. Studies have also shown that they gain energy from fat during exercise.
What do you feed your hunting dog?
The best food for hunting dogs is high in fat and protein. Of course, they should also contain carbohydrates, but in smaller amounts than average products. Avoid corn wheat or soy and other fillers.
How many times a day should you feed a hunting dog?
Once you have plenty enough to feed them one day. It is best to time it so that their stomachs are completely empty during the hunt.
How many Calories Do Hunting Dogs Eat?
Basically, a hunting dog consumes more calories per day than other breeds. However, the exact amount of calories depends on many factors. What matters is your dog’s gender, age, and activity levels. For example, if your dog is old and no longer exercises as much, he will need fewer calories than active dogs. An all-day couch dog needs about 1300-1400 calories. On the other hand, a dog that does hunting activities every day may need up to 2,000 calories. But usually, 1800 calories is the most ideal. Ask your veterinarian for advice and read the recommendations on the packaging of the products. Also, monitor your dog’s weight.
Should I feed my dog before hunting?
No, that’s absolutely a bad idea. For hunter breeds, a meal once a day is most ideal. Schedule feeding after the hunt. This will avoid potential health problems. In addition, the dog’s body will use the nutrients more efficiently. And he will be more active during the hunt.