Should I change my dog’s feeding routine in the summer?
You know how important it is that you feed your dog quality, nutritious food with a consistent feeding routine.
But what about in summer? Should you change their food or routine?
Depending on his age, breed and lifestyle your dog could change his behaviour in the warmer months. Dogs generally rest more, using less energy, and their appetite is often lower as a result.
This is normal. As long as they are maintaining their bodyweight, staying hydrated and cool, and you are providing nutritious food for them, there is nothing to worry about if your dog isn’t eating their regular amount of food in the summer time. They will eat as much as they need, when they need to.
It’s also fine to adapt their feeding routine accordingly. You can reduce their portion size if they’re not eating like they normally do. Also consider feeding them in the cooler hours of the morning or evening as their digestion process has a warming effect, which can have an impact on their circulation.
How does my dog react to warmer temperatures during summer?
Research shows that different breeds have different temperature ranges that are considered “neutral” for them (at rest, without physical exercise). That is the range of external temperature where your dog doesn’t need to thermo-regulate actively to keep his body temperature stable.
For short-haired breeds their neutral temperature range is estimated to be between 20 and 25° Celsius. For long-haired breeds, it is estimated to be between 15 and 20° Celsius, and for breeds like Alaskan Huskies this range can drop to 10 to 15° Celsius.
This means that if the temperature climbs above your dog’s “neutral” range, you may see him panting, which is the most effective way for him to cool his body. This thermo-regulation activity can reduce his energy level and, in turn, his appetite. Check that he has access to fresh, clean water and feed him in the cooler hours of the day (morning or evening).
Of course, his age and lifestyle will have an effect also. More active dogs will require more food to keep up with their activities.
Dog excessive panting: What to do?
Even if dogs do adapt to a broad spectrum of temperature, they can have difficulties when it’s too hot. Dogs primarily regulate their body temperature through breathing. They exhale hot air, which is loaded with water vapour, and inhale cooler air, thus cooling the body.
The amount your dog is panting is a good indication of how comfortable he is. If your dog is in a particularly hot environment, panting can become an ineffective cooling method –he is not able to replace the warm air with cooler air and he risks overheating.
On the warm days, above35-40°Celsius, especially if the humidity is high (above 80%) without air circulation, keep a special eye on your dog’s breathing. If he appears to be struggling, take steps to reduce his body temperature: like a swim or a cool bath, ventilate the room and always give him plenty of water to drink.
As we are in the peak of summertime there are a number of other things you can do to make it as comfortable and safe for your dog as possible.