Should My Dog Be Fatter In Winter?
Bears, bats, squirrels, and many other animals start to pack on the pounds at the end of summer through autumn to prepare for winter. This may make you think your dog should also be packing on the pounds for winter. So maybe you add a bit extra to their food. After all, they need to stay warm right?
But, let’s look at the facts of the life of a house dog:
Food is not scarce. The main reason wild animals pack on pounds is because they cannot find food in the winter. But your dog is getting his meals every day, no matter the weather or the season.
They don’t hibernate. Bears pack on pounds before they hibernate. No matter how much your Basset Hound sleeps a day, he is not hibernating!
They don’t expend energy foraging. Wild animals that do not hibernate spend a lot of energy looking for the small amounts of food available in winter. Your dog uses very little energy to walk to the food dish.
They are in a temperature-controlled environment. Unless your dog is outside 24/7, he does not need extra fat to keep warm. A dog that lives outside year-round in the southern states may need a layer of fat to be warm – northern dogs do not. Even then, you don’t want him too fat. If you can see three or four ribs, he may need to bulk up a bit. Remember, being able to see one or two ribs and feel them with your hands is a sign your dog is in great body condition.
But Winter Weight Gain Can Still Happen!
So now you know your pampered house pet has no reason to be packing on those pounds. But, their body may be telling them something different. Colder weather slows down our metabolism (dogs and humans alike!), making it more likely we will gain weight even if our food intake doesn’t change. In addition, we usually take our dogs out less in winter, because of bad weather and shorter days, so now they are getting less exercise. Combine the two, and chances are your dog may gain weight in the winter.
And since most dogs are already overweight, this is not good news. The more obese your dog gets, the more health issues he is likely to develop, not to mention shortening his lifespan.
You can stop this by making sure you take your dog out to exercise, regardless of the weather and/or feed him less depending on his current body condition. Stay Loyal is formulated so that you can feed less to keep your dog at an ideal weight, making it easier to keep your dog in good health year round. If only feeding ourselves was this easy!