Why Quality Dog Food Matters


It’s tempting to spend less and get an ‘OK’ dog food. But, says professional dog trainer Karl Gunzer, top-notch food allows your hard-working dog to excel in the field and stay healthy under the physical demands of training and hunting.


MidWest Outdoors: Let’s talk about high quality dog foods. Tell us why it’s important to feed a premium food such as Pro Plan.

Karl Gunzer: High protein and high fat is what a dog operates best on. Fat is the best fuel for their tank. Protein builds lean muscle, but fat is what keeps them going through the day. The big difference with high quality, highly-digestible food is that the dog has more energy and more endurance.

This past year, 89 of the top 100 sporting dogs were fed Pro Plan. And of those, 90-plus percent are being fed Pro Plan Sport. It’s a food that has 30 percent protein, 20 percent fat. (Note: carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, glucosamine to support joint health, fiber, moisture, and other ingredients make up the other 50 percent.)

MWO: In addition to feeding a quality food, you stress the importance of making sure hunting dogs get enough water, right?

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Gunzer: Yes, it’s vitally important. Offer them water regularly during a day of hunting, and don’t forget that evening drink. Dogs will drink the most about two hours after their meal. Feed them early in the evening, after they’ve had a chance to rest for an hour or so. Then, two hours later, take the dogs back out, air them, and make sure they can get all they want to drink at that time.

It’s easy to forget that when they’re out there hunting or training hard, their panting is acting as evaporative cooling. They’re losing hydration all day, so you need to get that water back into them for the next day.


Karl Gunzer operated Karl’s High Spirit Retrievers for more than 20 years, the top Derby kennel in America in 2007 and 2012. He trained five National Finalists and a two-time Canadian National Champion. Competing in eight National Championships with 24 different dogs, he won more than 40 Open stakes and 60 Derby stakes. Today, as Senior Manager of Purina’s Sporting Dog Program, Gunzer’s team attends more than 500 field trials and championships every year.

Purina Pro Plan is the Official Dog Food of MidWest Outdoors, because advanced research and applied science result in the finest food for your hunting dog… because it’s far-and-away the top brand fed to champion canine athletes (89 of the top 100 in 2016)… and because Purina joins us in supporting the mission of Pheasants Forever.rl Gunzer.