Why Proper Summer Nutrition Matters for Your Dog’s Health
As the weather warms up and the days get longer, our canine companions often become more active and spend more time outdoors. However, the shift in seasons can also bring about changes that affect your dog’s nutritional needs. Providing the right diet during the summer months can make all the difference in keeping your pup happy and healthy all season long.
In the summer heat, dogs are at increased risk of dehydration, so it’s critical to ensure they have access to plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. Their appetites may decrease as activity levels rise, so adjusting food portions to avoid overfeeding is important. At the same time, lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and omega fatty acids are essential for providing nutrient support for skin, coat, joint, and digestive health.
Just like humans, dogs can be impacted by allergies and food intolerances which may flare up in the summer. Paying attention to signs of irritation and discomfort such as itchy skin, ear infections, and digestive issues can help identify problems. If needed, transitioning to a hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diet may help reduce allergic reactions.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated with Cool, Clean Water
Dehydration is one of the biggest threats to your dog’s health in summer heat. As temperatures rise, dogs are less efficient at cooling themselves through panting and releasing heat through their paw pads. Just a 10% loss of fluids can cause serious illness.
Make sure fresh water is always available, both indoors and outdoors. Place bowls in shaded areas so the water itself stays cool. Change water frequently to keep it clean and appealing to drink. Consider adding ice cubes to provide extra cooling relief.
For active dogs who accompany you on summer outings, bring portable water and collapsible bowls. Offer frequent water breaks to keep your pup hydrated. Know the signs of overheating and dehydration which can progress quickly to heat stroke in extreme temperatures.
Adjust Food Amounts for Decreased Activity
Your dog may become less active in the hottest summer months, especially if regularly exercised during cooler hours. However, their metabolism remains relatively unchanged compared to winter. Eating the same amount of food despite lower activity levels can quickly lead to weight gain.
Monitor your dog’s body condition score and adjust food portions accordingly. Depending on the weather on a given day or changes in exercise routines, you may need to make slight tweaks to how much you feed. An overweight dog is at greater risk for arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and overheating.
Make sure to account for additional calories from treats and table scraps during summer picnic seasons. Stay disciplined about measuring portions to avoid overfeeding which can occur gradually over time.
Include More Proteins, Fruits and Vegetables
Just like humans, nutrient needs shift with the change of seasons. In summer, dogs benefit from diets focused on lean proteins, fruits and leafy vegetables. These provide antioxidants, vitamins and minerals critical for maintaining your dog’s health.
Increase proteins like chicken, fish, turkey and eggs which rebuild muscle, repair skin and strengthen the immune system. Introduce more vitamin-rich fruits and veggies like melon, berries, leafy greens and broccoli florets as tasty low-calorie treats.
Dry fur and skin, digestive issues, and joint stiffness can result if your dog’s diet lacks balanced nutrition. Providing quality proteins and produce helps safeguard body systems strained by summer activity and external stressors like UV rays and parasites.
Supplement with Omega-3s for Skin and Coat
Hot spots, dry flaky skin, and excessive shedding are common complaints in summer. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids from fish oil supplements support skin and coat health to help reduce seasonal irritation.
These oils nourish your dog’s skin from the inside out. Look for treats and foods fortified with omega fatty acids or give your dog daily fish oil capsules. Providing antioxidants like Vitamin E is also beneficial for combating effects of sun exposure and oxidative damage.
Giving omega supplements year-round helps maintain skin and coat condition. Increase dosage during summer months to boost effectiveness. Consult your vet to determine the right amount based on your dog’s health profile and diet.
Probiotics Can Improve Digestive Issues
Seasonal allergies, heat stress and diet changes can commonly cause digestive upset like diarrhea, constipation, gas and vomiting. Probiotics help restore good gut flora essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
Look for dog foods and treats with added probiotics like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. Give daily doses to support healthy stool consistency and intestinal immunity. Probiotics also minimize digestive irritation that can occur when transitioning summer diet.
If your dog shows signs of food intolerance like loose stool or vomiting, call your vet right away. Probiotics can get digestion back on track, but other interventions may be needed if symptoms persist or worsen.
With some planning and attention to nutrition, you can keep your dog happy, healthy and enjoying all the fun summer activities you share together! Talk to your vet to develop the optimal dietary strategy tailored for your pup.
Stay Hydrated! Ensure Access to Clean, Cool Water
When the mercury rises, keeping your pup properly hydrated is one of the most important things you can do. Water supports all aspects of your dog’s health and replaces fluids lost through panting, sweat glands in their paw pads, and simple exertion. Making water readily available aids in regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients, cushioning joints, and eliminating waste.
