Helping Your Dog Beat the Chill Winter With Warm Food

Helping Your Dog Beat the Chill Winter With Warm Food

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Don't you just love treating yourself to a cup of a hot tea or some soup when winter comes knocking on the door? Well, it's not just you, even dogs can find comfort in warm food during the cold season. Let's take a look at how you can help your pet stay warm this winter with the right food.

Is warm food good for your dog?

According to pet specialists, dogs digest their food similarly to how humans do. According to pet experts, it can be inferred from this that dogs can also benefit from the same benefits as humans do when they consume warm food. When any food is consumed, the body brings its temperature to the internal temperature before it is ready to be digested. Simply put, that means the body can directly move to the digestion process of the food is already in a warm state while it is consumed. This means lesser energy is expended in the process. So how does warm food affect dogs? Of course, you should know that there is more to warm food than the instant source of comfort that you get when it goes down the throat. Warm foods can help enhance the circulation of blood. Usually, the blood stays concentrated mainly around the trunk of the body in order the keep the internal organs warm, when it is under cold conditions. When warm food is consumed, the blood is no longer concentrated in just the trunk of the body and is allowed to flow to the ends of the body. It, in turn, helps stay warmer.

How to incorporate warm food into your dog's diet?

Just heat up the usual food that you give your dog kibble or canned food with warm water. In case you use freeze-dried dog food, mix it with some warm food, before you feed your dog. Just make sure that your pet does not have frozen food during winter. Be sure to refill your dog's bowl with water often. Your dog needs to have a sufficient intake of fluids during winter. You can also get heated bowls from your pet store to make sure that your dog has warm water when it gets thirsty. If your dog's appetite is not so great during the cold season, then warm food might help. Warm foods naturally give out aromatic vapors that instantly kick up the appetite. Of course, if your dog is the outdoorsy active type, then you want to make sure that it also gets an adequate amount of calories in its diet so it can stay warm. If your dog is not very active during the cold season then you want to stick to low-calorie treats.

Top 5 Winter Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Dog

When winter rolls around dogs, like their owners, may change exercise and eating habits because of the weather. In fact, It takes more calories to keep dogs warm in chilly temperatures. And while some dogs enjoy wearing sweaters and eating bigger meals, others hate dressing up. Small breed dogs often have trouble munching enough nutrition to stay healthy.

At the other end of the spectrum, dogs can turn into couch potatoes when they get less exercise. Less exercise translates into more poundage, and a fat dog is not healthy.  Here are 5 winter nutrition tips to help your dog stay healthy.  

Increase the Calories 

For dogs that spend a lot of time outside, increase the amount of food they eat. You can do this by switching from one meal a day to two or even three small servings. Adding a drizzle of warm, no-salt chicken broth to dry food such as Zignature Turkey Dog Food or Rachael Ray Nutrish Beef Pea and Brown Rice often increases food intake by about 10 percent, or feeding a puppy ration to adult dogs can increase the calories. Or simply change the food to a more calorie-dense โ€œsuper-premiumโ€ food that is the equivalent of canine rocket fuel.

Reduce the Amount 

When your dog has a poundage problem during the winter, reducing the amount of food can keep their waist trim. This may be as simple as curbing the treats or switching to healthier low-calorie treats instead. 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 

You also can switch pudgy pooches to a weight-reducing food. Like humans, weight loss in dogs must be gradual and dogs wonโ€™t enjoy the process if theyโ€™re hungry all the time. Be aware that different brands wonโ€™t have the same amount of calories and that a โ€œdietโ€ food from one might even have MORE calories than the โ€œregularโ€ food from another brand. Diet food can only be counted on to have fewer calories compared to that same brandโ€™s โ€œregularโ€ diet.

Provide Supplements 

Most commercial dog foods such as Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Puppy Chicken & Salmon provide claims that they are โ€œcomplete and balancedโ€ for a dogโ€™s specific life stage. 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 

Itโ€™s great to adjust your dogsโ€™ diet during the winter to help them get the best nutrition possible. But switching the diet too abruptly can lead to diarrhea or vomiting, or simply prompt your pooch to snub the bowl. Instead, offer new foods slowly. Mix the new with the old food 50/50 for the first several days, and then gradually increase the new and decrease the old. Do this over a period of a week to ten days to reduce the chance of problems.

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, consultant to the pet care industry, and award-winning author of 23 pet care books.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian. It has however been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Joe, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and graduate of Cornell University's program for Veterinary Medicine.

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