Some people joke about packing on a few extra pounds over the holidays. But, did you know, there is a real link between cold weather and an increase in weight? That's because we tend to spend less time outdoors during the winter, and the less time we spend outdoors the fewer calories we burn. For us two-legged members of the family it's easy to keep this in mind and either eat less or exercise more to balance things out, but while our four-legged friends are just as susceptible to weight gain, they rely on us to keep them healthy and happy. With these winter nutrition tips in mind, here are four tips for keeping your pet's health on track all winter long.
First and foremost, don't overfeed your pet! This may sound like a no-brainer, but it's important to remember that if you have a primarily indoor animal he or she doesn't need extra calories during the winter months. We all feel a little hungrier in cold weather
, dogs and cats very much included, but since we've traded our caves for climate-controlled homes we no longer need to pack on fat to make it through the winter.
The second tip for winter time pet health is directly related to the first one. If your pet lives outside or spends a lot of time outdoors then he or she may actually need an increase in food. That's because keeping warm in cold weather can burn up more calories than usual. It's important to talk with your veterinarian about how best to modify your pet's diet, however, because overfeeding can be just as dangerous as underfeeding.
Pointer number three is to make sure your pet is still getting plenty of exercise
despite the chilly conditions. Pets are like people, feeling lazy when the heater is on and the couch is comfortable… But we have to be the responsible ones, so be sure not to slack on walking your dog or playing with your cat throughout the winter. That will keep their metabolisms running high, and yours, too—that way everyone can have a treat now and then! At ahc, we have our own canine version of a gym and personal trainer, complete with a warm water treadmill. This works well for all dogs but especially those with arthritis. These pets may have an especially difficult time walking and exercising outdoors in the colder weather.
The fourth of our winter nutrition tips is to keep an eye on your pet's outdoor water bowl. These tend to be shallow and can freeze over surprisingly fast. Your dog doesn't want to lick an icicle any more than you do!
Now, Come Learn About Us
Come visit the Animal Health Care of Marlboro page on nutrition and weight management
to learn more. To talk to a professional about improving your pet's diet, make an appointment
on our contact page. You can also stop by our Englishtown, NJ location to pick up a free food-measuring cup! Portion control is a crucial first step to keeping your pet healthy all winter long.