As the summer heat gets to us, it is natural for us to grab and ice cream or jump into a pool to cool off. Our pet dogs suffer from the heat just like we do. Many pet parents notice that their dogs’ eating habits change during the summer months – some dogs reduce the quantity of their intake and many become fussy over the foods they eat. So how do we ease our dogs’ into handling summer better in keeping with these food-moods? Here are a few ways that work very effectively…
Change The Timing: Many dogs get put off food when they are feeling hot. If your dog has skipped a meal or two and is otherwise healthy, then reducing the meals in summer or shifting them to the cooler parts of the day helps. And if your dog eats a bit less for a few months, it won’t hurt as long as your vet has checked out your dog for underlying health issues.
Freeze The Food: Hot weather and hot meals don’t exactly go well together. If your dog is used to eating the same warmed up meal everyday, why not change things around a bit by freezing his food and then offering it to him? Most dogs love a change – you can either freeze the meal in the bowl or in a small metal bowl that you can use as a mould. A clever way of doing it is to use an empty tetra pack container, cut it in half, fill up one half with your dog’s meal and freeze it. When frozen, peel off the container and give the yummy slab to your dog.
Avoid Dehydration: For many dogs that don’t drink enough water, summer could bring on dehydration. Try adding a bit of chicken soup to your dog’s water to get him to drink more, or make his food soupier. Frozen cubes of chicken and vegetable soup are a good way for your dog to get his fluids.
Frozen Fruit And Vegetable Treats: Fruits and vegetables can be healthy for dogs and a fun way to get nutrients. You can include mangoes, bananas, apples, watermelons and carrots. You can cut the fruits and vegetables into large chunks or long sticks and freeze them to create a fun fruity popsicles. Do ensure that you remove all rinds, seeds and peels before feeding the treats to your dogs.
Yogurt Or Buttermilk: Unsweetened yogurt or buttermilk is a good food to help your dog cool off in summer and to get probiotics into his diet. You can give a small cup plain or mix it into his daily food. Avoid adding salt, sugar or spices to the buttermilk.
IMPORTANT: Before you make any changes to your dog’s diet you MUST consult your veterinarian.
Shirin Merchant offers you a cooling recipe for your pooch:
Ingredients: 1 Banana (or strawberry/mango); 32 ounces plain yoghurt; 2 Tsp peanut butter; 2 tsp honey.
Method: Mix all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until well blended. Round up paper cups, small plastic containers, ice cube trays or muffin tins to use as moulds for the mixture and pour small amounts into them. Freeze the treats. You can also put them in a freezer bag for easy storage.
Once you master the basic recipe, you can get creative! You can use chicken soup with pieces of chicken; add dog biscuits for the sticks and even chunks of fruits or vegetables. Try making bigger popsicles to entertain your dog. Adding delicious treats in the middle for your dog to find, will keep him occupied and happy.