by Doris Donnerman
(last updated November 13, 2009)
As the seasons change, nothing really happens to our eating habits except we may eat different food. We still eat about the same amount of food, and everything in that regard pretty much stays the same. With dogs however, it's different. Dogs that spend significant amounts of time need to work harder to keep themselves warm in the winter, and so they need more energy. As a pet owner, you need to keep a watch on your dog's food and water during the winter to make sure everything is the way it's supposed to be.
If your outdoor dog needs to stay warmer during the winter, it will use up more energy, and burn more calories. If it uses more energy and burns more calories, it only stands to make sense that it will need more food. There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this responsibility. The first, and most obvious responsibility of this, is to make sure that your dog is 1) eating enough and 2) has enough to eat. Make sure that its food dish never goes empty for too long. When your dog needs an energy boost, it should get that as soon as it can, and so you should stay on top of filling its food and water dishes. Also, you need to make sure that the food doesn't freeze or spoil if your dog leaves it alone for a bit. It can't eat food that's frozen and it shouldn't eat food that is contaminated in any way. Use your good judgment with your dog, and if its eating habits seem abnormal, then talk to your vet.
Also, make sure that the water bowl is always full. Water is a crucial part of any diet, and especially during the winter, your dog will need extra water to keep it going at a good pace and to keep it healthy. If the water freezes, then replace it, and again, fill it whenever you see it's empty. Also, you shouldn't have metal food and water dishes because if it's too cold outside, then the metal could freeze to your dog's tongue, providing for an uncomfortable, painful, and frustrating situation.
Winter is a new season and needs to be approached with the adequate amount of preparation and care. With your dog, you want it to be as healthy as possible, and so, if it's an outdoor dog, then ensure that it has everything it needs for survival. Also, use sound judgment; if it's blizzarding or at frigid temperatures, bring your dog inside.
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