They say a great dog comes around once in a lifetime, and, for once, I think they are right. Problem is, I'm not sure ol' Meathead, my 10-year-old yellow Lab, is that dog.
His given name is Indiana, but he's always responded much better to his nickname. He's got more gray on his muzzle now than yellow, and he's long past his better days, when he was dubbed Indy 500 by a neighbor who couldn't believe how fast he could run and for how long. Truth be known, he's an average hunter at best, but that doesn't mean I don't want him around next year.
Many dog owners, especially those who hunt with their dogs, know that sickening feeling of not knowing if their dog will make one more run for fun. But the good news is the dog-nutrition industry is responding to the hunter's desire to keep his dog in the field longer, even if it's for just one more year.
If you keep your dog healthy and feed it good nutrition, it has less of a chance to get sick or break down on you in the field, especially if it's an older dog, said John Luttrell, owner of Luttrell Kennels in Clark. Most high-quality dog foods have all the nutrients a dog needs. The trick is to get it out of the food and into the dog through digestion.
In addition to running a training facility and kennel, Luttrell is a licensed reseller for K9 Thrive, a probiotic food supplement for dogs.
I wouldn't have invested the money I did in this project if I had not seen the results, first-hand, for myself, Luttrell said. Because it promotes and establishes healthy enzymes within a dog's stomach, it's a great way to enhance any kind of maintenance formula you might be feeding an older dog. At that age, a dog's metabolism changes, and anything you can do to get the necessary enzymes to take hold and pull more and more nutrients out of that food is worth it.
Others within the canine community are also taking note of the public desire for dog nutrition. SportDog Brand, a company known for its electronic training collars, is marketing its line of dog-nutrition supplements named Canine Athlete C9.
We look to develop products that make living with your pet a better experience, said Darrell Douglas, SportDog's tracking and nutrition category manager. If you go into an average pet store, you'll find a lot of stuff made for average pets. There are products out there, however, that not only enhance performance, but also decrease recovery time to get more days in the field with your dog at any age.
SportDog's C9 has products for dogs of all ages, but it also makes a formula for specifically for older dogs.
If you have a dog in that achy stage, Douglas said, the Senior Aches product helps them not be as stiff and/or avoid not being able to get out of bed. All of our products were designed around highly active dogs, focusing on keeping them hydrated and flexible.
Luttrell and Douglas are both quick to say that no product is an overnight miracle worker.
It's like giving your kids a Flintstones vitamin, Douglas said. If you use the product in a young dog, it's not likely you'll ever see the difference because that dog is healthier from day one. However, if you have a dog in that senior stage, you'll definitely be able to see the product take effect over time.
If you want to get another year out of your dog, Luttrell said, the time to act is now.