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Posted in  Coondogs, Dogs, Outdoor Entertainment   on  February 3, 2020 by  Josh Brown0

About the author

After getting my Masters of Business Science I decided to share my experience online about country living and teaching my son about the things I did when I was his age. Join me as we take this dirt road together!

Dot Compared to Lucy Mixed breed coonhound.

Cooner's Dogs In Summer

What Food I Feed To Keep My Hounds Barking

Today I'm going to do a little blogging on dog food, and the difference I've found in them. Have you ever wondered what professional dog owners feed their dogs to keep them healthy? Maybe you have wondered what is the best food to feed you dogs or should you feed you pet dogs, human types of  food!!! If these questions sound like problems that your always searching out answers for, then this blog post is for you. As an owner and breeder of working and show hound dogs. I hope to clear up some gray areas on what your feeding your dogs and how to keep them healthy. So lets dive into that food bowl and see what the Cooner has got to eat... 

The Crockett Cooner's New Pens

The Cooner's New Dog Run With A DIY Gravity Feeder

Not All Dogs Are The Same

Now I've always been a fan of the dog foods that kept all of my hounds full, healthy, strong, and added shine to their coats. I've always been a dry dog food kind of guy, but not limited to just dry dog foods or just dog food in general for my hounds. I know, many of you will disagree with feeding human food to your dogs. I also agree that some breeds of dogs, but not ALL dogs, do well with changing their diets or feeding them the occasional table scraps!!  In my case I adjust my dog's diet on a few different factors. My feeding schedule changes based on the temperature/season of year, the age/breed of the dog, and how much exercise my hounds are getting in those times. Many times depending on those factors it also determined the dog food brand I purchased and fed.

 But, and this is a big BUT!!! first and fore most the thing to remember is not all dogs and dog breeds are the same. Some breeds of dogs do have health issues with different foods especially human food.  In this post I'm going to use my personal experience and past events with my coonhounds to try and explain a little about what I believe to be good advice for readers with outside working and show dogs, especially the hound dog breeds. So I want to say right up front before we go any further. You must know your dogs health, certain types of dog foods and especially human foods can cause major health problems in some breeds and in some extreme cases even death of your dogs. So just because I feed my particular hounds in this fashion does not mean, it will work for you or your dog!!! If you are not sure on any of my advice in feeding and how that compares to your dogs. Always consult a veterinarian first, before feeding your dog anything I have recommended in this post. 

However, I do hope some of the information in this post will  be good advice for other dog owners of different breeds, especially those that have working dogs and other out door types of k9's. Even if you have found this post and just have a beloved family pet. Maybe I can sum up some information on why certain dog foods seem to make your dogs coat look a certain way or how different dog foods can change your pets behavior based on their health. As I like to tell my readers... 

"Dogs are much like people in regards to food but drastically different in other ways. Different things such as crud fats, crude proteins, crude fiber and their intake of vitamins plays a large factor in your pets over all well being."
Words From: The "Cooner" 

Below I've given you some quick points to remember when you are purchasing dog food. So by taking a look at brands that are offered at your local stores where you purchase your dogs foods.  I hope after this post, you will have a better understanding of how to check the back labels on dog foods and do a quick  comparison of ingredients to find out what each brand offers. In this comparison by adding a little more or less Crude fat, Crude Protein, and Crude Fiber to your pets diet. You will learn how to  target the outcomes of what your dogs need in ingredients  in their diet. But, more about that in a second, take a quick look a the list below to get your mind right for purchasing dog food...  

Points To Remember First When Looking For Your Perfect Dog Food
  • Look at the back labels and compare brand ingredients to one another. (Many cheaper priced dog foods will have different percentages of ingredients compared to more expensive brands. This can be a good or bad point depending on what ingredients your particular dog needs.)
  • Adjust Crude Fat/ Crude Protein intake for your pet. ( This is a trial and error process in many cases. You must find the correct amounts that fit your particular dogs needs.) (I base my percentages on the factors I stated in the above paragraphs, temperature/ season of the year, age/breed of dog, and exercise of the dog.)  
  • Keep In Mind not all dogs do well with red meat (Beef) based foods. (Fish based and lamb based dog foods sometimes will supplement for dogs that have a problem with to much red meat intake.) (Side Note: There are also different problems associated with even the best organic dog foods compared to dogs health!!!)
  • Depending on Exercise, Breed/Age, Over all health, and Temperature Conditions. Adjustments in dog food percentages of indigents need to be made seasonally, for most dogs that are housed outside. (A major factor to NEVER forget is climates with Rapid Temperature Changes. It will effects your dogs health and performance compared to their food needs in a matter of hours, especially in older dogs and puppies.)

