Athletic Dogs: Diet and Supplements

A dog's diet should adapt to its unique requirements for both mental and physical health. And when it comes to athletic dogs, nutrition should also maximize performance. But be sure to talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any "extra" vitamins.
Athletic Dogs: Diet and Supplements

Last update: 11 July, 2020

Athletic dogs require a diet and certain supplements that help them improve their aptitudes. Any good quality commercial dog food will provide animals with the nutrients they need. However, when it comes to these particular animals, they need additional nutrients in order to stay healthy, inside and out.

Their food should provide them with the energy they need and keep them as active as possible for maximum performance.

A dog catching a tennis ball.

Do you want to know how to provide the best diet and supplements for athletic dogs? Keep reading!

The importance of diet and supplements for athletic dogs


There are several factors that any diet for athletic dogs should have in common. In other words, there are several things that the food they consume should provide these animals:

  • Energy. This is vital in any type of training or sport that athletic dogs take part in. They can get their energy from fats, which also boost stability when it comes to body temperature and the absorption of vitamins.
  • Fatty acids. These help to protect and strengthen a dog’s fur, which may not seem of importance when it comes to physical activity. However, it’s very beneficial for animals that practice sports or any type of work in high-temperature regions. Dogs can get fatty acids from a variety of sources, including salmon, sardines, soy, flax seeds, and chia seeds. However, you should ask your veterinarian before giving them to your dogs.
  • Protein: Protein allows a dog’s body to use fats for what they’re really needed for–obtaining energy and maintaining body temperature. That way, animals will remain active for a longer period of time and have more resistance.
A dog performing in a competition.

A new diet should begin little by little, between four and 6 weeks before training. This is true whether you’re dealing with a puppy or an adult dog.

Be sure to take things gradually, since your dog won’t be used to eating more than necessary. Going too fast could be very hard on your animal’s organism. And remember, dogs shouldn’t eat just before or just after exercising. Rather, leave a margin of several hours.

Supplements for athletic dogs

There are various types of supplements that owners can give to dogs. However, you should never give animals supplements that are meant for humans. Be sure to only give your dog vitamins that are specially designed for canines, and only under the supervision of your veterinarian.

A dog jumping through a tire.

Some of the supplements that are available for dogs are the following:


Dogs need many vitamins. While good quality commercial kibble and raw diets provide the vitamins, athletic dogs have higher requirements due to the energy their exercise requires. Among the most important vitamins are the following:

  • Vitamin K. This vitamin is responsible for blood clotting and preventing possible hemorrhages that can result from the pressure that very intense sports can place on a dog’s body.
  • Vitamin B: Vitamin B plays an important role in muscle development. At the same time, vitamin B3 controls the proper functioning of enzymes, and vitamin B5 favors the absorption of nutrients.
  • Vitamin D: This vitamin is important for the development and strengthening of bones.
  • Vitamin E: Produces membranes and promotes cellular respiration.

Fatty acids

As we said before, there are many foods that contain fatty acids. However, supplements offer a larger and faster dose to athletic dogs.


Minerals are vital when it comes to the proper functioning of an animal’s organism. And, at the same time, they provide dogs with more energy and resistance. Giving them to your canine in the form of a supplement will make them more effective.

Depending on what point a dog is at in their training, you should offer varying amounts of each nutrient or supplement. To make sure you’re providing the right diet and supplements to meet your animal’s needs, be sure to check with your veterinarian.

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