Do retired police dogs need special food?

Although they are specifically bred to perform rough and tough police work, catch criminals and bring down cartels, they still have their meek and timid dog personality within them. Police dogs have sturdier built and exercise routines that average dogs cannot perform. Like any police officer who needs rest after a lifetime of service, do police dogs retire and have an alternative reality? The answer is simple, yes. They serve as excellent pets!

Raised to be aggressive dogs, trained to attack whoever threatens their handlers, these gentle beings don’t necessarily show aggression to everyone. They make perfect house dogs.

Once you decide to adopt a retired police dog, remember you must care for them most lovingly. Their whole lives are spent working in stressful situations, so now is the time they live the rest of their lives in a calm and loving environment. Most handlers take their canine officers home with them once they retire and continue to care for them. But some police departments put their retired dogs on adoption. If you want a K9 furry friend at home, visit your local police department and inquire if they have any police dogs for adoption.

An energetic k9 dog needs to remain healthy to maintain its demeanor. Ensuring that you feed them a proper diet is one of the ways to go about it. They are provided a specific type of diet that is very regulated all their life. If you give a k9 dog just anything out of your fridge, it may not be well received and even dangerous to your dog, who can end up getting very sick.

Giving People Food May or May Not Be The Best Idea

Generally, dogs need a lot of nutrients to stay healthy throughout their lives. The best dog food will fulfills your dog’s basic daily nutritional requirements. Sometimes families give their furry-friends people food such as steak or carrot. This may not seem harmful in the short run, but it potentially creates health issues for your dog, whether a regular pet or a retired k9 officer.

Giving too much people food to your dogs, they may stop finding their dog food kibble interesting and will wait for you to serve them your food that may or may not have the proper food nutrient mix. They will develop behavioral changes and become increasingly demanding, ask for food whenever they dine, cook, or snack, and gain weight. Furthermore, they whine, jump up, sit or stare in the hopes that you drop a morsel of food.

Sometimes people do not know what they are feeding their dogs. Too many people make the mistake of feeding their dogs grapes which can cause serious side effects, especially to a k9 officer who has never been introduced to such a diet.

Ideal food composition for k9 dogs

An adult retired k9 dog should be fed at least twice a day. Although these dogs can survive on a once-a-day meal, it would help if you give them two wholesome meals a day. This will help them control any unwanted hunger pangs. Furthermore, an adult retired dog needs at least 10 percent of its calories from protein and at least 5.5 percent fats. You should also add carbohydrates and fiber. Do not go below 50 percent carbohydrates and 2.4 to 4.5 percent fiber, as this will ideally help them digest their food.

What to look for on labels while buying commercial food for K9 dogs

There are many kinds of dog food available in stores; however, you can’t feed your K9 just any of those. Read the labels and ensure that it meets your K9’s dietary requirements. The pet food must list ingredients by weight, starting with the heaviest component. According to the FDA, the first should be meat; however, meat is just 75 percent water. Without the water weight, the meat would probably be at the bottom of the list. Look for a dog food label that reads “complete and balanced.” Your pet food may also contain some byproducts, such as the liver, rich in Vitamin A and other nutrients. Meat products may include intestines, brains, blood, stomach, which may seem appalling to you, but rest assured your dog loves all this.

There is a preservatives section on your pet food label, which also includes artificial colors, if any, in it. Ensure that they are FDA approved or recognized as safe to consume. The pet food brand will list all the preservatives on the label; however, they will generally miss out on preservatives added in the meat, which is processed elsewhere.

You may want to avoid food packs containing synthetic preservatives like BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), or ethoxyquin. These preservatives keep dry food fresh for about a year, and hence their safety is highly questionable. Ethoxyquin came under scrutiny for skin allergies, cancer, and organ failure in dogs back in the 1990s. If you see these chemicals, be sure to stay away from them.

Gut issues K9 dogs can encounter

Your K9 furry friend can encounter digestive issues if not fed a balanced diet. Once you see any symptoms, immediately take your K9 to the vet, as gastrointestinal issues can become very severe and life-threatening.

Look out for these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea with or without blood or mucus
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • A lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Distress or inability to get comfortable

Note that your K9 may not show all these symptoms in one instance. If you see even one or two, take your dog to the vet at once.

The cost associated with food for a K9

The cost of petting a dog can vary with their food requirements. It will also depend on how old and healthy they are. K9 dogs eat a very balanced diet to keep fit. If you keep up with the same routine, their food can cost you anywhere between $250 to $750 annually. This also depends on how frequently you feed them per day.


You may be wondering, are there any k9 dogs near me? Vist your local police station to find one. But make sure you feed them right. They are not very fussy when it comes to food, but they need due care from their owners. These dogs are very loving, and because of their training, they are always looking out for their owner’s safety. K9s are possessive compared to regular dogs as they live a life with a purpose- to protect their owner. They make great companions even after retirement, so adopt one if you are looking for one.

Author bio:

Sarah Paulson is a professional dog trainer who deals with severe dog behaviors. Regardless of breed, she’s a dog enthusiast who has 5 years of experience in training dogs and dog owners. Currently she is working with Orchard Knoll K9.

Read More: 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Appreciates You Working From Home

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