How Do The Experts Keep Their Dogs in Shape?

What you put into your dog reflects on the outside. Methods of enhancing a dog’s appearance to take it from a healthy looking dog to a stunning dog are what make the difference.

K9 Magazine has been out and asked some of the top dog experts about what THEY do to keep their dogs in the absolute peak of health and fitness!How Do The Experts Keep Their Dogs in Shape?

Linseeds sprinkled on to a dog’s food is a great way of promoting a glossy, even glassy coat. The coat is the first and most recognised marker of good health in a dog.

Considering diet, it is essential that it be taken into account that what works for one breed will do nothing for another breed. Age and sex also comes into the equation, older dogs require less fat, as do less active and smaller breeds.

All breed types will benefit from a balanced, tailored diet.

Virginia Dowty who has had her international and Gibraltar champion Bolognese, Shiarita Lolita for four years puts some of her success down to Lolita’s diet of “Royal Canin and Caesar, sometimes fresh cooked chicken or uncooked mince twice a day, one at 8am and then at 5pm.

I used a supplement of Hypercoat (oil in her food in the morning) and sometimes Angels Glow for 6 weeks sprinkled on her food (to help prevent tear staining) This improved her coat texture and removed some tear staining, and improved the colour on the feet, which could have been whiter. She was blessed with a good head, nice square type, good movement, lively character and good tail carriage, so the planned diet was supplementary to this. I think more exercise may have helped see her in better condition.

I would prefer she had whiter feet but I let my dogs have free run of a 1 acre walled garden and I would rather they had that freedom than the restrictions of keeping them inside just to have snow white feet !!

Mrs S Firth is the secretary of the Midlands and Northern Rhodesian Ridgeback club. She explained that the general health of a dog is reflected in their look. “I supplement my dog’s diet with cod liver oil. We take it for our general wellness and it keeps colds and sniffles at bay, so it should
have the same benefits for our dogs.

It also makes their coats shine, but for all over well being of the internal workings of any body, cod liver oil, which we pick up from Holland and Barrett does the trick”

Christine Lewis a breeder of champion Beagles with 34 years experience developing winning formulae for stunning dogs is an advocate of supplements only when they are needed.

“I feed my dogs a tinned complete food. I find that the products at the premium end of the range are simply of better quality, and I consider it an investment when I spend
that little bit extra on dog foods.

If my dogs are not looking one hundred percent for whatever reason, be that illness or tiredness I will use a Canovel multivitamin. It gives my
dogs the edge when it comes to their condition and really enhances the coat. But of course, there is no point spending decent money on supplements and expensive food if you don’t pay attention to exercise.”

Regular exercise is obviously essential for any healthy, happy dog, but too much or the wrong type of exercise can have the opposite to the desired effect. Much in the same way an endurance athlete would not want to be laden with dense muscle, certain dogs should not carry too much
condition in certain areas.

For example, a breed such as a Rottweiler should be compact yet very sturdy to the touch, where as a Greyhound should be entirely lean, so there is no generally effective regime to suit all dogs. A daily dose of free exercise is Christine Lewis’ favoured method of letting dogs develop their natural physique.

“I let my dogs run free when it is time to exercise them. If they have a lot of energy to burn off, they can do it. If they are on lead they can only exercise to a certain degree. I find that this sort of regime enables them to exercise as much or as little as they need to.”

When Sue Belfield decided that she wanted to improve the fitness of her German Shepherd Blitz (Kassieger Blitzen) winner of 3 Reserve champion certificates, she knew just the right steps to take.

“I wanted to improve Blitz’ coat and muscle tone. We have a Starker Hund Treadmill to help form these muscles which we used in conjunction with free gaiting exercises as well as playing ball on the field. I’ve had Blitz from birth (he represents 7 generations of Kassieger Breeding) She explained. “Although he is qualified for Crufts for life, we have never entered this particular dog (Blitz) at Crufts.

I have other dogs past and present who have won at Crufts and also bred dogs which have won at Crufts for their owners. One such dog is Kassieger Zar last year’s winner of Crufts Post Grad Dog class for his owners Mr & Mrs Hardy.”

So how does Sue Belfield feed her champions and keep them
in top shape?

“Depending upon the dog and its individual needs the dog foods I use are Arden Grange, Eukanuba and Pedigree twice a day. Other than adding a little tinned dog meat (pedigree) to the complete food as a taste and scent incentive, I do not use, nor agree with supplements.

However certain ‘other’ products are sometimes needed for health and to encourage coat growth at times of moulting - For example Bob Grass coat, skin and blood cooling tablets for the dog who may be prone to overheat are useful, these are all natural herbal remedies. I also use plenty of chewing products to clean the teeth and promote healthy gums."

Claire Rodgers has had her junior warrant champion Weimaraner, Pagan (KC name Sireva Royalty AT Minstregate JW) for three years. She wanted to improve Pagan’s coat in the approach to her show.

This was achieved with Arden Grange Prestige twice daily as well as Aloe Vera Gel. She believes this combination contributed to Pagan’s overall good health and fitness.

Achieving success is one thing, but maintaining high standards is an art in itself. Many people vary their dog’s diet and exercise routine, Sue Belfield disagrees.

“One tip I would definitely pass on is this. If your dog is looking good, feeling good and full of attitude don’t do anything different! Never change a winning formula. But another tip is to remain vigilant to your dogs needs, changes in attitude and appearance can happen at anytime and need to be remedied as quickly as possible.

Sometimes a change in exercise, food or even training is necessary, dogs can be just like people and ‘change’ as they say is sometimes as good as a rest!”

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