In winter, does your dog need a change in his diet? Or is the food that your dog is fed the whole rest of the year sufficient enough? If you are feeding your dog a well-balanced diet already, do the winter months really matter as to what to feed your dog?
Dogs in winter tend to instinctively eat more, or appear more hungry for food, so we as owners think they need more to eat and believe they need a richer, more fulfilling diet. However, dogs who like to gorge in winter are likely just responding to their ancestor’s instinctual needs to stuff themselves in the colder months since wild dogs don’t know when their next meal is coming and need to stay well insulated with food to keep warm and energized to survive the winter.
However, domesticated dogs typically get less exercise in the winter months, so they don’t need that surplus of food they keep begging for. In fact, many dogs become obese in winter, partly due to over-feeding of their owners, and partly due to all the holiday snacks they get from Thanksgiving and Christmas. Combined with the less amount of time spent outdoors, this can lead to one fat pooch.
The best thing to do in winter, unless you have a working dog, like a herding, hunting, or sledding dog, is to continue to feed them as you normally do, at their normal feeding times, and ignore their whines for more goodies and more food in that food bowl. Your dog doesn’t need the excess fat and energy in their bodies unless you are working them all through the winter, in which case, consulting your veterinarian for proper winter diet is the best thing to do. The average dog, though, needs nothing more in winter when it comes to their diet.
As always, exercise your dog the best you can, even in winter, and keep fresh fruits and veggies (such as carrots, potatoes, cranberries, apples, and spinach- cooked or raw) available in your dog’s food to allow your dog to have a balanced diet all year round. If you want to treat them, adding a few chunks of cooked, lean, unseasoned chicken to their bowl can make them feel satisfied when the cold weather is making them just as gloomy as you feel. Avoid giving your dog table scraps and other treats from the holidays, and you should have a healthy, happy dog all year long.