While the relationship between household pets’ changes in diet and the weather hasn’t been studied significantly, there have been several studies that point toward seasonal changes in a dog or cat’s behaviour around meal times. It’s important to be aware of how your pet is eating all throughout the year, but as the weather cools down it’s especially important to be aware of the changes in your pets diet.
Dogs In The Winter
Little research has been done on how frequently dogs eat in the winter, although many dog owners notice that their dogs’ appetites increase during the winter months. There are a few theories surrounding this observation. The theories are based on an evolutionary requirement, as modern dogs take after wolves. In the winter months wolves need to hunt and consume as much as they can as food is more scarce in the winter.
However, these are simply theories without any studies to prove their legitimacy. If a raw food diet for dogs is what you feed your dog, you may find that they don’t get as hungry, as they are getting a more balanced, well rounded diet full of nutrients they need. However, if you are a dog owner that notices your dog gets a little hungrier in the winter months, try increasing their food slightly. If this doesn’t help, you can try adding some low-fat raw pet food and treat options for your dog, such as kangaroo, rabbit, or turkey.
Cats and Winter Diets
One study done on 30 kibble fed cats (there are no studies done on raw feeding cats) in France on their diets during the winter found that the cats ate approximately 15% more during the winter months than they did in the summer months. Similarly to the theory with dogs, it is speculated that during the winter the lower temperatures trigger cats to eat more in order to store fat so it can survive the cold winter months with less prey to hunt.
Be Aware Of Your Pet
Ultimately, you know your pet best, and each individual pet will have individual needs. If your dog or cat becomes hungrier during the winter months, feed them at your discretion but always be mindful of weight gain. You spend the most time with your pet, and if you monitor their appetites and their feeding times closely you will be aware if they are eating too much (or too little). Consult with an integrative vet if you think that the seasonal changes within your pet’s appetite are more significant than what should be normal.
If you’re unsure of how much your pet should be eating, click here to view our feeding calculator.