Set up water stations with tip-proof bowls throughout your home and yard, preferably in shaded spots so it stays cooler. Replace water at least twice per day to keep it appealing to drink. Consider adding ice cubes or frozen broth cubes to provide extra cooling and enrichment.
On hot days, check levels often and refill before bowls empty completely. Dogs who gulp water may benefit from graduated bowls designed to slow fast drinking. Place mats under bowls to prevent wet floors and slippery conditions.
If your home’s tap water has an unpleasant mineral taste, try filtering it or provide bottled drinking water instead. You can also flavor water with low-sodium broth or blend in doggie ice pops made from fruit/veg purees for added nutrition.
When out and about, bring fresh water and portable bowls to offer frequent sips. Doggy hydration packs allow you to store water and easily dispense to your pup on long walks. Watch for cues like excessive panting that signal overheating or dehydration requiring a water break.
Senior dogs and certain breeds like pugs are prone to struggle meeting water needs in summer’s heat and humidity. Monitor their intake closely and take extra steps to keep their water cool and appealing. Also limit exercise to early mornings and evenings to prevent overexertion.
With free access to fresh, clean water, your dog stays hydrated, healthy and better equipped to enjoy all the fun summer activities you share. Preventing dehydration protects your pup from serious illnesses like kidney disease and heat stroke. Keep the bowl full and help them stay well!
Adjust Food Amounts for Decreased Activity
With the arrival of summer, your dog’s activity patterns likely shift as you both spend more time outdoors. But their metabolism remains relatively constant compared to winter months. Feeding the same portions despite decreased activity can quickly lead to weight gain.
Monitor your dog’s body condition score weekly and adjust food amounts accordingly. Feel their ribs – you should be able to easily feel but not see them. Check for waist tuck when viewed from above. Dogs should have an evident “tuck up” behind their ribcage.
For overweight dogs, reduce portion sizes gradually to promote safe weight loss. For very active dogs, increase food to account for extra energy expended on long walks, swims, and play sessions. Make sure to factor in any treats or table scraps too.
Splitting their daily food into two or three meals will help prevent gorging at one sitting. Use puzzle toys and snuffle mats to make eating more active and extend mealtimes. This also prevents boredom related overeating.
Consider lowering caloric density if your dog gains weight easily. Add more vegetables, fruits and lean proteins to meals while reducing starchy carbs. Maintaining lean body composition protects long-term health and reduces risk for obesity-related disease.
Schedule regular weigh-ins at your vet to monitor weight status. They can advise food adjustments and exercise plans tailored to your dog’s needs. Consistency is key – even small increases in daily portions can add up over weeks and months.
Adapting your dog’s diet through the seasons will keep them fit and healthy as activity patterns change. With the right nutrition and portions for summer, your dog will be ready to enjoy all the fun the warmer months have to offer.
Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Lean Protein
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, organs, and immune cells. Dogs require higher protein levels than humans to meet their energy needs. In summer, bumping up high-quality lean proteins provides key support against seasonal stressors.
Choose digestible options like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy products. Try adding extras to their usual meals, mixing in new high-protein treats, or swapping kibble for canned food. Canned options typically contain more protein per calorie.
Look for grain-free or limited ingredient formulas without fillers. Supplement kibble with small amounts of no-salt-added canned fish like salmon, sardines or tuna packed in water. These provide omega-3s for skin/coat health too.
If your dog turns up their nose at plain proteins, enhance appeal by mixing in a spoonful of low-sodium broth, plain yogurt, or pureed veggies. Frozen doggie “pupsicles” made with Greek yogurt and blended fruits or greens provide cooling hydration too.
Meat-based proteins are best, but don’t overlook plant-based options like beans, lentils and peas. Many dogs love veggie burgers cooked without seasoning. Just be sure to introduce new foods gradually to avoid gastric distress.
Talk to your vet if your pup needs a prescription ultra-high protein diet for certain medical conditions. Otherwise, most adult dogs do well with 25-30% of total calories from protein in their daily diet. Providing the right balance helps them thrive during summer playtime.
Quality lean proteins provide the amino acids and nutrients your dog needs to stay energized and keep their muscles, organs, blood cells, hair, skin and nails in great shape all season long. Feed more of these healthful options now for a strong, vibrant best friend by your side.
