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Wunderin if anyone has any tips on how to keep my 2 year old lab healthy for a 4 day hunt? He's logged about 30 hours of pheasant hunting this month (over 4 days) and looks to be in very good shape (lean 61 lbs). Any tips on how to keep him healthy for that much bird-doggin? (he may have to sit out a few plays)
 

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Might consider short hunting episodes through the day instead of a long continueous grind. Years ago a vet recomended the canned Science Diet High Energy to be fed a little at a time for the dog during the day. I think it had a higher fat content for calories. They really burn up the juice when they are running.
 

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Yep...keep the walks relatively short. Keep water on you and break in the field if necessary. If you hit the cattails, pup's eyes and nose are going to get worn a lot. Keep an eye on him...if he's tiring the first day, remember you still have 3 to go. If possible, rotate dogs (if there is another available).

Good luck!
 

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Feed once a day about 60 to 90 minutes after you are done for the day.

You may want to try a maltodextrin supplement immediately after the hunt. I use Annamaet Glycocharge from www.lcsupply.com or howlingdogalaska.com also has a different brand.

Also, the other guys had good advice. Next, year if you are switching to a high protein high fat food do it six weeks before hunting season.

Purina did a study on sled dogs a couple of years ago that outlined the high protein & fat diet, the maltodextrin, and the feeding once a day. People much smarter than I am came up with it.

I was able to hunt my 100 plus pound chessie (not exactly built for pheasant hunting) for 10 days straight in SD. This was public land well into the season so there were no quick limits. This was a couple years ago when he was 5. He held up great and was still ranging well out at sunset on the last day.

Preseason conditioning and weight control are your best bets. Nothing will improve performance as much as that but the other stuff does help if you've done your preseason stuff.
 

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Food and supplements are a key to maximum energy. I feed Purina Pro Plan Performance. It has the correct amount of fats and nutrients to help fuel the pup through a long grind. When hunting in the field I keep a bottle full of Rehydrate to give the pup a little added vitamins and boost to continue on during the day.
 

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Feed as others have already stated, a high performance blended feed such as Pro Plan Performance or I feed Eukanuba Sporting. These blends typically are running a 30/20 of protein and fat. I don't feed during the day hunting just because the dog doesn't benefit from food immediately like humans do unless it's a form of a energy drink/stick etc.

I typically still feed 2 times a day because my lab is smaller and I spread the feeding out in the late afternoon and then again before we go to bed so the dog can utilize the calories the next morning.
 

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Conditioning is the key. Use Glycocharge each nite to refresh him for the next day. Boot him at first sign of wear on the toes or pads. It will usually take about 3-4 days before this shows on a hard driving dog. Mostly it's a problem with pointing dog's, not retrievers, because the pointing dog's are going so fast and hard.

If you condition the dog, use supplements, and watch him, there's no reason you can't hunt him 6-7 hours a day every day.

I just got back from SD and huntend my Draht 8 days straight, all day, with a break of only one day when 60mph winds were blowing.

The dog's body and feet MUST be in condition.
 
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