Preparing your dog for winter goes far beyond making sure they are warm and dry. Animals, much like humans, need to switch up their diet to accommodate the changing weather. Sadly, many pet parents do not understand the importance of their pet’s dietary needs. Dogs can experience both weight loss and weight gain during the winter months, fixing their diets based on their needs is most important. Here are 5 tips to keeping your dog healthy this winter.
1. Increase their calorie intake
For dogs that spend most of their time outdoors, consider increasing the amount of calories they consume. Colder weather means your dog is using more energy to stay warm. Feeding your dog an extra meal a day can make up for the lost calories. You can also add chicken broth to their dry food for about a 10% calorie increase. Also, switching to a higher calorie dog food is a simple way to ensure your dog is getting the right about of calories per day.
Obesity is not only a human disease, dogs can suffer from it too. In the United States, the percentage of obese dogs is going up. It is important to your dog’s health that you keep them trim and in good shape. You can cut calories for your dog by feeding them fewer treats or switching to a low-calorie treat. Also, measure out the amount of food you give to your dog and pour enough food for one meal, don’t simply pour food for the whole day.
3. Choose Diet Food
Dogs are much like humans, they don’t want to starve to lose weight. If your dog is overweight, switch them to diet dog food. Dogs should lose their weight gradually in order for it to be healthy. Be aware, not all dog food is the same. Diet food may have the same calorie count as another brand’s regular food. The only time dog food can be considered diet is if the diet food has fewer calories than the same brand’s regular food.
4. Give your dog supplements
Many dog food brands claim their food has a complete balanced nutrition, but your dog many need more than this. There are supplements out there for every need from digestion to vision to arthritic joints.
5. Change your dog’s diet gradually
If you do plan to switch your dog’s food this winter make sure you do it at a gradual pace. If you switch your dog’s food too fast it may cause your dog to become sick or he may not eat his food. You should slowly mix the old and new food together, slowly mixing less and less of the old food. It should take about a week to ten days to fully switch foods.