Now that winter is in full swing, you need to make some useful adjustments in the food-habit of your dog. There is an important connection between weather and appetite in the dogs and the changes in the weather play a vital role in altering their food intake. The seasonal change significantly impacts the health of a dog, that’s why you need to pay extra attention to the diet of your barker throughout these chilly months.

But winter not only comes with snow and sleet, it also comes with loads of misconception and mistaken beliefs among the dog owners such as:

 

  • Many pet parents think that because their pets have a coat of fur, they can easily deal with the cold better than humans and don’t require any extra attention especially to its dietary needs

 

  • Dogs are biologically capable of adjusting with the seasonal changes on their own

 

  • Some believe that extra calories will be required in the winter to keep their body temperature regulated

 

  • And there are some pet owners who believe that there is no need for extra calories as dogs do not burn them as often as they do in summer

 

Through this article, I will try to help you get rid of the common misconceptions regarding the food-habit of the dog and focus on how you can streamline the diet of your pet during the cold season.

 

(A) SELECT THE FOOD BASED ON THEIR BREED, AGE & SIZE

The selection of the food should be solely based on the breed, age and size of your dog. Large breed dogs like Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Dalmatians and others tend to suffer from bone related issues during winter. You need to add calcium enriched foods in their diet during winter. You could give them commercial dog foods include meats, grains, vegetables, and fruits. For large breed puppies, you can opt for natural dairy products such as milk and cheese. Large breed dogs can gain excessive weight quite rapidly during winter. Take particular care that you are not over-feeding them. Take them out for regular exercise as it will ease arthritis pain brought on by cold conditions. Keep in mind that, apart from exceptional cases, larger breed canines do not require extra calories in winter.

 

Foods for large breed dogs in winter:

 

  • Bones
  • Vegetables & Legumes Such as Broccoli, Spinach, & Beans
  • Tuna Fish & Fish Oil
  • Milk & Eggs
  • Kidney Beans
  • Calcium Supplements

 

Chihuahua, Poodle, Beagle, Pomeranian and other smaller breed dogs are different in many ways from their larger counterparts. In spite of their tiny size, their metabolic rates become higher during cold months and they require more calories. Appropriate winter diet can help to relieve dry and flaky skin of smaller dogs.

 

Foods for small breed dogs in winter:

 

  • Chicken Meat
  • Buffalo Meat
  • Salmon
  • Brown Rice
  • Egg
  • Whole-Wheat Bread
  • Cheese And Milk

 

Age and size are other important factors while deciding the menu for your dog. For relatively old dogs, irrespective of large or small size, it is suggested to offer them branded dog food as they often find it hard to digest cooked or natural foods. Indigestion is a common problem for the senior dogs during winter. So be very careful about what he is eating at this season and you can also ask for recommendations from your veterinarian. For younger canines, it will be good if you can offer them freshly cooked and hot meals in winter. It will keep them energetic and they can digest it rather quickly.

 

(B) FOOD ITEMS YOU SHOULD NOT OFFER TO YOUR DOG DURING WINTER-

Knowing the food items you should not offer to your furry-friend during cold season is as important as knowing the items you should offer. There are so many food products that experts suggest not to provide to your dog. You should also stop others from giving your dog the following food items during winter:

 

  • Salt and Salty Snack Foods
  • Undercooked & Stale Foods
  • Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine
  • Candy, Gum & Carbonated Drinks
  • Sugary Food, Ice-Cream & Chips
  • Foods that contain xylitol

 

(C) KEEP YOUR DOG REHYDRATED-

Same as in case of human beings, water intake by dogs gets reduced during cold months. Insufficient water consumption could lead to different types of health complications. Keep the water bowl of your canine full all the time and lovingly encourage him to drink water. There are few things you can do to persuade your dog to drink water:

 

  • Add water to your dog’s food
  • Keep several bowls of water in the different places of the house
  • Make the water easily accessible and maintain its temperature
  • Give him a treat every time he finishes a bowl

 

(D) MAKE YOUR DOG EXERCISE IN WINTER-

It becomes quite difficult to make your dog exercise during winter because of the harsh weather conditions outside. You simply can’t afford to let your dog lie lazily on the couch as it may aggravate excessive weight gain, obesity, digestive problems, appetite loss and arthritis. But regular exercise is important for your canine in order to keep him healthy, fit and well-behaved. Workout also helps proper digestion. When uninviting winter months prevent you from taking your dog outside, here are few ways you can follow to make him exercise inside the house:

 

  • Indulge in indoor games-

Getting involved in the indoor games is perhaps the most convenient and easy way to keep your canine energetic and fit during cold months.

  • Play fetch and retrieve-

Play fetch using a long hallway or open basement. Start the game by throwing his favorite toy and race with him to get it. Your engagement will motivate him more.

  • Hide & Seek-

Hide his meal in a box and let him discover it on his own. It will help him to burn extra calories and reduce the fear of getting overweight.

  • Treadmill training-

Get him on the treadmill. While he is on the treadmill, slowly increase the speed in order to make it more challenging. This will really give him a good workout inside the house.

Winter is not the best season to workout your canine outdoors. But all these indoor exercises will help your dog to remain immensely fit as they significantly improve blood circulation, help to produce more efficient bowel movements and offer much-needed mental simulation.

 

Final Thoughts

Accurate meal-plan is essential to ensure your puppy gets the finest nutrition possible in the trying cold season. You should select food items according to the health conditions of your barker. If your dog is going through some sort of treatment or suffering from a particular disease, make sure you are seeking proper advice from your veterinarian before planning his diet. Stay away from switching his food abruptly as it may lead to diarrhea or vomiting. It is better to gradually introduce him with the new diet.

 

Author Bio: Sabby Brown is an online blogger and an avid pet lover. She likes to write on various topics related to pets especially dogs and is a regular contributor to the blog section of Apex Pet Gear.

| RSS feed for comments on this post

Comments are closed.