Dog Exercise And Digestion Rate Now that you know the factors I base my dogs food needs on. I should go more into why I use these factors and how you too can keep your pet healthy if they are similar to my hounds. First, lets talk exercise of your dogs and how foods play a major role in it. If you look into the digestive system of your dog. Keeping in mind that different breeds, ages, and personal needs of individual dogs all play a factor in food needs for dogs. In general, most dogs digestive systems take on average about 8 to 10 hours to fully digest a meal. Now those numbers of digestion can change base on exercise. If your dog is expending energy rapidly because of work or play, then much like a human they can work up an appetite. Now this brings up another topic when looking into dogs health that is much different than us humans. That is the topic of how much food is retained in the dogs stomach and intestinal tract compared to humans. Dogs retain about 70 percent of the food they eat in their stomach and about 30 percent in their intestinal tract. The numbers for retention of food for humans  in these two parts of the body are much different. So to all my readers, I can't stress enough. Yes, dogs do like many of the same foods we humans do but, some human foods can and will effect dogs differently than us humans, due to the retention percentages in their bodies. Never make the mistake of saying that a dogs dietary needs are the same as a humans!!! 

Different Dogs Foods Based On Breed/Age  Now that you have a better understanding about the inner workings of our four- legged friends. You need to understand how exercise, breed, and age can affect your dogs appetite and how expending energy through work or play can cause your dogs to need more or less in different dietary elements  in their diet. Much like people if you are not being active, then you don't need as much food because, you are not burning as many calories. Dog's are the same as humans in this way when it comes to food. The main difference comes when you look into breed and weight of your dog. It is obvious that some larger breeds are not as active as some small breeds of dogs in their general life style. This is why knowing your particular breed is so important a very high energy Chihuahua will expend energy quicker than  a low energy hound type of dog and with a Chihuahua they will expend more energy all day long!!! I know that was a really general comparison of breeds but, this is why some dog foods are formulated for small breeds of dogs.

Age of your dog is also important, we all have seen the puppy mixes of dog foods at the store. One main reason for this is the rate that a younger dog uses the bathroom. As most dog owners know, puppies use the bathrooms way more than adult dogs. This is because much like adolescent humans. The puppy is not as developed in its intestinal tract as an older dog. There for it requires food that it can retain more to keep the health of the puppy maintained. As I've mentioned earlier, a dogs digestive systems functions at different rates than in humans. Keep in mind a puppy is after all, just a smaller undeveloped dog with an undeveloped digestive tract. I recommend feeding  a good quality puppy mix that is targeted at younger dogs and then adjust the puppy mix to fit each puppies personal needs, if needed. 

Dog Food Needs Based On Temperature Now keeping in mind that I'm writing this post for owners of hunting hounds and working K9's that are primarily housed outdoors. This is why I believe weather conditions play a great factor in what you feed outside dogs. When the temperatures decline, dogs need more food to make more calories. As we know dogs retain food differently because of their inner workings in the stomach and intestines. With increased percentage of crude fat in the dog food mix . It will cause your dog to retain more of the fats from the food you feed. Basically you are adding a layer of "fat insulation" through the fat enriched food in your outside working dogs to keep them warmer. But, what goes up must come down and in hotter months feeding less crude fat to keep your dogs cooler by decreasing the crude fat intake is a must. To make a good example comparing dogfoods to humans so you can better understand. Would you rather eat a boiling hot bowl of beef stew on a hot summer day, or a cold winter night to stay warm!!!  

 Now that you have a better understanding of how exercise, breed/age, and season/ temperatures affects your dogs food needs. We need to look closer at what the difference in the numbers found on the back of dog food bag labels really translates to in health food needs of your dogs. Below I'm going to give some examples of the dog foods, I feed and what time of the year I feed them. Also, we will look at some of the other elements in the dog food and how that will effect your dogs and in what ways it effects them. 

So What Is Some Differences In Numbers On The Dog Food Bags 

To give an example in the differences and uses of Crude Fat And Crude Protein percentages that I adjust depending on the seasons and temperature. Here is a personal example of  what and why I fed my hounds the dog foods I do . When I had a three year old hound (a younger hound but adult) that was hunting each night, and it was Winter, extremely cold weather in the twenties during the day and down to single digits each night. I would look for high crude fat and high crude protein in my dogs food. So this means when you look at the numbers on the dog food bag it would read, 30/20 for example. Meaning 20.0 percent crude fat and 30.0 percent on crude protein on the nutrition label, listed on the side of the bag. So what does that really mean for your dog as far as energy and basically keeping your dog full and healthy.  