Include Fruits and Veggies for Key Nutrients
In addition to quality proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables provide vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants dogs need to thrive in summer. Adding more produce boosts nutrition without excess calories.
Try refreshing treats like watermelon, blueberries, sliced apples, and bananas. Steam, roast or shred veggies like broccoli, carrots, green beans and spinach to stir into meals. Just be sure to introduce new foods gradually.
The high water content in fruits and veggies also aids hydration. Blend them into “pupsicles” for cooling, nutritious snacks. Toss chunks into their water bowl or make “bobbers” by skewering fruit onto ice cubes.
If your dog turns up their nose at produce alone, mix in small amounts with their regular food. Use low-sodium broth or plain yogurt to enhance palatability. Some dogs love crunchy veggie chips as a salty treat alternative.
Caution is needed with certain fruits and vegetables. Onions, grapes, raisins, avocados and chocolate are toxic to dogs. Pits and seeds can also pose choking hazards, so remove before serving.
Consult your vet on optimal daily amounts of fruits and vegetables based on your dog’s size, weight and activity level. As a general rule, 5-10% of their diet can come from produce. Focus on variety to provide a range of nutrients.
Fruits and veggies give dogs antioxidants for immunity, fiber for digestion, vitamins for organ function and minerals for bone health. Feeding more of these nutritious options in summer helps keep your dog energized and eyes bright.
With tail wags and doggy kisses, your pup will thank you for the bounty of delicious, healthful fruits and veggies. Let them crunch into that carrot or nibble on fresh melon as a cool treat. Nutrition now equals fun all season long!
Monitor Treat Intake Closely During Summer Months
With summer comes plenty of opportunities for extra treats and table scraps at backyard barbeques, picnics in the park, and outdoor dining excursions. While these tasty morsels bring joy, too many can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
Carefully account for all snacks and human food when calculating your dog’s daily calorie intake. Just a few extra treats each day can add pounds over time. Track amounts with a food log or apps like Dog Food Advisor.
Choose low-calorie training treats like fresh fruits and veggies so you can reward behaviors without overfeeding. Offer bites of plain meat or a spoonful of plain yogurt rather than fatty hot dogs or cheese.
Portion commercial treats into small baggies ahead of time so you’re not overpouring. Break large biscuits into smaller pieces. Always measure oil when baking homemade goodies.
For dogs who constantly beg, use most of their ration for structured mealtimes rather than doling out tidbits all day. Store treats out of sight to avoid reminder woofs. Teach a “Go lie down” cue to redirect attention.
Never give foods toxic to dogs like chocolate, grapes, macadamia nuts, onion and garlic. Also avoid seasoned offerings that are high in sodium. Check unsafe people foods online before sharing scraps.
With some planning, you can safely incorporate tasty treats into your dog’s summer routine. Just be diligent about portions to maintain balanced nutrition and a healthy weight all season long.
Supplement with Omega-3s from Fish Oil for Skin and Coat Health
Hotspots, dry skin, excessive shedding and dull coats are common nuisances dogs suffer during summer. Boosting omega-3 fatty acids can help keep your pup’s skin and fur in great shape when seasonal irritants strike.
Omega-3s nourish skin and hair follicles from the inside out. They also fight inflammation to soothe seasonal allergies. Look for treats and foods enriched with salmon, sardine or anchovy oil.
Alternatively, give your dog a daily fish oil capsule or pump of liquid supplement. Pick a quality brand made for pets, not humans. EPA and DHA omega-3s should be listed on the label.
For small dogs, pierce the capsule and squeeze a portion over food. For large breeds, give 1-2 full capsules with meals. Always start with low doses and monitor for digestive upset.
Pair omegas with antioxidants like vitamin E to enhance effectiveness and prevent oxidative damage. Vitamin E also protects skin from UV rays. Feed foods rich in the nutrient like eggs, nuts, seeds and leafy greens.
Provide omega supplements year round for optimal skin and coat condition. Increase dosage during the summer to combat seasonal dryness and irritation. Work with your vet to tailor amounts to your dog’s needs.
Omega-3s reduce excessive shedding while making fur soft, shiny and healthy overall. Your dog’s skin will be soothed and less prone to aggravation from external factors. Bring out their natural beauty from the inside out!
Probiotics Can Aid Digestion During Diet Changes
With fluctuating temperatures and routines over summer, digestive upset like diarrhea, constipation, gas and vomiting can plague dogs. Probiotics help restore good gut flora essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
Look for dog foods and treats with added probiotics like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. Give daily doses to help firm up stool consistency and maintain good intestinal immunity.
