How to feed your hounds while hunting
Even when some hounds seem to sleep all day long at home, or have low energy expenditure in non-hunting days; all of them turn on very active, high energy dogs once you are out for a game, no matter the breed, all hounds will enjoy hunting and will put 100% of them and more on it.
Considering that, your hounds feeding can't be the same when they are at home with the family and when they are on a hunting raid, especially during the winter season when temperature drops, snow and water increase their energy consumption.
On this regard, the day before hunting, the day or days you are out as well a couple of days after hunting, your dogs will need an energy rich diet, very different from the everyday feeding.
The best choice to feed your hounds the day before hunting is a combination of regular diet (probably consisting of dried food) with fresh proteins and fats. Fresh, raw, fatty meat cuts will be appropriate, especially during the winter season because of the high energy amount on them. Additionally extra water must be supplied in order not only to provide hydration but also to facilitate proteins digestion.
During the hunting raid the best option is to begin the day with a high protein diet and a lot of water in order to provide a good energetic starting point to your dogs, afterwards and depending of weather, temperature and terrain characteristics, probably it will be necessary to include a few snacks every 3 or 4 hours to keep your dogs stamina high.
This is something you probably don't do at home, but during hunting things work different. Your dogs need to keep all their senses alert, be moving all day long and be ready to explode whenever it's needed, so keeping their fuel level high is critical to keep a high performance.
These snacks may be dry or fresh, the most important thing is they must be high energy, easy to eat snacks. Probably because of weight and carrying convenience dried snacks are the best choice, but also fresh meat might work.
At the end of the day it will be necessary to recovery energy and even when your dogs eat once a day at home, during hunting days it will be a good idea an extra meal at the end of the day.
In the case of a big game catch, there will be plenty of options for your dogs at the end of the day, all of them healthy and with high energy, something useful for the next day.
Finally, once you are back home, you will need a transition to regular diet. This time energy is not so important but vitamins and minerals. Dogs expend a lot of their nutritional reserve during hunting, so once you are back at home it will be necessary to provide them the necessary to reload such reserves.
On this regard, proteins and fats are important but also fruits and vegetables that will provide hydration, vitamins and minerals. At the beginning a mix of fresh and dry food will work, progressing to the regular diet along the next 2 or 3 days.
Once everything is set to normal you may continue your hounds regular diet until the next raid!