Remember earlier when I mentioned that in general a dog of my breed, walker hounds that are housed outside would need to only be fed between 8 to 12 hours. This is where I made the adjustments in food not only did I feed once daily in warmer months. I would in turn feed my hounds three times and position my feeding times, around my hunting schedule and the temperature conditions my hounds hunted under. So to give an example I would feed in the morning around 8 A.M., then the second feeding was around 5 P.M., and then the third feeding around 1 A.M. Now keep in mind that the 1 A.M. feeding came after my hounds had expended their energy on a hunt. That hunt usually lasted between five to seven hours and I hunted around six days each week, for three months (coldest weather months in my area). At which time my hounds where continuously on the go doing such things as running, bawling, barking/treeing, and swimming all in single digit weather. Also, many times on my second feeding I would add some types of human food into the mix but, more about that in a second.

I want to stress again that even within the walker hound community, not all dogs are the same and different breeds respond differently to, increased higher levels of proteins. Some individual walker hounds do not need to be fed this much food with that much crude protein. It can and would in some hounds cause signs of stress on the dogs nervous system, leading to things such as over aggression or being lethargic. It also can cause many problems in a dogs blood stream resulting in dehydration, intestinal infections, and in very bad cases cause types of cancers!!! So once again check with your veterinarian if you are not sure if my feeding schedule and dog food choices are safe for your dog.

Now notice I have working dogs, dogs that are somewhat the athletes of the dog world. Also my hounds are housed outside, hunt outside, and encounter all types of germs, parasite's and a score of just nasty things that can make my hounds sick especially in a dog pen and while hunting! This is one reason for feeding such high amounts of proteins in my dogs diet in the winter. I wanted not only a food that would produce a healthy  strong dog that was warm in cold weather, but also a food that would maintain the health of my hounds intestinal tract through producing good Microbes in the dogs gut flora under such harsh conditions and strain on my dogs physical overall health.

 By now I would think you are getting a good understanding of how to adjust your own dogs needs based on your breed and its particular traits, health, age of your dog, and how your dog is housed.  I mean let's face it a dog that lives indoors only and is outside for only a few hours each day that is really a couch potato. Doesn't need near as much crude fat and proteins to stay warm and healthy because, the demands on the house dogs physically are not the same compared to a working dog.  So below is a picture of a crude fat/ crude protein mix I feed in the winter months, check out the numbers.  

30/20 Dry Dog Food

Diamond 30/20 Performance Dog Food

Now in the spring and fall if my hounds where active in hunting, but the weather was still warm during the day around the seventy degree mark and just cool at night, usually around the sixty to high fifty degree mark. I would change and feed a general Premium mix of dog food. Such as 26/18 once again, 18 percent crude fat and 26 percent crude protein. Because, all along I was maintaining  my dogs fat intake compared to the outside temperatures while giving my dogs enough protein to keep them full and healthy.
26/18 Dry Dog Food

Diamond 26/18 Premium Adult Dog Food

Lastly, when it became extremely hot in the  summer here in Tennessee, where temps would range from the hundred degree mark in the day to the eighties at night with high humidity. I would keep a close eye to see if my hounds would need a change to a lighter blend of dog food that was much lower in fats and proteins so it would not "burn" my hounds up.  Meaning, hot spots from too much protein in the food, would show up as raw little bumps in the hounds coat during the summer if the protein/fat mix was too high. So I usually found myself looking for a dog that was around the 25.0 crude protein 14.0 percent crude fat mark or sometimes even lower in numbers depending on how much exercise/ hunting my hounds where getting at that time of the season. 

25/14 Dry Dog Food

Diamond 25/14

I must also mention that Diamond Dog Food is NOT a sponsor of the Crockett Coonhound. But, we have high hopes here, that one day  it might become a reality to be sponsored by Diamond. For all of my readers that would like to see the different products I've fed from Diamond here is a link to their page, so you can see one brand of dog food the Cooner prefers. Diamond Dog Food

Why and When I Believe In Feeding Some Human Foods To Dogs 

After years of owning and training professional Coonhounds I've started adding SOME human types of food to my hound dogs food, for many different reasons. Currently I've been feeding Dog Chow Complete, which I find to be a great balanced food for my hounds along with some human foods added in but, only in special circumstances. Since my female hound is expecting puppies, I'm currently not hunting and the weather is in the mid 70's. I've come to see with my present female Hound. Dog foods that have high crude fat numbers do NOT help add weight or muscle to her skinny frame. In fact it seems to make my hound appear to be overly skinny. It also seems that my current hounds metabolism must be so extremely high due increased appetite because she is expecting puppies. Also, along with my larger pen, which is 30'x 10' it gives her the ability to run in the pen, and she just can't keep weight on expending all that penned up energy. This is why I can't stress enough to know your own particular dogs health needs. 

