Winter brings a host of changes to your daily routine. Something you might not realize, however, is that it can also change your pet’s needs. Colder weather means different nutritional and spatial requirements for your pup. Figuring out what your dog really needs helps ensure optimal health and wellness throughout the year. Keep reading for some tips on winterizing your dog’s diet and living space.

Pay Attention to Activity Levels

You might need to adjust the amount of food you give your dog based on his or her activity levels. If your dog spends the winter curled up in front of the fire with the sole physical activity of walking back and forth from the food bowl, he will not need as much food as normal. 

If your dog spends a lot of time outside, however, his body will be working in overdrive to stay warm. This means he will need to eat even more food than he does during the rest of the year. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s activity levels to find out how to adjust serving sizes. If you do adjust them, be sure to change them back as the weather warms. 

Increase Healthy Fats for Skin and Coat Health

Fat is an integral nutrient for dogs during the winter. Not only does it facilitate staying warm on the coldest days, but it can also improve skin and coat health. Diets that have high-quality protein and a good mix of both Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids assist in keeping your dog insulated. Dogs have evolved to burn fat instead of glucose during the winter to survive through times of famine. Adding a little extra fat to a diet can help supplement this and keep them feeling their best. A small amount of fat can also help prevent your pet’s coat from being dry and itchy.

Remove Dangerous Chemicals 

Antifreeze and rock salt can be incredibly dangerous for pets during the winter. Both can be toxic to animals if ingested. If you use either of these chemicals in your home, be sure to lock them securely away from pets. Thoroughly clean up any spills and keep an eye on your dog any time he is outside. You should also wipe off your dog’s paws after walking outside to get rid of any rock salt or other chemical residue that might have followed them inside to be licked off.

Provide Warm, Cozy Spaces

Who doesn’t love cuddling up during the winter? Creating a few warm, cozy spaces throughout your home can help your dog enjoy the winter weather. If you have a pup that doesn’t have trouble walking or jumping, you might want to invest in a raised dog bed. This keeps the dog’s body off the cold ground and closer to the hot air that’s rising. Set up the space with plenty of blankets and toys for snuggling. 

We hope our tips for winterizing your dog’s diet and living space help keep you both warm, cozy, and healthy this winter.

The team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is here to advice on keeping your pets healthy and happy throughout the year. With resources for pet owners and a team of veterinary specialists, we make it easy to give your pets the lives you know they deserve. To learn more about our services, please call (248) 334‑6877.