Monthly Archives: December 2012

Does cold weather require a change in food?

Beautiful dogs enjoying a snow day

Chico and Rue enjoying a beautiful Iowa winter day

So, with winter approaching quickly, we wanted to put out a little information that will help our furry friends and their not-so furry parents have a happier and healthier season. Some of these tips may be more common knowledge and some, not so much.

First, well-nourished dogs are much more prepared to handle the chilly temps of winter, especially if they’re housed outside. Outdoor pups may require more food than indoor dogs to keep their metabolic thermostats up. Indoors or out, provide your pooch fresh water throughout the day; they can dehydrate just as quickly in winter as they do in summer. Heated water bowls are a great idea for our loved ones; always make sure that ice is not forming in their bowl.

On the flip side, a misconception about indoor friends is that they too require more food in the cold months. Dogs that prefer the nice warm couch to snowball fights and long, brisk walks may expend less energy than during the warmer months, so your couch potato buddies won’t need as much caloric intake as in other seasons. Let it be their coat that warms them, not added fat. But to be safe, monitor your pup’s activity level and adjust food portions accordingly. Also, remember that high-quality food is essential for keeping happy and healthy friends through the chilly times.

Keep in mind that cooler temps can tweak or aggravate existing medical conditions in our friends. Arthritis is a big concern so make sure they have a routine exercise time and be mindful of slippery ice that they could be dangerous. Make sure you always clear your pup’s paws of any snow or ice that may have attached itself to them to avoid frostbite. Also, ensure that they all have comfy and warm places to unwind after their “work outs.” Just like us, dogs are more at risk for illnesses in winter, so always keep your pet doctors informed when you feel your pup may be under the weather. And never use store-bought remedies without contacting your vet first.

All in all this can be a fun time of year, with more opportunities for cuddling and quality nap time. These tips will help to keep you and yours happier and healthier as we look forward to spring.

Thanks to Amy Houselog Turner for the awesome photo!