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Do dogs need more food in the winter?

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your dog's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your pooch!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster’s choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.

  
Cotton, TDI,- CGC, TFP-I,- FMX

You can't resist- me.
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 15, '07 11:19pm PST 
Cotton usually won't eat breakfast and I have to put good stuff (Natural Balance Sausage dog food) in her dinner in order to get her to eat dinner. But lately she instantly scarfs her breakfast and even licks the bowl looking for more. She lives inside but we do outside activities. The activity level hasn't changed just the cold weather has changed. She even goes to her dish and noses the dish at dinner time to let me know it is time for her to eat. Last year at this time I had just switched her food so I don't really have a comparison. I was buying what I thought was a good food but I have learned a lot since then. Before the switch she refused to eat for two days then finally would get hungry enough to eat the stuff she didn't like (but that is a different story). My vet said she is the picture of health at 40 pounds. She has lost one pound since then. I was feeding her on a modified free feed schedule (if she eats, she gets another cup, up to three per day, if she doesn't eat, it stays there until dinner when I add the suasage) but she has been eating everything I give her. Does she need more food in the winter? Or should I continue to give her the amount she was eating before the cold (about two cups and a slice of the sausage)?
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Gio

CD RE (CKC)- RXMCL (CARO) FM- CGN SJATD
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 16, '07 6:46am PST 
Normally outdoor dogs will need more food in the winter time to allow for insulation and and energy to keep warm. If Cotton is an indoor dog, she shouldn't need much more food during the winter, maybe a bit but nothing dramatic. It is possible that her metabolism is finally catching up to her and maturing. She is only two years old, so really it could be that she is finally settling into a food routine that adult dogs need. I would say to keep feeding as you normally would and monitor her weight. If it looks like Cotton is getting chubby, then cut back a bit. If she stays a nice healthy weight, then you know you have the food amounts correct big grin

Edit: Kept referring to Cotton as a boy ... Sorry Cotton!!!

Edited by author Tue Jan 16, '07 6:48am PST

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Snowy

A Doggie Scholar
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 16, '07 7:05am PST 
Normally I don't allow my dog to dictate how much he gets to eat, because I see his appetite as something no different than a little toddler child. If I give Snowy something yummy, he'd probably stuff himself until his tummy bursts if I'd let him. If I give him something nasty, he'll probably fill him self up with water and just flat out refuse his food.

I did read once, however, that dogs should be given more to eat during extreme hot and cold weathers, because they use more energy while panting or keeping themselves warm. I think the suggested guideline was around 10-20% more food. However, I suspect that this applies to dogs that are frequently kept outdoors, or those who maintain their normal exercise level despite extreme weather conditions (typically, we excerce our dogs less when the weather is nasty).

If you are interested in changing your dog's daily ration, you can always stick to a new plan for a few weeks, monitor your dog's weight carefully during that time, and see how it works out for your dog.
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Indiana

Is that snack- for me??
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 16, '07 7:31am PST 
I agree with Snowy. Other things to consider are how much your dog is active in the winter. If your dog isn't so impressed with being outdoors in the snow and cold playing an increase might not be necessary. I haven't fed Indiana any more now than he got in the summer because he won't play outside as much yet I've actually seen a bit of an increase in his weight over the past 2 months so I'm considering cutting him back a bit on his food.
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Brody

The best things- come in little- packages
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 16, '07 9:29am PST 
Brody seems to WANT more food in the winter, but he's getting chubby so I don't think he needs it. We exercise A LOT more in the summer. Its hard to take a little dog for walks in the freezing temps because they just shiver the whole time. So Brody is house-bound a lot more in the winter, which makes him chubby!
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Storm

I'm not begging- if I can't see- you!
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 16, '07 10:00am PST 
Meridian and Natty don't seem to require any extra food, but Storm does. We're not one of those families who keep the thermostat at 75 degrees during the winter, so Storm still needs a little more food replace the calories she burns keeping warm. Storm's also benefits from extra fish oil during the winter, whereas Meridian and Natty just get oily.

Winter is the time when I get a reminder that there really are differences between the girls due to their different breeds, ages, and just the fact that they're individuals.
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Cotton, TDI,- CGC, TFP-I,- FMX

You can't resist- me.
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 16, '07 5:06pm PST 
Thanks pups, I will take all of this in consideration. We don't live in an area with snow so we still go to the park and play fetch. We even started flyball so that makes up for the times when I am frozen and make Cotton go in a little earlier than we would in the summer. We have been enduring an unusually severe freeze (California isn't supposed to be this cold) and our heater isn't working so Cotton is probably a tad chilly (I have found her under the covers in the bed laugh out loud during the day). I now have a new question, how do you weigh a dog at home? I have tried to weigh myself then weigh with her and subtract the differenct but it can vary by as much as 3 pounds even if I step on and off without moving anything. I weighed her at the vet's office a few days ago when we refilled her heartworm med.
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Gio

CD RE (CKC)- RXMCL (CARO) FM- CGN SJATD
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 16, '07 5:14pm PST 
Scales give me the cold sweats and heart palpitations! BOL So I just eye-ball it with Gio. And we belong to a dog club that doesn't hesitate to point out when one of our club dogs is getting a little squishy big grin So we just do official weights at the vets. Most vets will allow you to come in and use their scale without an appointment though, even if you are not a patient there. So if you have any vet near by you, even if it isn't the one you normally go to, they will probably allow you to bring Cotton in and weigh her. Maybe just give a heads up phone call before dropping in to make sure big grin
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Pooch ~ I- miss you ~

love forever
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 16, '07 6:05pm PST 
Dogs may want more food in the winter because the change in seasons might trigger them to eat more. If they were wild they would need it but actually they don't unless they are kept outdoors most of the time. Indoor dogs should not need to eat more in the winter, and if they do eat more they may get overweight...
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