For centuries, canines have faithfully served a variety of roles for their human counterparts. From daily companion to herding livestock to retrieving birds from a successful hunting excursion, and competing in the ever-growing arena of animal athletics and shows. Just like professional athletes, performance dogs require a different level of care to aid in their physical recovery compared to the average pet. Caring for performance dogs comes with unique needs due to the strenuous demands of their training. 

Preventative Care for Performance Dogs 

1. Hydration

The simplest form of care is often the easiest to overlook: staying hydrated! Just like humans, dogs are comprised primarily of water. Every major chemical reaction & biological activity that occurs in their body requires, you guessed it, water. Being hydrated protects your dog’s tissues during physical activity, and also is the primary tool to help aid with cooling down after an intense training session. 

While it’s important that your performance dog drinks a lot of water, the best practice is to allow them to drink intermittently throughout the day, rather than allowing them to gorge on large quantities in one sitting. Drinking too much water at once can cause decreased performance and bloat.

Make sure to always have water readily accessible during training, as well as before and after, with a watchful eye on just how much your dog consumes.

2. Injury Prevention

The more active the performance dog, the higher risk of potential injury, as you encourage your pup to higher levels of strain and achievement. 

For the greatest odds of avoiding injury, it’s best to keep your dog’s body composition lean and mean. Too much weight during physical activity puts excessive pressure on those important ligaments and joints, and can cause strains and tears – major setbacks in any performance dog’s training regimen. 

It’s also important to warm up your pup prior to periods of high physical activity in training. This might be a brisk walk or light jog to increase your dog’s heart rate gradually and warm-up the muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments.

These practices combined with a consistent training routine will help your performance dog’s mental and physical health it performs its beloved job. Remember, routines are an athlete’s best friend – this applies to dog athletes as well!

3. Diet & Supplements 

While dietary particulars and supplements can be a hot-button issue in the world of canine nutrition, it’s best to develop a specific plan for your performance dog with your vet. This will ensure your athlete is getting all the vital fuel they need for the short and long term in a healthy and ethical manner. 

Expert Care for Performance Dogs

At Florence Animal Hospital, we specialize in caring for performance canines and can help guide you with tips for peak performance in your pet. We also offer care for cats and horses. Contact us for an appointment or to learn more about our services.