Nutrition: How to feed your pet during summer

Summer months bring hot weather and also holidays. What sort of nutrition do animals require during this period? Is it necessary to change their diet on hot days? And what is most important during hot temperatures? We have discussed this topic with the nutritionist Martin Kváš.

Let's start with dogs. Is it necessary to change their feeding routine during the summer months?

A change in feeding rituals is not only unnecessary, it could even have a negative effect on the dog. Dogs prefer unchanging rituals, therefore the dish, feeding time, etc. should stay the same even on holiday.

Can dogs be cooled down during hot days using a specific diet?

A diet can't cool dogs down in any way. Make sure that on hot days the dog has plenty of shade and a place to rest. It is not ideal to organise a long walk with your dog on hot days. Having your dog clipped is certainly a very bad idea. The coat is a significant factor of thermal regulation. Even though we humans don't believe it much, a long thick coat can protect dogs from overheating. Short-haired breeds should be protected with clothes.

Should there be something different included in the summer diet?

Changing the diet completely in the summer is not necessary. If the dog retains at least a little appetite, he can have his regular food even during the summer.

How to ensure that dogs drink enough water and aren't dehydrated?

Dogs must have constant access to water and the water should be fresh. During a walk, dogs should be allowed to drink regularly. If they don't drink every time, it's not a problem. Not drinking doesn't mean that they are not thirsty. They could get distracted by something more important and drinking isn't on their list of things to do at that time. The interval for the next drink should therefore be shorter.

How can I tell that a dog is too hot and needs cooling down?

When a dog is in danger of overheating, when he's really hot, he starts to "vent" in a specific way. Usually, the dog pulls the corners of his mouth back, in order to enlarge the air passage for cooling down. Very often, the dog lets his tongue hang loose in one corner of his mouth, enlarging the area for the moisture to evaporate, which cools him down. In this situation, the owner of the dog should quickly find some shade and allow the dog to cool down a bit. Misconceptions, such as that water will cool the dog down, should be avoided. It is partly true, but it's only effective for a short time. The wet coat represents a large surface for evaporation, which cools the dog down and the body starts reacting like in winter, by producing heat and the dog can, in fact, overheat. After a swim, the owner should dry the dog or at least leave him in the shade.

Do cats require a diet change in warmer weather?

Due to their origin, cats cope with heat very well. We've all seen pictures of cats enjoying the scorching sun. It is important to ensure that cats have constant access to water.

Is there anything that should be increased in their summer diet?

It is definitely important to ensure that the animal is drinking enough. Water is a decisive factor in their thermal regulation and if their body doesn't receive a sufficient amount, it can have very unpleasant consequences.

What should we concentrate on the most in terms of a summer diet?

Especially with cooked food, it is important to ensure a sufficient supply of electrolytes, which evaporate from the body in hot temperatures. Dogs, in particular, lose a large amount of water due to evaporation. Those who have had a dog in their car in the summer know, how they can steam up the windows even in direct sunlight.

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