Posted 3 months ago ago
When it’s hot and sticky, the last thing we’d want to eat is a hearty roast or a stodgy stew - could you imagine anything worse?
The warmer months often see many of us reaching for a refreshing salad. It’s just a summer thing.
But what about our dogs? Does the change in temperature affect what we should be feeding them?
The answer to that question all depends entirely on your dog, and how much exercise they are getting during the summer months.
While the sunny weather means more time spent outside with our dogs, this could mean they need to eat more to sustain their energy levels.
It could also mean the opposite. Not all dogs like to spend lots of time outside in the sun, others sleep more during the summer, and we can’t blame them.
And it’s not only how much they eat that we should consider, we may also need to change when we feed them, and what. Plus, they’ll also need to drink a lot more water, just like we should be.
To find out how we should be adapting our dog's diet during the summer, we sought advice from Zoe Russell, a nutrition officer at Skinner's.
She said: "During the summer months, some dogs are a lot more active for a number of reasons, including being taken on longer walks with their owner as the weather improves.
"If your dog’s activity levels are rising, it’s important to ensure their nutritional needs are still being met, which may mean opting for a more energy-dense food."
She added: "If they are exercising more, their daily feed intake may need to be increased, to ensure their energy levels aren’t left depleted and they have enough nutrients to keep their coat, skin and muscles strong.
"However if you find you need to significantly increase their intake above the manufacturer’s guidelines, then it may be better to switch to a more energy-dense food in this instance."
Although it may be tempting to spend more time outside, Zoe warned against walking our dogs when the ground is too hot. During the summer, many owners move walkies to early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler.
But not all dogs exercise more in the summer.
Zoe also added: "However, some dogs will tend to move less and sleep more in the hot weather, in which case it may be best to stick to their usual food regime. Or in the case of some working dogs, the working season has not yet started so dogs may be less active during the summer months."
And it's not just what you feed your dog that needs to be adapted, it's when you feed them too.
"Like humans, some dogs may have a decreased appetite in warmer weather," said Zoe.
"Therefore why not try feeding in the cooler times of the day when their appetite is likely to be higher to help ensure they get their daily intake of food.
"Alongside this, dogs should have access to fresh, clean water at all times."
How much water should my dog be drinking?
Just like us owners, our dogs can also become dehydrated if they do not drink enough water, especially during warmer temperatures.
Zoe advised: "Dogs often need to drink more water in the summer months, as hot summer days directly affect your dog’s water needs, especially if they are walking or playing outside.
"It’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t become dehydrated, especially as extra water is lost through excessive panting as temperatures rise. That being said, dogs should have constant access to fresh, clean water, regardless of the temperature or season."
Zoe told us that a rule of thumb is that dogs need once ounce of water per one pound of body weight, but said that the best way to ensure they are well hydrated is to make sure their water bowl is always topped up. She also advised taking a collapsible bowl with a bottle of water out on any walks.
And it's not only water that can help to keep them hydrated, their food can too.
"To help keep your dog hydrated, you may choose to feed a wet diet as these contain a high moisture content of around 70-80% moisture."