Sergeant Canine at your Service: Working Dogs Need Care Too

PFI shares tips on proper pet care for working dogs

Manila, Philippines – Working dogs are a class apart from their fellow canines because of their impressive abilities to help humanity. As early as the 1920s, certain dog breeds were already being used to help blind veterans in Germany during World War I. Today, they are widely seen on duty as bomb sniffers, guard dogs, therapy dogs, or guide dogs doing a wide range of tasks to ensure humans’ safety, health, and security.

The Pet Food Institute and the Veterinary Practitioners of the Philippines have a longstanding commitment in delivering the importance of responsible pet ownership among pet owners. With their Well Fed, Well Nurtured campaign, PFI and VPAP also reaches out to all dog owners, including handlers and trainers to encourage proper pet nutrition and pet care.

Working dog breeds such as Shepherds, Mastiffs, Pinschers, Great Danes and Boxers have robust and agile body builds. They may have a seemingly frightening appearance, but don’t be deceived by their huge physique, as these dogs enjoy close human companionship and can be gentle with children. However, since these dogs are inherently guardians, they can be protective of their trainers and masters, and have a tendency to be aggressive to strangers who they view as prospective threats. Their intelligence and heightened senses for sight, smell and hearing are greatly admired by many.

Because their tasks are highly physical, working dogs require extra nutrition. Just like with all dog breeds, a good balance of proper nutrition and exercise is the best foundation of growth and development. Strong bones and muscles improve a dog’s agility while a solid immune system enhances their endurance. Regular training drills will help keep working dogs active and boost their concentration and alertness. If a working dog is healthy, it will also have good mental health.

Dogs need body-building and energy-giving nutrients, such as proteins and fats, to get them through the day, and the needs of working dogs are even higher. Proteins are sourced from amino acid profiles that make up and repair tissues for stronger muscles. Fats and carbohydrates serve as the fuel for the energy which will benefit the dog’s endurance which allows them to keep up on their physical demands. Unlike the dietetic needs of a family pet, working dogs need more calories to carry out their duties.

Premium, commercially-made pet foods designed to fulfill the canine’s nourishment needs are widely available in the market. Before putting that can or pack of dog food into the cart, it is a must to check the label for its nutritional facts. Working dogs are bigger and more active, so make sure that the right source of protein, fats and essential nutrients are provided to them. High quality fats, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, give off a shiny coat and healthy skin. .

In order to maintain the ideal size and weight ratio for the canine to perform well, working dogs must also undergo rigorous training. Keep in mind that these dogs are large, thus, a living area with adequate space for training should be considered. Physical and mental training stimulates the responsiveness and senses of the dog. An ideal trainer must be patient and must have a sense of superiority without being too hard on the pet. When our furry heroes take that well deserved break, fun activities such as simple games of fetch, hide-and-seek, or a doggy treat hunt will keep them on the move. It is important to keep

them active to prevent them from being bored. When these dogs are left stagnant for long periods of time, they will often resort to digging, chewing, and excessive barking.

As the voice of the United States pet food industry, the Pet Food Institute, and partner organization Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines, are steadfast in their commitment to encourage pet owners to provide proper nourishment and care to their pets, whether they be house pets or working dogs. Commercially branded pet foods made from high-quality ingredients which are scientifically processed and produced can ensure pet owners a healthy and happy life for their pets.

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