Dog Agility competitions have become extremely popular and widely followed throughout the world. Dog agility courses are complex and the challenges increase as the level of competition advances. Agility dogs may be required to run, jump, climb, start and stop, and change direction suddenly. Because of these demands, these canine athletes require strength, endurance, speed and flexibility to ensure maximum performance. Appropriate and comprehensive training is fundamental. Training increases bone mass, red blood cell turnover, maximal oxygen consumption, reduces lactic acid production and reduces risk of injury. It is important to remember that the type of training appropriate and required for your pet will vary by age, breed, condition and type of event. Additionally, most dogs sleep for a good part of the day, and should not be expected to compete and perform on the weekends without appropriate conditioning. As with humans, an appropriate and high-quality nutrition protocol is paramount when considering any canine athletic competition. Protein is an essential part of the diet, and is particularly important for those dogs that are continually active for over 30 minutes. Diets high in protein would be most suitable for endurance training. Fats provide an extraordinary source of energy, and dogs can utilize this form of energy very easily and productively. However the appropriate amount of fat to feed your dog depends on the factors mentioned earlier. Other energy requirements and considerations include carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and, of course, water! Water is critically important for your agility dog. It is essential for thermoregulation, and should always be made available. Dogs maintain their body temperature by panting, and this increases their water requirements. The heat that is generated during agility competitions can limit stamina, affect performance and impact health. These are just some of the reminders to consider when preparing your dog athlete for agility. And don’t forget to see your animal chiropractor. A healthy and vibrant nervous system will resonate everywhere in the body! Have a comment? Join in, and Happy Training!