When transitioning to a new summer diet, start with smaller meals and mix in the old food at first. Sprinkle on probiotic powder or give a paste of canned pumpkin to help prevent gastric distress.
If diarrhea strikes, promptly call your vet instead of immediately switching foods. An abrupt change could further upset the gastrointestinal system. Ask about short-term probiotic therapy to get digestion back on track.
Prebiotics from foods like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, bananas, and yogurt help feed probiotics for better gut health. Make sure to introduce new items gradually to allow adjustment.
Always ensure fresh, clean drinking water is available to prevent dehydration from lost fluids. Monitor for lethargy, vomiting, blood in stool or signs of pain which require urgent vet care.
With some probiotic support alongside careful diet transitions, your dog’s digestive system will stay balanced through the seasons. Contact your vet if symptoms persist or seem severe.
Consider Hypoallergenic Food Options If Allergies Flare Up
In summer’s heat, dogs frequently battle aggravated skin allergies and intolerances worsened by high pollen counts, humidity, and seasonal foods. Switching to a hypoallergenic diet may help reduce allergic reactions.
Look for limited ingredient formulas using novel proteins like kangaroo, bison or venison your dog hasn’t eaten before. These minimize exposure to common triggers.
Grain-free recipes also eliminate possible gluten and corn allergens. Choose brands using digestible carbohydrates like sweet potato and chickpeas which are less likely to cause issues.
Gradually transition foods over 5-7 days by mixing increasing amounts of the new food with decreasing amounts of the old. This allows their digestive system to adapt.
Track symptoms over 2-3 months to determine if the food helps reduce adverse reactions. Monitor for improvements in skin, coat, ears, paws, eyes and digestion as well as scratching and licking.
Be sure to isolate the diet trial – don’t introduce other new foods, treats or medications during the trial period which could interfere.
If symptoms continue, try a prescription hydrolyzed protein diet recommended by your vet. These break down proteins into smaller peptides less likely to trigger immune reactions.
With the right hypoallergenic food, your dog can stay happy and comfortable even during allergy season. Seek veterinary advice if symptoms persist or seem severe.
Watch for Signs of Food Intolerances Like Diarrhea
Dietary intolerances can flare up in summer as dogs are exposed to new foods, treats and table scraps. Be vigilant for symptoms of gastrointestinal distress like diarrhea, vomiting, gas and abdominal pain.
Note any episodes and try to identify suspect items. Introduce new foods gradually and one at a time to isolate potential triggers. Keep a food journal documenting meals and treat items.
For acute vomiting or diarrhea lasting over 24 hours, withhold food for 12-24 hours to allow the GI tract to rest. Reintroduce small bland meals like boiled chicken and rice, along with plenty of fluids.
If symptoms continue or recur when you reintroduce the regular diet, try a limited ingredient prescription food or novel protein diet recommended by your vet.
Severe vomiting and diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, especially in puppies and small dogs. Look for sticky gums, sunken eyes, weakness and excessive thirst as red flags requiring urgent medical attention.
Stool samples can check for parasitic infections which increase in summer months. Treat any underlying illness and use probiotic supplements to support healthy digestion.
By being watchful for symptoms, you can identify and address food intolerances before they take a bigger toll on your dog’s health and enjoyment of summertime.
Avoid Spoiled Foods by Storing Kibble Properly
In the heat and humidity of summer, dry dog food can quickly spoil if not stored properly. Follow these tips to keep your dog’s kibble fresh and prevent wasted bags.
Store food in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources like appliances. The ideal temperature is between 50-70°F to prevent spoilage.
Place kibble in an airtight container like a lidded bucket rather than the original bag. This prevents air exposure which causes food to become stale faster.
Wash food containers thoroughly before refilling to remove any moisture, dust and crumbs which can promote mold growth. Allow to air dry completely.
Discard bags within 6 weeks of opening, or sooner if you notice an undesirable smell or signs of bug infestation. Freezing portions can extend lifespan.
When changing foods, place the new bag on top and use first. Rotate stock regularly to utilize oldest purchases before fresh inventory.
Inspect each scoop for any visible mold, clumping, discoloration or foul odors. Discard the entire batch if anything seems off.
Wash food scoops and bowls daily to prevent bacterial buildup. Sanitize surfaces around feeding areas to control cross contamination.
With proper dry food storage methods, you can keep your dog’s kibble fresh and nutrient-rich all season long. Follow your nose – if it smells bad, throw it out!
