The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Best energy bars for dogs: are they necessary and when should you offer them?

springer spaniel in water

Do spaniels smell more than labradors?

Energy bars for dogs are a relatively new addition to the dog food arena.

The really useful thing about them is that they come ready wrapped, so you can keep one or two in your pocket or the glove compartment of your car in readiness.

They are handy as treats, in training and to supplement the food of lactating bitches and dogs which could do with putting on a bit of weight.  (Read our list of the best slip leads for working dogs.)

What do the experts say?

But are energy bars for dogs really necessary or are you better off making your own training treats? We asked a few experts what they thought.

Firstly we asked vet and Sporting Gun contributor Neil McIntosh what he thought of energy bars for dogs. He said: “You should be able to compare bars by looking at the energy they contain…that is the calorie content. But this is thwarted somewhat as different bars will have different levels of digestibility. The ingredients are listed in the order of content.. the main ingredient first and so on, so that can give you a clue… fats and carbohydrates give faster immediate energy than protein… although most people are protein obsessed and manufacturers pander to that.

“I feed a high quality food and prefer to use pieces of that as top ups rather than introducing a novel product. Few dogs run out of energy so treating while working is more psychological than anything else and it does create a bond.”

Sporting Gun contributor and working dog trainer Fran Ardley of Tarncrag Gundogs advises: “I have tried Kronch energy bars. The labradors liked them (no surprise), the cockers struggled to eat them as they are quite thick. Kronch now offer a thinner version that the spaniels enjoy. The best ones in my opinion are the Skinner’s energy bars. They are easy to feed, easy to store and easy to divide up.”

Shooting Times contributor David Tomlinson said: “I’ve never used energy bars for my dogs, though on a shooting day I might have a biscuit or two in my pocket. My dogs don’t do sufficiently hard work to require energy boosts – they might if they were working on the grouse moors or out wildfowling. Working on the flatlands of East Anglia is not too much of a challenge for a fit spaniel!”

So it really comes down to personal choice. Here are some of the energy bars for dogs on the market right now.

Top choice

Skinner’s Field & Trial Energy Bar 12 Pack of 25 g


Energy bars for dogs Skinners

Best choice of professional gundog trainer

  • Chicken flavour pictured. Other flavours include: turkey, chicken and cranberry; chicken and root veg; lamb and root veg; salmon and steamed veg
  • Suitable for all breed sizes
  • Use for training
  • Plastic free and compostable packaging

Skinners is a tried and tested name in the working dog world and this bar is a favourite with gundog trainer Fran Ardley. As well as being a useful training aid, this bar will help to improve the dog’s stamina and contains useful nutrients.


More energy bars for dogs to consider

Kronch Pemmikan energy bars for dogs 400g

Kronch Pemmikan

Best for labradors

  • Suitable for working dogs, gundogs and agility dogs
  • High energy supplementary feed
  • Helps give energy levels a boost
  • Can also be used to supplement food of lactating females and underweight dogs

Fran Ardley noted that these bars were particularly popular with labradors (is there anything they won’t eat?) although spaniels struggled with the thickness of the bars. Break off a square (there are eight in a block) and give it to your dog when you think it needs a boost or extra encouragement. Apparently the effect of Pemmikan sets in after approximately 30 minutes and it reaches its full effect after approximately an hour.


Edgard & Cooper Natural Treats for Adult Dogs & Puppies – Grain Free Rewards, High Protein & Full of Fresh Meat (Lamb & Beef, 25g)

Best for treats

  • Suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs
  • Wafer form
  • Lamb and beef flavour
If you’re heading out for the day and you’re not sure what time you’re likely to be home, it could be worth having one of these bars in your pocket to tide your four legged friend over until it’s supper time. We haven’t tried them but they could be useful for smaller dogs that are fussy eaters.


If you’ve used energy bars successfully for your working dogs then drop us a line with your experience to [email protected].