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Feeding Working Dogs


Working dogs, also known as herd dogs, help farmers and ranchers perform a wide variety of tasks all around the farm. From driving cattle to keeping sheep in the right grazing area, they prove their dedication and worth daily. That is why it is so important to care for working dogs by feeding them dog food that will provide the energy required for their long, hard work days.

Working dogs are trained to help with numerous tasks around the farm. Their responsibilities can range depending on the needs of their master. Herd dogs help farm workers by moving many different types of livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats and chickens. It often appears that these dogs instinctively know what to do. Their natural ability to guide other animals in a particular direction by barking, circling around them, and even nipping at them makes them very valuable for moving sheep, cattle, and other farm animals from one pasture to another. They can separate out particular animals from the rest of the herd and even rescue strays that have wandered away. Some are trained as guard dogs to protect livestock from predators.

Can any dog be a herd dog? While many dogs can be trained to do numerous tasks, some breeds seem to be better suited for the job than others. Breeds that make good working dogs include: the German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Welsh Corgi, and the Border Collie. Sheepdog breeds such as the Old English Sheepdog and the Shetland Sheepdog also make great herd dogs. These seemingly tireless animals are intelligent and have proved to be easily trained for the farm tasks required.

Feeding working dogs the proper food provides the energy necessary to get through the long work days on the farm or ranch. While all dog owners want to give their dog the best food available, owners of working farm dogs should be concerned with providing nutritious food that will support the high energy level needed for the job - these active dogs require food suited to their unique, individual needs. How much food your dog requires will depend on several factors: the animal's age, size, metabolism, and especially performance level. 

When it comes to caring for your hard working dogs, purchasing quality dog food makes a difference. Southern States Farm and Home Buyer, Joe Williamson, explains "Working dogs require more energy than the normally active dog. Protein and fat requirements are much higher for these types of dogs. Southern States Advanced Active Dog Food is an ideal choice for the energetic dog that requires a higher level of protein and fat than a maintenance dog food can provide. Chelated minerals provide for much more efficient absorption." Williamson recommends this Southern States brand for hunting and working dogs, breeders and professional kennels. "This advanced active formula features 26% protein and 18% fat to fuel the more athletic dogs. This formula provides premium nutrition to support muscle development that a higher activity demands." Made with the freshest ingredients, the high levels of protein and fat helps farm dogs maintain the stamina and energy level necessary to work hard for long periods of time.

Williamson also offers advice about keeping your dog hydrated. "Water is an important nutrient for all dogs, especially working dogs. It's actually the most important nutrient for any dog - for vital cellular and digestive function. Since dogs are composed of nearly 60% water, it's important that they receive adequate hydration when activity levels are higher, especially during hotter weather."

Feeding herd dogs a nutritious-rich food enables them to perform their best on the farm throughout the day. The animal experts at Southern States have created highly nutritious and delicious dog food for working dogs of all shapes and sizes. We appreciate and respect the work done by these animals who are vital to the success of the farm business. Trust Southern States for the dog food and all the other supplies you need to keep your working dogs and all of your farm animals in tip-top shape.


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