A healthy dog is always a happy dog, right? Our dogs love us unconditionally every day, and the least we can do for them is to ensure that they are healthy.
As we watch our dogs eat with such vigour and boundless joy, let's take time to understand what we're feeding them and whether it is truly beneficial to their digestive system. Since their health is in our hands, it is up to us to feed them good quality food - whether it is kibble or wet food, nutrition is paramount. Once you've established the right diet, you can change it according to the weather outside. Like us, dogs prefer different foods in different seasons. In other words, feeding them the right food in the right season helps them cope with the environment and reduces the undesirable medical problems that shifting seasons bring.
As the sweltering summer heat drives us to eat food that makes us feel light and cool, our dogs happen to have to eat the same food regardless of the weather outside. Proteins like lamb, pork, and salmon warm the insides of the stomach, i.e., they are very 'heaty'. Whether they are consumed in the form of kibble or as a homemade diet, they can be a source of stomach upsets. Choose light food, like ones made from chicken. If you feed your dog a kibble diet, you can choose to soak the kibbles in water before feeding it to them. This way, dogs who don't like water will have some amount of it in their body to keep them from deadly dehydration. Even better, you can choose to switch to the wet food form of your dog's dry kibble - it is more appetizing and thirst-quenching than a dry food diet on a hot summer day. Don’t forget to give your dog unsalted buttermilk or plain curds after a meal or anytime during the day – it helps to keep them hydrated and prevents summertime tummy troubles. Feed your pet in an area away from the sun, and remember to have plenty of fresh water available. Sometimes, dogs wish to laze around rather than play on a hot day - on those days; they will naturally eat lesser food. Unless they show signs of weakness or dehydration, eating one meal a day when it is cool in the evening should do just fine.
Winter diets change depending on whether your dog spends his time outdoors or indoors. On a harsh winter morning, an indoor dog has fewer changes to her diet than one facing the blistering cold while guarding the house. However, a must-do for all pet parents is to add eggs, fish oil, and coconut oil to winter dog diets - both of which help in relieving dry, itchy skin and joint pain (in older dogs) brought about from harsh winter weather. If your dog likes to spend his time outdoors irrespective of the weather, he may need to consume twice as many calories as he would on a typical fair-weather day. For this, you can slowly transition into a diet that is rich in glucose, fat, and heavy proteins like lamb, pork, venison etc.
Ah, those rainy days - where some of our dogs stare out the window listlessly in the hope of a ray of sunshine, while others don't mind a splash in the muddy puddles. Monsoons are by far the most challenging season for a doggy 'diet change,' but rest assured because we got you covered! If your dog spends more time indoors on rainy days, choose to stick to her regular diet. Contrarily, if you find him in anticipation of the next walk despite the downpour, you might want to switch him onto a diet rich in fat and dietary fibre.
Important yet often ignored. As dog parents, we often forget the necessity for our dogs to drink sufficient water. To begin with, always have bowls of fresh, clean water available regardless of the weather outside. Water is required to help your dog's electrolytes in balance - it ensures smooth digestion and bowel movements. Besides, it helps flush out harmful toxins from the bloodstream via the kidney, i.e. maintains good cardiovascular health. If your dog doesn't like to drink water, you can choose to feed him a wet food diet or kibble soaked in water. You can also choose to give your dog doggy ice cream or ice popsicles as a treat on hot summer days. Insufficient water intake in dogs starts with dehydration and leads to organ failure, if not corrected in time. Remember always to carry a bowl and water bottle while exercising with your dog. For dogs and their parents who are always on the go, travel bowls are helpful so that you always have access to drinking water no matter where your adventure takes you.
Exercise in the form of play is nothing short of a fun day - for both you and your dog. Dogs were bred as working animals - they still enjoy working even if we don't need them to anymore. When 'working' translates to play, you will have much happier and far calmer dogs. One of the benefits of play is that it relieves boredom and channels energy away from undesirable destructive and anxious behaviour. When play is a part of every day, they are less likely to feel stressed because their minds are occupied and stimulated to focus on the game at hand - be it tug of war or good ol' fetch! Play is the best way to foster the bond that we have with our dogs - their playfulness that exists well into adulthood makes it one of the best forms to strengthen a lasting relationship.
A clean dog is always appreciated around the household, but it is up to us to ensure that our dogs stay clean.
Oral Care: A lot can be said about a dog's health from its teeth and gums. If you notice, a veterinarian always checks the vitality of a dog's gums before all else. With an increasing incidence of people feeding their dog's a homemade diet, dogs are developing gingivitis. To avoid tartar buildup and the sky-high price of dental scaling, a kibble diet and regular brushing are a must.
Skin and Paw Care: When you look at a healthy dog, the first thing you notice is the health of his coat because what's on the inside always shines on the outside! Coat care starts with high quality, nutritious, and balanced diet. When dogs are fed quality food, their bodies can absorb nutrients that contribute to excellent skin health. This, along with regular grooming and consistent paw care, make up for a strong dog inside out. That said, this World Health Day, let's celebrate the good health and unconditional love of our four-legged fur buddies by taking better care of them.