The Art of Feeding a Sled Dog
When you feed racing sled and hard working dogs it is of extreme importance that you do it the right way. A dog of 15-20 kg's needs 1010-1250 kcal every day just to satisfy his organism´s needs.
While working for example 2 hours a day, the dog needs 1800-2050 kcal/day. When the work reaches as much as 6 hours a day, his needs exceed 3400-3650 kcal/day!! In that case a proper nutrition must be chosen. You need to select a diet with a high level of quality fat and protein. If not, you dog will work with a filled and heavy stomach. Therefore, it is preferable to split the daily amount into 2-3 smaller amounts, which is given morning, afternoon and evening. It increases both the dog's digestion and his running performance.
Liquid such as water is as important as nutrition. An access to fresh water must be provided to all working dogs. During resting periods the dog needs around 1.5 l per day. With increased amount of work and excercise his needs for water will rise to as much as 7 l/day (for example when running long, extremely hard races such as the Iditarod or Yukon Quest).
Never make the mistake of mixing feeding and watering of your sled dogs together. Feeding is feeding and watering is watering. Don´t soak the food in liters of water hours before feeding. The increased amount of food will only make your dog feel too full and will force the accepted meal faster through the intestines, causing lower absorption of important nutrients.
When watering sled dogs, remember that the dog´s (similarly as with people) can absorb only about 36 ounces of water an hour. If you literarly pour liters of liquids through your dog´s throut, he will not absorb all the needed liquids and will urinate them out. So water your dogs regularly with smaller amounts of water (about 1/2 liter at once) more times a day.