Winter is already here, and so are the various cold related ailments in pets. More than change of seasons, it signifies a change in your dog's daily diet. Many pet owners are unaware of the importance of switching nutritional plan for their dog’s dietary regimen during winter. This can bring many health related issues in pets.
Alike human and other animals, winter tends to burn more calories to preserve the body heat. In fact, it takes more calories to keep domesticated animals warm in the cold. Bundling them in warm clothes, keeping them indoor, and offering hot meal may only solve half the problem. Keeping them indoor all the time makes them less active and may turn them into a couch-potato.
INCREASE THE CALORIES
For pets that spend time outside, you should increase the amount of food they eat. You can do this by switching from one meal a day to two or even three meals in small servings. Adding a drizzle of warm, no-salt chicken broth in dry meal often increases food intake by about 10%. Or, you can simply change the food-intake to a more calorie rich meals.
REDUCE THE AMOUNT
When you dog starts gaining extra weight, you should consider reducing the amount of food to keep their waist trim. You should consider switching to healthier low-calorie treats instead and keep the carb and protein intake lower. You will need to measure the amount of food you put in the bowl, and meal-feed instead of filling up the buffet for all day grazing.
CHOOSE DIET FOOD
Like humans, weight loss regimen in dogs must be gradual to keep their interest up. Be aware that different dog-food brands won’t have the same amount of calories and that one brand might even have more calories than the regular food or brand. A diet food can only be counted on to have less calories compared to that same brand’s regular diet.
Most commercial food brands claim to have complete and balanced nutritional amount, however, it might not be true. The nutritional amount may differ from dog’s age, breed to size. It’s important to ascertain if the provided food provides enough nutrition. But some dogs still benefit from a supplement that helps them with digestion, for example, or that aids with creaky arthritic knees. Consider glucosamine or chondroitin supplements if your dog's joints could use an extra boost.
CHANGE DIETS GRADUALLY
It’s great to adjust your dogs’ diet during the winter to help them get the best nutrition possible. But switching the diet randomly can lead to various ailments, such as; diarrhea or vomiting, or simply prompt your pooch to snub the bowl. You should introduce new food or brand slowly. You should consider mixing the old and new dog food 50/50 for the first few days, and then gradually increase the new dog food. Do this over a period of a week to ten days to reduce the chance of problems.
Do consult your nearest vet to determine if your pet needs a dietary change this winter.