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Monthly Archives

September 2020

Spotlight on Border Trail Hounds – One of Alpha’s new Sponsors in 2020

By | Alpha Feeds, Sponsorship | No Comments

Border Trail hounds

After receiving hundreds of applications to our recent call out for new sponsors, we have finally selected two fantastic recipients, who will each receive a sponsorship package from Alpha.

Border Trail Hounds are one of our worthy recipients of a sponsorship and, over the coming months, we would like to introduce you to their beautiful dogs, all they do and follow their success.

Run by Annabelle Connelly, Border Trail Hounds is made up of the very stunning Jas, lily, Moss & Rue, Henry, Holly and Tim. These working/racing Trailhounds will be competing over the coming months, with a fixture list due imminently.

Hound Trailing is an old Cumbrian sport that takes place up and down the local countryside most weekends from March through to October. The hounds travel in the region of 8 miles across fields & fells, following a scent of aniseed, which has been laid down for them to follow as a trail.

Completing the course in less than 30 minutes, the hounds race towards their owners, running in different grades during the season and collecting points throughout for the coveted title of champion.

Here, Annabelle provides her top tips for caring for hounds after they have raced….

‘After strenuous activity dogs should be thoroughly checked over to make sure they have no injuries or wounds that need vet’s assistance. A post exercise massage will help push toxins out if the muscle such as lactic build up which contributes to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which isn’t something you want when you exercise or work your dog often as this will end up inhibiting their performance. 

The morning after a race is crucial, that’s when you are most likely to see any visible lameness, limping, short strides or head nodding. 

If your dog is unfortunate enough to gain an injury, the next thing to do is to have a vet or licenced animal physiotherapist check them over to pinpoint exactly where the lameness is coming from. Once you know where is sore, it’s time to treat the lameness and help your dog recover as quickly and as safely as possible. 

My favourite things to use to treat a dog for a muscle injury are ultrasound treatment and massages. Massaging the sore muscle twice a day with a muscle liniment or plain warm water will ease inflammation in the muscle and improve blood flow to the injury, blood needs to be flowing through properly for it to carry oxygen and the right nutrients to the injury to help it recover. 

I also like to feed my dogs turmeric, banana and eggs as all three foods have great properties to help a dog recover from injury. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, eggs have all the amino acids dogs need to help recover faster and bananas are great to feed after activity due to their ability to replace glycogen lost when the dog is performing.’

Annabelle Connelly, Border Trail Hounds

Having worried about one her own hounds, Moss, becoming lame recently, we’re very happy to report that after a visit to a licensed physio, all is well, and Moss is back fighting fit and racing.

We are also pleased to say Rue won the Produce trial yesterday (Sunday 20th September). She ran her heart out to win by a length on the finishing line – what a fantastic start to the season! Moss was 4th as he unfortunately made a couple of mistakes, which cost him dearly, but since he was only at the physio a few days ago, we think this is still a fantastic result.

We very much look forward to supporting Border Hound Trails in their coming season. To find out more about them and follow their racing season, visit their Instagram page.

 

 

Preparing Your Working Dog For The Shooting Season

By | Health, Nutrition, Training | No Comments

man and dog on shoot in countryside

Summer is coming to an end, the first leaves of autumn are falling, and there’s a decided nip in the air. And what does this spell? The shooting season is nigh!

After a beautiful summer holiday, your dog will probably be looking a little wider around the middle, and maybe a little out of shape. You too may be feeling the same?! With this in mind – now is the perfect time to begin preparations for a busy season in the field.

Everything from feeding to training is about to ramp up – and it’s crucial to manage the transition back into the field with care. In this week’s blog, we talk nutrition and fitness preparation to get your dog in tip-top shape for work.

The DIY health check

Before embarking on your epic pre-season training plan; it’s good to give your dog a quick health check. Luckily, this is very straightforward and can be done for the comfort of your home. However, If your dog is displaying any signs of discomfort, infection or illness – a trip to the vet is recommended. The following steps will highlight any potential problems;

  1. Covering the entire body, thoroughly check your dog for any bumpy bits, and don’t forget the tip of his tail – after a hard season before, this area is prone to injury.
  2. Extend and flex all joints. You should be feeling for any resistance to manipulation and signs of discomfort.
  3. Check the mouth for redness in the gums, loose teeth over zealous tartar build-up; this can all lead to discomfort for your dog.
  4. Check your dog’s ears for redness, irritation and excess wax.
  5. Examine your pet’s eyes for clouding or discharge.
  6. Inspect all four paws looking out for discolouration or strange smells. Examine the length of the nails and study between the toes.

Let’s get moving!

After a few months of relaxing and restoring – your dog is ready to get back into training; and being a working breed, he’ll be turbocharged to get back into the action! Just a few extra pounds can increase the pressure on your dogs’ joints, increasing the risk of an injury, and after a sedentary period, your dog is likely to have put on a few!

Start your training light with regular walks, and increase the intensity gradually. Conditioning your dog for long days in the field, including some short sprints, is crucial. And, focusing on the duration and frequency of exercise will help no end. Activities like running beside you while you ride a bike, practising long and short retrieves (with a variety of dummy weights) and obedience training will all help build stamina and sharpen your dog’s mental response skills.

Nutrition for optimum health and endurance

As the energy levels and activity ramp up, it’s essential to feed accordingly. In the same way, you are building up the workout intensity – introduce new foods slowly. A sudden change in diet could lead to stomach upsets – just as jumping straight into intense physical training could result in injury. We suggest mixing the new food in with the current meal for a week to allow the dog’s digestive system to adjust.

As your dog’s energy levels grow, heralding the start of the season, gradually increase the volume fed, splitting it into two or three meals per day. It would be best if you were looking for a dog food that offers high levels of protein and fat to support energy levels and muscle repair. At Alpha, we provide a range of high performance feeds, including Alpha Sporting Puppy (29% protein), Alpha High Performance (32%protein), and Alpha Grain-free (25% protein).

*No dietary changes will be required if your dog enjoyed a busy and active close season. Vet’s and scientists agree that it’s best (if possible) to keep the dog’s nutritional profile consistent. This aids and maintains good metabolism.