Don’t Make Sudden Changes – Transition Food Gradually
It’s tempting to immediately switch up your dog’s diet when the seasons change. However, sudden food transitions can disrupt digestion. Make switches gradually over 5-7 days.
Mix a small amount of the new food in with their current meals. Slowly increase the ratio of new to old food over several days. This gives their digestive system time to adapt.
If switching proteins, try incorporating both the old and new proteins during the transition. This prevents gastrointestinal upset that can occur when eliminating ingredients abruptly.
Watch closely for signs of intolerance like loose stool, vomiting, gas or loss of appetite. Slow the transition if symptoms arise. You may need to move to a more gradual 10-14 day change.
When changing to a prescription veterinary diet, follow transition instructions carefully for the health condition being managed. Slower transitions of 2-4 weeks may be required.
Outside of scheduled mealtimes, avoid giving high-value treats or new foods during the transition. This prevents unnecessary stress on digestion.
Patience is key when switching foods, especially for sensitive dogs. Allowing the digestive tract time to adjust can prevent many avoidable stomach upsets.
With a gradual food change over 5-7 days, your dog’s body can seamlessly adapt to the new diet. Stay alert for any symptoms of intolerance and slow things down if needed. Soon your pup will be thriving on their nutritious new menu!
Schedule Annual Vet Checkups to Discuss Diet and Nutrition
An annual wellness visit to the vet provides a great opportunity to discuss your dog’s current diet and any needed nutrition adjustments for the season. Their input can optimize your pup’s menu.
Bring a list of current foods, treats and supplements along with amount fed per day. This gives your vet a complete picture to make informed recommendations tailored to your dog.
Be open about any appetite changes, weight fluctuations, digestive issues, allergy symptoms, or measurements you’ve tracked. Mention if your dog seems picky about certain foods or resists diet changes.
Ask your vet’s guidance on optimal nutritional balances for protein, fat, carbs, and key vitamins/minerals based on your dog’s needs. Inquire about any areas of concern.
If your dog has medical conditions, chronic illnesses or is on medication, discuss any special dietary needs or restrictions. Have your vet review supplements you give.
Establish target weight ranges for prevention and management of obesity. Discuss exercise plans and calorie adjustments that may be needed seasonally.
Veterinarians stay up-to-date on dog foods and research to best support your pup’s health. An annual nutrition consult ensures their diet aligns with current recommendations.
With your vet’s counsel, you can provide the ideal nutrition plan adapted for your dog’s unique needs and lifestyle through all seasons. They’ll be on the road to health!
Feeding the Right Food Prevents Obesity and Health Issues
Providing proper nutrition tailored for your dog’s needs and activity level is key to preventing obesity plus associated conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
Choose foods with optimal protein/fat/carb balances. Avoid filler-heavy brands. Incorporate lean proteins, fruits and veggies for nutrients without excess calories.
Closely monitor treat intake which can quickly lead to weight gain over time. Stick to healthy training treats like chopped produce and track amounts.
Feed set meals rather than free-feeding to better control portions. Use slow feed bowls or food puzzles to prevent rapid gorging.
Weigh your dog at least monthly and keep records. Adjust food if their body condition score trends too high or low. Even small gains add up.
Make sure everyone in the home sticks to the diet plan. Limit table scraps and use kibble for training reinforcement.
Increase exercise through play, walks and swimming. Be patient – weight loss takes time. Consult your vet to develop a customized plan.
Providing species-appropriate nutrition tailored to your dog’s needs supports lifelong health and vitality. With proper feeding and activity, your pup will thrive.
With Proper Nutrition, Your Dog Will Love Summer Fun!
Summer brings so much joy – long walks, swimming, playdates and relaxing in the sunshine. But the change in weather, routines and activities also impacts your dog’s nutritional needs.
Providing the right diet tailored for summertime keeps your pup energized, hydrated and healthy to fully enjoy the warmer months. Lean proteins, fruits, veggies and omega fatty acids support their needs.
Monitor treats, transition food gradually and store kibble properly. Weigh your dog regularly and adjust portions to maintain optimal body condition.
Be alert for signs of food intolerances or allergies like digestive upset, skin irritation and ear infections. Avoid spoiled foods. Supplement with probiotics.
Schedule an annual vet visit to discuss your dog’s diet and any seasonal adjustments recommended. Together you can provide a nutrition plan adapted for your pup’s unique needs and lifestyle.
With thoughtful nutrition management, your dog will be ready for all the adventures, fun and special memories next summer promises. Healthy food now equals healthy fun for seasons to come!