Have you ever noticed your dog´s appetite dropping during summer time?
Maybe your dog suddenly refuses to eat her favorite type of meat and you get worried that something might be off with her health. During summer heat waves I often notice dog folks from all around the globe discussing on the internet their fur kids’ lack of appetite. Every part of the world seems to have different favorite meat sources for raw feeding.
For example, in some European countries a lot of salmon and beef is fed, while North America uses a lot of chicken, turkey and beef.
But regardless of where you live there is one thing in common: people complain that in the summer their dogs don´t eat the way they usually do.
“Pluto left the chicken in the dish AGAIN.”
“Princess didn´t eat her second meal today.”
“Charlie is being real picky lately. I hope he is OK.”
Those are some of the most common scenarios. Do you see your fur kid among them? There is actually one simple common issue that connects these scenarios, but don´t worry, most of the time it doesn´t mean your beloved canine is sick.
Unsuitable Summer Foods and Feeding Practices
Foods have different energetics and some foods are warming, or even considered “hot,” which includes the popular chicken, turkey, trout or lamb. The same goes for some types of fruits and vegetables and herbs or spices.
Sweet potato, a fairly popular homemade dog food ingredient is among them, and so are some favorite herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, cinnamon, turmeric or ginger. These foods are best left out of the dog menu during the hottest days.
Some proteins are fatty, like the salmon that some dog owners in European countries are very keen on feeding, or even lean pork. Salmon is a very fatty fish. Even if you feed just the fillets, they are fatty.
My sled dogs, who live outdoors all year round, including during the subzero temperatures of Nordic winters, and who are in athletic training from September to May, eat salmon only in very cold conditions. On a 200 mile race, if the temperatures rise above the dogs´comfort zone (which often is still below zero) and the sun starts shining, they will turn down my offer of salmon snacks, but would die for whitefish or beef.
Now imagine the same happening with your pet dogs, but in way warmer temperatures. Do you really wonder why they leave the fatty fish and warming meals unfinished in their dish when the temperatures climb over 90°F (30°C)?
Imagine being offered some greasy pork meat with hot mashed potatoes every day during summer heat waves. You’d probably say no too!
Energy Level and Loss Of Appetite
Unlike people, dogs often act based on their energy levels in terms of food intake. Again, my sled dogs are a great example. When they are in resting mode and just hanging around the dog yard on summer days, their energy requirements drop rapidly and often so does their appetite.
Yet so many folks don´t take that into consideration and still feed same portions or feed twice a day. The dog´s appetite is a clear indication of many factors including the fact that he or she may simply not need as much food (or energy from it) as you’re offering.
6 Dog Feeding Tips For Hot Days:
- Follow your dog´s appetite level and decrease his or her daily portion accordingly.
- If you feed breakfast, skip it occasionally or at times when the weather is very hot for several days in a row.
- Consider fasting once a week; or partial fasting such as giving your dog just one nice smaller juicy raw meaty bone to chew in the late evening or early morning in nice cool shade. For small breeds just part of a chicken neck is perfect.
- Offer meals at room temperature or slightly cooler. Too cold is not good for your dog´s stomach.
- Feed in a cool shady place. In summertime, my pack refuses to eat before the sun settles down behind the tree tops, but will gladly dive into their dishes once it cools off.
- Avoid feeding fatty meats and warming foods. That includes not only certain meat types, but also warming herbs and spices, oatmeal, etc.