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When to Feed on Hunting Days….


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Brdhntr47

Roxie and I will be starting our normal hunting routine next week. I normally get up at 3 AM. Walk Roxie grab something to drink and we’re on the road at 4 AM. Then a three hour drive to our hunting area. Start hunting about 7 AM. Normally done hunting in a few hours and back home early afternoon. We do this three days per week. It was five days per week but I’m getting old.

With this routine I am always thinking about the best time to feed Roxie in the morning. I have fed her at 3 AM before we leave home and I have skipped breakfast till after we finish hunting? Neither seems to make a difference. 
What say you dog health experts. What is the best time to feed on this schedule?

 

PS. Roxie is a big old Ryman type setter. Not a hard charging type dog at all. In fact I fed her at 3 AM and she is sleeping under the table next to my hunting clothes and gun. We’re going out behind the house around sun up and see if we can find something before next weeks official start.

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I seem to recall reading that a dog is at its prime for exercise 24 hours after it’s been fed. However, those Iditarod sled dogs get fed all the time, they usually run 6 rest 6, (hours) approximately.

 

I generally feed after the hunt at some point. If hunting around home, usually within a few hours. If on a trip, I give a supplement of some type with water once done, and then feed a good meal  once back at camp.

 

If hunting hard and extended days, getting them to eat can be a problem.

I usually feed some canned with dry kibble mixed with warm water. Whatever it takes to get them to eat.

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RuffChaser

From what I recall reading/hearing some of the concern around feeding time is related to the energy/heat involved. It takes a lot of energy to break down and digest their food. The result is they get warm from the process. If hunting in warmer conditions they could be prone to over-heating. I gave had issues with mine not eating after a long day of hunting so i will tend to add a little canned dog food to their dry food to get them to eat. I think it takes 12 hours for the proteins to be available to burn so I feed them well the night before.

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My Llew has low sugar issues and as such I feed her about 1/2 cup of food pre-dawn and then we normally hunt about 3 hours later.   Don't feed her any more food until the end of the day.  I also carry little Debbie Oatmeal Cookies (individual sealed) with me so if she starts to get loose on the back end I give her one and it perks her right up.   After dealing with this for 5 years I can normally catch the low sugar issues before they happen in a big way, but I truly have to keep an eye on her because it can happen very quickly (happened twice last year).  My hunting buddies always are looking for her loose rear end also.   Like dealing with heat stroke on dogs, its up to the owner to pay attention and shut things down if the dog is in distress.   

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Usually feed twice a day , equal amounts . When hunting , I feed 1/2 cup , 3-4 hours prior to hunt and the remainder at the end of the day .

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DoubleTrouble

I feed after the hunt in late afternoon/early evening.

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Skybuster

I don't change my dog's feeding schedule at all during hunting season. But then given my advanced years I rarely exceed a 2hr hunt in the AM, and another mid afternoon. Izzy weighs 53# and is fed one heaping cup of food around 6:30 AM and again about 4:30 PM. She has way more energy than I.

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molliesmaster

All of my dogs eat once a day, in the evening after the hunting/training is done and they are cooled down, year round.    On the road, hunting hard for consecutive days, I may offer them a cracker or something between runs, but mostly I try to up their calories in the evening in their food bowl. 

 

The risk of bloat can be easily mitigated by feeding as far away from activity as possible.    

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Dakotazeb

For the most part breeders and field trialers alike will recommend feeding once per day in the late afternoon or early evening.  The thinking is that the dog will run harder and cooler on an empty stomach.  Like a previous poster said, it takes energy to break down and digest food thus feeding before the hunt is not advised.  However, there are exceptions to everything.  Tut said he has a dog with low sugar issues (hypoglycemia).  My current Brittany has those issues occasionally also.  So I do give her a little food with some Karo syrup on it early in the morning the day of a hunt.

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Our dogs have all gotten to the point where we leave food out all day and they eat when they're hungry.  The current pups were competitive at first, even drooling as we filled bowls and made them wait before diving in, I think it was during age 3 they become somewhat indifferent and we put away the bowls with channels for them to chase kibble around and eat slower. 

 

Past dogs have been reluctant to eat when out hunting, a trip of several days had me worrying a bit because they didn't eat well away from home and I assumed they would eat some of the things they came across afield.  They'd always lose some weight then gain it back when things were again normal.  At the end of a day's hunt they're put in the kennel to cool down for a bit then at the first stop to check on them they're offered food and usually eat it.  I think they'll be better at the days-long trip gig, we'll see.

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I generally just try to make sure that they eat at least 6 hours prior to any exercise.  I often don't go hunting before noon, preferring the time between 1:30-5:00 in the afternoon afield when possible.  In that situation I'd probably feed around 6:00am and again around 7:00pm or later. 

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6:00 -6:30 in the evening year round. They don't hunt hard & I don't hunt hard😁 I try to hunt smart.

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On 10/7/2021 at 6:05 AM, Brdhntr47 said:

Roxie and I will be starting our normal hunting routine next week. I normally get up at 3 AM. Walk Roxie grab something to drink and we’re on the road at 4 AM. Then a three hour drive to our hunting area. Start hunting about 7 AM. Normally done hunting in a few hours and back home early afternoon. We do this three days per week. It was five days per week but I’m getting old.

With this routine I am always thinking about the best time to feed Roxie in the morning. I have fed her at 3 AM before we leave home and I have skipped breakfast till after we finish hunting? Neither seems to make a difference. 
What say you dog health experts. What is the best time to feed on this schedule?

 

PS. Roxie is a big old Ryman type setter. Not a hard charging type dog at all. In fact I fed her at 3 AM and she is sleeping under the table next to my hunting clothes and gun. We’re going out behind the house around sun up and see if we can find something before next weeks official start.

 

Given your timetable as described you can feed her half her normal am feeding and she will be fine.  After 3-4 hours most of that food will be well digested and in her colon and hence well past any insulin spikes that will affect her performance.  Plus you are only hunting for a few hours.  It's important not to feed breakfast at all if hunting within an hour or so and for longer duration of say 4-6 hours on the ground day long.

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UplandHntr

I try to change absolutely nothing on a road trip. No extra treats, junk food or timing. Try to avoid a 2am wake up alarm to the regurgitating sounds of a dog ready to puke . We all know the soothing sound…
Im an early early riser so I dont have too many concerns of feeding twice a day. 

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Rick Hall

Here's some science on the subject http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/documents/NutritionPerformance.pdf

 

My dogs have nearly all worked virtually, if not, daily in season, and I followed that once-a-day regimen with two or three of them without issue but have returned to my old course of 1/3 ration first thing in the morning and 2/3 after the day's work is done, again without issue.  Reason simply being that my guys have all liked eating, and I like making them happy.

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