Changes you can make to your dog's diet in winter


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With the onset of winters, a dogโ€™s natural mechanism starts working that gets them prepared to battle the harsh weather. The shorter days and longer nights give signals to the dogโ€™s brain and tell them that winter is on its way. Due to this, their metabolism slows down.

Even though a dogโ€™s body naturally prepares itself for the cold weather, taking care of the food is very important. You need to know what to feed and how to change its diet to ensure that your pooch does not lose weight and fall ill.

Here are some tips that will help you feed your pooch during winter:

Calorie Intake

As per studies, dogs need more calories during winter since the low temperature makes them shed a lot of calories. Dogs, like humans, need to maintain constant body temperature and the way to do it during winter is by shivering. However, shivering leads to a loss of calories in dogs. Dogs, consequently, need more calories to be able to compensate for that loss. Dog owners need to switch up their pooches diet during winter so that they do not lose any extra weight because of shivering.

Does activity levels affect what and how much to feed?

You also need to make a note of your pooch's activity levels to know how many calories to feed. Some dogs become highly inactive, and feeding them extra calories can lead to weight gain. Tweak your diet and keep a regular check on their weight to know whether you need to increase or decrease the calorie intake for your little friend.

If you see your pooch gaining weight, cut back on the food and feed it less than you used to during summer.

Find activities that you both enjoy

Make sure you give your canine companion enough activity to stop lethargy from setting in. Look for better ways in which you can help your little pooch manage its calories. There are so many options available; you could play indoor games or take your friend to a dog daycare at least twice a week. Nutrition is nothing without proper exercise; make sure you give enough of that to your dog.

Hydration is essential

One thing that should not be compromised on is water. A dog gets dehydrated quickly when the weather is cold and dry. Please keep checking the water bowl and make sure always to fill it. If your dogs stay outside the house during winter, keep a check on the water bowl to see that the water has not frozen. You cannot let your pooch drink snow.

Food that supports their immune system

Just like humans, dogs are also vulnerable to falling sick quickly. Get them good that has high nutritional value and help boost their immune system. Check the nutritional profile of the dog foods before you buy them for your pooch.

Illnesses that Dogs are Prone to During Winter

Winters can be very harsh, especially on your dogโ€™s health. Dogs are prone to a lot of illnesses during the chilly winter months. Dog owners need to take extra precautions to ensure that their dogs stay healthy despite the cold weather.

Here are the five common illnesses that dogs are prone to during winter:

1. Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition that instigates the body temperature to go low when a dog has prolonged exposure to a cold environment. This illness is more prominent in dogs who already have diabetes and heart ailments. Dogs with these diseases are unable to maintain their body temperature. The symptoms of Hypothermia that you need to look out for include weakness, lethargy, and restlessness.

2. Frostbite

Frostbite is an illness that occurs when a dog stays in a cold environment for long, which pulls all the blood to the center of the body. Due to a Frostbite, a dogโ€™s paws, ears, and nose get very cold that may lead to ice crystals forming in the tissues. You will not be able to see and locate the damages done for a few days.

If you see symptoms of frostbite in your dog, you immediately need to make it warm by applying warm water to the affected areas. Doing this will melt away all the ice crystals and reinstate blood circulation. However, ensure that you do not massage the frostbitten areas as that may lead to pain. When your dog warms up, wrap it in a cozy and warm blanket before taking it to the vet.

3. The Sniffles

Dogs get sniffles too, just like us humans. Sniffles is a minor upper respiratory infection with symptoms that include a runny nose, slight cough, watery eyes, and occasional sneezing, among others. You can treat Sniffles in your dog the same way you treat a baby. Give your little friend a good amount of rest, a warm blanket, and make it drink lots of water.

4. Flu and Pneumonia

The dogs that are the most affected by this disease include elderly dogs and young puppies. However, it is not just limited to them. This illness can affect any dog who has had a lot of contact with rain or snow. Mild symptoms of this illness include dry or moist coughs and sneezing. More severe symptoms include bloody coughs, fever and breathing problems, among others.

5. Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough or canine infectious trachea-bronchitis is a disease that dogs are really vulnerable to catch during winter. This condition is a result of a virus and bacteria working together. There are several factors that make a dog prone to catching this illness. The common symptoms that you should look out for include a honking dry cough and eye discharge.

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