Can I continue feeding raw food to my dog in the summer?
Just like our appetite changes with the changing seasons, our dogs too feel the effect of seasonal fluctuations. This is most noticeable in summer, when many pet parents notice their dog’s lower appetite.
It could be small instances, such as your dog refusing her favourite meal, or skipping food altogether. Naturally, as a caring pet parent, you will get worried that something is off.
So, what can you do? If your dog is on a raw diet, it is important to know which foods are good during those hot summer months and which ones need to go back in the freezer to be brought out later.
Every part of the world seems to have different favourites when it comes to feeding raw in the summer. Some countries feed their dogs more salmon and beef, while others swear by chicken turkey and beef. At BARF India, we’ve tried to bring all the information to you in one article.
Let’s read on to know what you can do to ensure your pooch eats well during summer time and doesn’t fall sick due to less intake of nutrients.
Indian human diets have always classified certain foods as having more ‘heat’ than others. The same holds true of the food for your dogs. Different foods have different energies, and this includes meats as well as certain fruits, vegetables and herbs too.
Some typical ‘hot’ foods include chicken, turkey, trout or lamb. In vegetables, sweet potato, normally considered a good food to add to your dog’s diet, is considered to be ‘hot’. Herbs, such as basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger, are also to be avoided during the hottest days of summer.
Not all proteins are the same. Some are fattier than others. Salmon is a popular meat as is lean pork. Both these foods are considered fatty proteins and most dogs are likely to instinctively turn their noses at them. And if you thought fillets is a good idea, even those are quite fatty.
Did you know that trained sled dogs that live in sub-zero temperatures have been known to refuse salmon snacks after their race if the sun starts to shine and the temperature goes up? Now you can understand why your dog might be leaving a meal of fatty meal untouched when the summer sun is beating down hard. It’s the same as being offered a rich, greasy food on hot summer afternoons. The idea itself is so unpalatable, right?
Energy level and loss of appetite
Most dogs eat as per their energy levels. When they’re active their energy levels are higher and they have a great appetite. But in summer when, when the sun is merciless, they will just be hanging around in cool places. Their energy levels will drop and so will their appetite.
If you monitor your dog’s activity levels you might realise that she probably doesn’t need as much food (or energy) as you are offering her.
Here are six dog feeding tips for hot days
- Monitor your dog’s appetite and energy levels and reduce food quantity accordingly.
- Instead of 2-3 meals, skip one meal occasionally or even several days in a row.
- Try fasting once a week. If you’ve never tried fasting, begin with partial fasting where you can offer your dog a smaller juicy raw meaty bone to chew on late in the evening when it’s cooler. If your dog is smaller, a small piece of the chicken neck will also do.
- Warm meals are out of the question. Instead, offer room temperature meals or slightly cooler. Avoid cold foods as those are not good for your dog´s stomach.
- Feed early morning or late at night when it is cooler. Always feed your dog in a cool shady place away from noise and direct heat.
- Keep fatty meats and warming foods away during summer. This includes meats, warming herbs and spices too.
Now that you know a few dos and don’ts regarding feeding raw in summer, here are some foods that are perfect for hot summer days.
Neutral or cooling sources of protein and other nutrients
Cooling herbs, fruits and veggies
- Kelp and seaweeds
If you’ve been adding oil to your dog´s food, cold pressed flax seed oil is an excellent choice during summer.
Keep an eye on what your dog is trying to tell you during meal times and adjust the quantity and the routine accordingly. And yes, plan the meals keeping in mind the right foods to offer. Before you know it, summer will be gone and your dog will be back to her usual appetite again.