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Do Dogs Eat More During Winter?

Written by Larese
Larese is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Gold medalist veterinary student from UVAS Lahore writes captivating articles and is passionate about animal care.
Published on
Thursday 8 October 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
do dogs eat more during winter
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Do dogs eat more during winter?” It is a common question that most pet owners want to know once Santa Claus is coming to town. Like us humans, some dog breeds may consume more food during cold seasons because of different factors. It can be because pooches also feel more comfortable in the chilly winds, just like people often do.

Most of the time, animals, including canines, put on more weight in these times, and several factors can affect the dog’s appetite in winter, which we will talk about in a while. One thing is for sure; you may need to make some dietary adjustments for your pet’s food intake during cold seasons.

Does Winter Affect your Dog’s Appetite?

Just like other seasons, winter can also affect your pet’s appetite. Dogs eat more in winter because they need some bits of extra fats to fight the coldness and keep them warm. However, you have to be aware that feeding too much can cause overweight and lead to other severe conditions. Gradually, dogs will have fewer movements and exercise as the temperature falls. As a result, their metabolism gets slower, and there would be less calorie expenditure as well. If this is the case, dogs need to eat less food with low carbohydrates and calories, but rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

According to studies, canines can consume two to three more calories than what has been eaten at moderate temperatures. However, if you continue to allow your furry pal to eat the same amount of food without exercise, it will eventually result in unhealthy “winter weight gain.” As winter pet safety tips, it is a biological imperative to maintain a constant core body temperature. Hence, planning your dog’s diet is essential to control excess fat accumulation and weight gain.

Maintaining Dog Diet During Winters

Since pets eat more during winters, maintaining a dog diet is vital to keep them healthy even with cold weather. It means giving the same seasonal adjustments in their food amounts to cope up with the changing temperature. Here are some factors to consider when it comes to planning your dog food consumption during the winter.

Watch the Winter Treats

Dogs love it, but you have to watch the treats you give during the winter. Always keep it at a bare minimum because dog treats contain calories that way lead to overconsumption. It is easy to get carried away with our food intake during the winter months, especially the holidays. It is the same for most breeds, and they may tend to overindulge. Whether holiday meals or regular dog treats, both are among the top favorite extra treats pooches eat.

However, make sure to offer just a little bit of some turkey, Christmas ham, or a Hanukkah brisket. However, it may become harmless if you give too much since these meals are rich in calories. So make sure you keep your dog on its daily feeding schedule over the winter holidays.

Monitor Calories

Dogs eat more in winter, so always monitor calorie count because it can lead to an increased “winter weight.” The amount of calories that a fido can eat during the winter depends on several factors. Usually, it can vary between 10% and 90% of its regular intake. Always know the size, age, health status, amount of hair, and subcutaneous fat to determine how many additional calories you should be feeding your active dog. Then, match it with the actual outdoor temperature.

Not all fidos are the same. Some breeds will eat more in the winter, while others consume foods normally. Regardless, always feed your pet with the right amount of calories and monitor its weight. If you see that it starts losing weight, you can add some calories. On the other hand, cut the calories gradually if you notice any gain until the dog reaches its average weight during warm weather.

Help your Dog Exercise during Winter

If you can’t control your furry pal’s calorie intake, it is vital to look for more ways to help your dog do some exercises, especially if they are prone to weight gain. Most dogs will be inactive during winter, but it doesn’t mean that you should not give some exercise and indoor plays through stimulation toys, for example. If you have enough space in your living area, playing catch-and-fetch would also be an excellent idea. Find out any indoor games that will keep your canines happy, entertained, and, more importantly, do more movements. You can do different home activities with dog toys and treats that will keep your pets engaged during the winter season.

Exercise goes hand in hand with diet, so don’t forget about this critical doggy care part. You also have to take note that senior dogs are prone to arthritis or hip dysplasia. It is a result of being inactive, so you want to add some supplements for joint health. Like omega fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin are excellent for joint support. You should search for foods containing large concentrations of these ingredients, or get a dietary supplement to add to your daily feeding schedule.

Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Skin and Health

Dogs can show signs of distress during cold weather. It can be due to hormones, lack of exercise, or the foods that they eat. So, as much as possible, avoid giving meals with yeast, nuts, and anything that can make them ill. When you want to supply your furry friend with human food during the holidays, make sure they can consume anything safe like beef, sweet potatoes, or green beans. The only thing that protects your dog from the blistering cold during winter is its hair, but its skin health may be at risk because cold seasons can make a dry and cracked coat.

Hence, their diet and overall nutrition will adversely affect a dog’s coat. If pets have allergies or intolerance to their food, their coats might become thin and dry. You can take care of it by feeding your fido with foods containing lots of omega fatty acids. Make sure to check your canine’s paws because walking on the snow requires extra protection to prevent cold feet. You can also turn to a safe coat formula or incorporate a supplement into its diet.

dog distress during winter
Beware of signs of canine distress during winter.

Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Regardless of the season, hydration is essential and a requirement to maintain a healthy body, mind, and coat. Usually, winter is frigid, and your dog is at a higher risk of dehydration. Make sure that you have a water bowl out throughout the winter so that they can remain hydrated. If you keep your pet outside during the cold months, make sure it doesn’t freeze over their water bowl. Proper hydration during winter is essential for optimal health. Ensure sure your furry friend always has a safe, fresh water supply available.

What are the Best Foods in Winter for Dogs?

Low calories, Omega 3 and 6, fish oil, kidney brands, eggs, and low-fat foods are suitable for dogs that eat more in winter. Canines use energy to keep their body warm during cold weather, but it doesn’t mean that you should give more calories because it can lead to being overweight. Therefore, the ingredients of your dog food are among the most crucial elements to consider when choosing the best dog food for winter.

Ensure that it has the right amount of calories and nutrients that your pooch needs to stay happy and healthy in winter. You also have to note any specific illness, vitamin deficiency, or any element that can trigger allergic reactions.

Dogs are also susceptible to colds during the winter. Ensuring that antioxidants are in their diet also strengthens their immune system. Good quality dog foods have a relatively stable nutritional profile. If you notice that your pooch seems to beg more or looks unsatisfied with its daily sustenance, try increasing or changing its diet. The goal is to keep your fur buddies happy and healthy with the right balance of dog food and treats.

Dogs Eating More During Winters – FAQs

Our pooches can also eat more in winter, but it is your responsibility to keep them happy and healthy. While dogs also love those meals that humans eat, it is essential to limit the idea of sharing because they require specific dietary needs. All it takes is some wise choices and always address the issues of your dog.

Why my dog is not eating food in winter?

Some dogs eat more in winter, but some breeds may also not eat well during cold seasons. It can happen due to different factors like changes in the environment, stress, pain, and internal obstructions. Loss of appetite during winter is normal during the first days, but if it continues to happen for weeks, there could be more severe conditions. For example, it is a symptom of pyometra, cancer, and kidney or liver problems. Hence, it is essential to coordinate it with your dog’s veterinarian whenever your furry pal suddenly stops eating.

What you can do, on the other hand, is to make sure that your pooch is healthy and eating the right kind of food for its age and size. Make sure to keep hard objects, like children’s toys, which can lead to choking and internal obstruction.

Does weather affect a dog’s diet?

Dog appetite in winter can be compromised. In short, the changing weather can sometimes affect your dog’s diet as well as its behavior. For example, hot weather can be severe for some breeds suitable for colder climates like the Siberian Husky. These canines can struggle a lot due to lack of sweat glands and may reflect their eating habits and even attitudes. Experts also suggest that mammals tend to reduce their caloric intake when there’s extreme heat or cold. 

For example, dogs’ brains seek out more food to maintain normal body temperature. On the other hand, canines tend to eat less to stay cool. Other factors to consider that can affect your dog’s diet are its activity levels, and boredom.

Do I need to feed my dog more in the winter?

Dogs can get hungrier in the winter because they burn energy to protect themselves from cold through body fats. However, it doesn’t mean that you need to feed it more than the recommended amount per day as it can lead to being overweight, which is unhealthy. Moreover, like humans, canines feel more comfortable during the winter and tend to eat more of their favorites. The best way for you to decide the right amount of food is through your dog’s age, size, and other special diets. 

As a rule of thumb, their poop should be small, dark, firm, and there’s not much of it. Otherwise, sloppy poop means you’re feeding your pooch too much. If you think that your pet is still hungry after a full meal, try giving about 50 grams of softened sweet potato. It provides a bit of bulk to stave off hunger pangs.

Do dogs get more hungry in the winter?

Dogs can get hungrier in the winter because they use more energy to keep a layer of fat on their bodies for warmth. According to physiological views, pets have the instinct to prepare themselves during the upcoming cold days. Hence, they end up feeding more, believing that they need more fats to protect them from freezing. 

In fact, studies have shown that fidos built for colder temperatures require 2 to 3 times more food than breeds living in moderate climates. However, although some dogs can eat more in winter, it is essential to watch their food intake, weight, and give some exercise.

Do dogs need more protein in the winter?

Since there are lesser activities during the winter, your fur buddies may require a slightly low level of fat, energy, and protein until the season changes. But take note that a small amount of fat can help your dogs to stay warm outside during the winter.

We all love to eat, as well as our pooches. However, they also require regular exercise and a balanced diet, especially during cold seasons. So, before Jack Frost knocks on your door, make sure that you are ready to make some adjustments to your dog’s diet. During the winter, it is essential to give them fewer calories and more fiber, protein, vitamins, and other essentials to combat the cold. Better yet, why not dress your pooch in the best winter dog clothes? It will make them feel warm.

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