By Veselina Dzhingarova
Whether your dog loves the cold weather or prefers cuddling up on the couch under a fluffy blanket, you need to be prepared for the winter months.
Winter signifies more than just a change of weather and season; it also signifies a change in your dog’s daily diet. Many pet parents are unaware of the importance of switching up their dog’s nutritional regime in the colder months.
Here are some nutrition tips to help your dog stay healthy when the weather turns frigid:
1. Increase the Number of Calories in Your Dog’s Diet
For some dogs, winter signals a season full of outdoor fun and activity. If they have long fur, or a layered coat of fur, then the cold isn’t going to affect them as much as short-haired breeds. What this means is they are probably more than happy to still do their daily walks, play out in the snow in the yard, catch snowballs, and generally just have a great time outdoors.
If this sounds like your dog, then it’s important to address this increase in activity with an increase in calories. This doesn’t mean a massive increase in food, however; you can start small and see how the dog does with the added calories. You need to find that balance of providing enough nutrition and calories, without giving them too much and risk them putting on weight. You can do this by providing your dog with an extra portion of food during the day, at midday, for example. If that doesn’t work with your schedule, just add a bit more food to his already-scheduled meals.
Some dogs prefer snuggling indoors, cozying up on their bed or even better, lying in front of the fireplace. You may find they do a lot more napping during the winter months too, and aren’t exactly keen to head out on those daily walks. If your dog doesn’t enjoy exercising in the cold weather, then instead of increasing the number of meals you feed them, simply change to more calorie dense food. This ensures they are still getting the nutrition they need, but there won’t be an excess of calories that will then turn into weight gain.
2. Cut Down on the Number of Treats You Give Your Dog
Lots of us struggle with our weight during the winter months, and our animals are no different. If you notice your dog putting on extra pounds at this time of year, then try and cut back on the number of treats you’re giving them. It’s important to remember not to reduce the amount of nutritional food you give them, as they will need this to help keep them warm and healthy.
Besides cutting down on the number of treats you give them, it also helps to re-examine the treats that you are actually offering them. There are healthier treats out there that you can choose from. Start by reading the nutritional value on the treat packages you purchase, looking for those that are low in calories and as natural as possible.
Speaking of natural, you can also feed your dog a variety of healthy fresh snacks. These can include green peas that are either fresh or frozen, apple slices, green beans that are cooked plain with nothing added to them, raw carrots, cooked sweet potato, cooked squash, raw or steamed broccoli, and watermelon. These will seem like a real treat to your pup and each one offers huge health benefits.
3. Consider Supplements
Winter is a time when all dogs could do with some supplements to keep them healthy and strong. Pet dog supplements come in a range of forms, from supplements that help with digestion to those that help ease painful joints that swell up in the winter. Elk Velvet Antler supplements are another great choice. They’re a whole-body supplement suitable for pets and people. They help to support your dog’s immune system, joints, hips, liver, and kidneys too.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Dog’s Coat
Your dog’s coat is the one thing keeping them warm in the winter months. The condition of it is linked to the nutrition he or she receives. This means that it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s coat during the winter months. If you notice that it no longer looks as healthy as it once did, then you’ll need to consider altering your dog’s diet.
In general, one of the best things you can feed your dog in order to keep their coat healthy and shiny are essential fatty acids. Unfortunately, these aren’t always found in commercial dog food, or they may not be high quality. Again, this is why it’s so important to get into the habit of reading the nutritional label of the food you purchase for your dog. Even if you make your own raw diet for your dog, you still need to be sure it has the proper nutritional balance, making sure they get those essential fatty acids.
Another thing to be careful of is an extremely low-fat diet. This is common for dogs to be on if they’re trying to lose weight, but it can have a negative effect on the condition of their coat and their skin. Rather than cutting down on the fat drastically, aim for a more balanced approach of cutting down on some fat and some calories.
5. Don’t Forget Water
Lots of dogs become dehydrated in the winter months, so it’s important to ensure that your dog has access to fresh, clean water whenever he needs it. If you don’t think your dog is drinking enough water, then you should add some to their food. This will help to ensure they stay hydrated and healthy.
Similar to humans, when winter rolls around dogs may change their eating and exercise habits because of the weather. In actual fact, dogs need more calories in winter months to keep them warm. And while some dogs like eating larger meals and wearing dog coats, others detest it. If you want to keep your dog healthy this winter, then follow some of our advice above. All of these tips will ensure that your dog stays healthy all winter long.
Note: If you notice any changes in your dog’s health, please see a veterinarian for diagnosis. Dietary changes should be discussed with your veterinarian before implementation.
Guest Author Bio:
Veselina Dzhingarova is a traveler by soul and a pet lover. She is trying to live a better life using only natural products and eating healthy food and believes this should be followed both for human beings and pets.
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