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Weight gain in dogs: how to get back to a balanced diet?

On average, the hunting season lasts 6 months, from September to February. During this period, your dog needs to have a higher nutrient intake than in the off-season.

Weight gain in dogs: how to get back to a balanced diet?

On average, the hunting season lasts 6 months, from September to February. During this period, your dog needs to have a higher nutrient intake than in the off-season. Naturally, each animal, depending on its breed, age, size, and frequency of exercise, has different feeding requirements. Fat, which provides energy, vitality, and strength to your pet, is as important as protein and fibre for muscle building and digestion. Not to mention vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and other nutrients.

During the hunting season, it is accepted that rations can be increased: to compensate for the additional energy expenditure, especially in terms of fat. However, if rations and volumes are increased too suddenly, your dog's capacity to assimilate them may be exceeded, possibly resulting in digestive problems. Weight gain is the other major risk.

#1 The off-season for dogs: a time of potential weight gain

The end of February marks the general closing of the hunting season. As a result, many hunters put away their rifles and shotguns until September. This period also often coincides with a decrease in our hunting dogs' activity. Although it is important to continue to take them on outings, these are generally less intense, shorter, and occur less regularly. Furthermore, if their diet is not adapted to this change, it is not uncommon to observe weight gain in our animals.

To avoid complications such as diabetes, locomotor difficulties, hypertension, skin disease, pancreatitis, or exercise intolerance, we primarily advise you to consult your regular veterinarian. Excessive weight, just as in humans, is not to be taken lightly: the risks to your dog's health are very real. As we mentioned earlier, excessive daily rations, feeding leftovers, and insufficient physical activity favour excess weight. Similarly, outside the hunting season, if you continue to feed your pet the same food as during the hunting season, your companion is likely to become overweight.

#2 Some simple measures to keep your hunting dog at a healthy weight

There is a correlation between a dog's weight and its quality of life. Does this mean that canines that manage to maintain their body weight live longer and healthier lives than their obese or overweight peers? This is a separate debate.

It is important to be able to maintain a healthy weight even in the off-season. Monitoring and/or tracking your hunting dog's weight over time is a good way to ensure that the "diet" you have put in place is working. In addition to hydration and food, Solognac offers a wide range of dry dog food. It is essential that your pets can continue to run, jump, play, in short, that they are exercised even when the hunting season is closed.

Taking your dog on hikes, trying to vary between familiar areas and new places to explore, is excellent exercise for the dog: "going on an adventure" is always a great opportunity for your dog to exercise and inspect its environment. Don't hesitate to take time to play with your dog: having it chase a ball, fetching and retrieving an object, these are simple actions to initiate. Also, have you thought about spring training and agility courses?

#3 Why is maintaining a healthy weight important for hunting dogs?

A pet's level of excess weight remains one of the most reliable indicators of its health and fitness. Your pet will perform at its best, without suffering or tiring, if it maintains an ideal body weight. However, depending on the age, breed, and size of the dog, weight gain is not necessarily a problem: a growing canine must of course gain strength and mass!

The month before the opening of hunting season, be sure to go out frequently: going out in September in heat that is sometimes still around 25/30 degrees, with a dog that is a few kilos overweight, would be a mistake and could lead to injuries. Thus, a preparatory training phase is essential.

What about you, how do you prepare your dog prior to the hunting season? Do you monitor its weight throughout the season? Training, feeding, care, and vet visits: what do you do?