So, recently to adjust and give my expecting mother hound the diet she needs to keep her and the puppies healthy. I've been trying to feed some added tuna fish, broccoli, and carrots with my hounds dog chow as a supplement, so that I could add in vitamins and protein. Also,  bits of leftover red meats such as steak or hamburgers gets occasionally put in her feed, but not to much. The out come from adding more natural meat and vitamins worked quiet well in helping my hound maintain a healthy weight while being pregnant and not become so overly fat that it would be hard for her when she is in labor.  

Now, don't think I'm just saying to feed only expecting mother dogs some human types of food. I've also in times past adjusted my feeding schedule to incorporate human foods. Usually to produce some type of outcome that the particular hound was missing from their diet.  But, moderation and knowing what human foods are safe is the key to feeding human foods to dogs and not cause problems with their health. Below is a list of the top 5 human foods that are considered safe for dogs and the top 5 list of foods you should never feed a dog..

Top 5 Human Foods That Are Usually Safe For Dogs

  1. Fish  -Usually a good source of Omeaga-3 (Use caution if  the fish has small bones, they can become lodge in a dogs throat)
  2. Red Meat(Steak) - Is a good source of protein (Use caution the meat needs to be cooked)
  3. Eggs - Is a good source of protein, fatty acids, and vitamins
  4. Broccoli & Carrots- Is a good source of vitamins (Only when cooked, not seasoned, no oil added, and in small amounts adjusted to your dogs weight)
  5. Oatmeal- Is a great alternative to dogs that don't do well with wheat grains. ( It's a great source of vitamin B and Omega-6, great for a dogs skin and coat)
Dog Fur Of Her Side

Cooner's Hounds Fur After Oatmeal Has Been Fed For One Week, Notice The Shine

Top 5 Human Foods That Are Never Safe For Dogs

  1. Chocolate- It contains Theobromine and caffeine, humans metabolism can burn this up rapidly but, a dogs metabolism is much slower and the compounds from this can add up (causing toxicity to a dog)
  2. Cinnamon- Can cause your dogs mouth, nose, and throat to become irritated and inflamed (keep in mind a dogs nose is roughly 10,000 times better than a humans)
  3. Bacon and Ham- I'm not saying either are extremely bad, but both contain high levels of sodium ( Also 10% of dogs can have high blood pressure)
  4. Grapes and Raisins- Contains a compound that is harmful to most all K9 species (Has been know to cause kidney failure in dogs especially)
  5. Chewing Gum-  Contains Xylitol which is extremely poisonous to dogs (It only takes a small amount of Xylitol per pound of dogs body weight to be deadly)

I hope this post summed up so ideas you might have had on how many professional dog owners, especially those with working dogs feed and keep their pets so healthy. Please feel free to leave us a review we love to hear from our readers. Make sure to take a look around the rest of the Crockett Coonhound website, we have a lot to see here. Also, if you liked this post and want to stay up on everything that is going on here at the Crockett Coonhound, make sure to sign up for our news letter. Lastly, if you are out scanning the old inner web make sure to look for me The Crockett Cooner and The Crockett Coonhound you can find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.  Thank you all again for taking time to read this post and I hope you have a great day and even better tomorrow. 

Frequently Asked Questions

🌾 Do different amounts of ingredients found in dog food produce different amounts of waste in the dog pens?

Yes, as mentioned before with different breeds, different ages, different outside temperatures, exercise, and individual dogs internal workings. If you compared that to the different amounts of ingredients some dogs will defecate more.   

🌽 Can certain types of organic dog foods cause health problems in dogs?

 Yes, some organic dog foods that contain higher levels of brown rice, different types of starch from vegetables, and low quality meat products, have been know to cause some types of kidney stones in some breeds of  dogs. 

💊 My working coonhounds have joint problems such as soreness, what is found in some dog food that can help them?

Dog foods that have omega-3 are usually recommended for dogs with joint pain and problems. (Side note: Some cheaper dry dog foods often don't have enough omega-3 or don't publish the percentages of omega-3 on the products ingredients list. For certain dogs they need more omega-3, remember there are good quality supplements you can add to your feeding schedule.) 

🐕 Do dog foods that state, for large breeds or small breeds really matter to the nutrition and health of the dog?

Yes, it's not JUST about the size of the dog food pellets compared to the size of the dogs body or mouth. But, these are both factors for small dog owners when looking at dog food choices. Rather, dog food companies many times will target their mixes of dog foods to fit what different smaller size dog breeds will need in their diet, based also on higher energy levels and health problems associated with some smaller breeds .  

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