Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Pounds

Winter is truly upon us!  That means warm cozy fires, lots of good holiday food and treats, and lots of time spent indoors.  What about Fido?  Will you still be taking him for his daily walks or runs when it's 20 degrees outside?  Some of us enjoy the cold weather along with our dogs, but what about those who just don't fancy these cold winter months?  What about fluffy, when you have to practically drag her off of your couch to get her to go outside to potty in the snow?

The truth for most pet owners during these long winter months is that our pets' daily routines become more sedentary.  So what does this mean?  Well, generally we tend to see a drastic increase in our pet's weight during these months.  So how do we avoid this without suffering in the cold, icy weather?  It's simple- it's time to decrease Fido's food intake to make up for the lack of calories burned.  Too much time spent indoors during these months shouldn't be a reason to allow our pets' body conditions to worsen especially those of our senior pets.  For them, winter is tough enough on those old bones without the added weight put on during the winter, as this makes it all the more difficult to lose it again in the spring.  Decreasing the amount of food given or switching to a low calorie diet during these harder months will help keep your pet fit and trim.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who have dogs that live outside during the winter.  The opposite is true for them.  They need more calories to keep warm, as well as all of the other assumed resources such as a DRY, wind-proof shelter and lots of fresh water.  Switching to a puppy food that's higher in calories or feeding a bit more each meal time will help keep your pet warmer without burning the basic amount of calories needed to sustain good body condition.  It's vital to remember that with every season and change in lifestyle, our pet's nutritional needs change.  So keep your pet fit and healthy even during the winter and remember to readjust come spring!

Stephanie Severson, CVT

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