As the mercury rises, you might notice a puzzling change in your furry friend’s behavior – a decreased appetite. It’s not uncommon for dogs to eat less during hot weather, but as a concerned pet owner, you might wonder why this happens and how you can help.
Hot weather can significantly impact your dog’s routines and behaviors, including their eating patterns. Factors like increased body temperature, dehydration risk, and a general feeling of lethargy can all contribute to your dog’s reluctance to eat.
In this guide, we’ll delve into the specifics of how heat affects your dog’s appetite and offer strategies to encourage eating.
From adjusting feeding times to ensuring a comfortable eating environment, we’ll cover a range of solutions to help your canine companion maintain a balanced diet during those sweltering summer days.
Let’s get started!
Does Hot Weather Affect A Dog’s Appetite?
Hot weather does affect a dog’s appetite. Almost all dogs eat less in hot weather than in average weather.
This can be attributed to a lack of activity and internal hormonal changes. In either case, there is no need to be alarmed if your dog skips a meal when the weather is hot.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have the duty to make dog food more appetizing for your pet. In fact, you have to put more effort into ensuring that your dog loves his food.
Even though your dog might not need as many calories in the summer, he does need his essential nutrients.
The best way to get your dog to eat his food during hot weather is to offset the possible causes of his loss of appetite.
Once you neutralize a few factors responsible for your dog’s suppressed appetite, your dog will start eating more. However, it won’t be as much as he eats in the weather where he is active.
Reasons For Your Dog’s Loss Of Appetite In The Summer
Activity is linked to appetite in dogs. But that’s not the only factor contributing to a dog’s desire for food. If your dog loses his appetite in hot weather, the hot weather itself might not be the sole culprit.
A few other factors can contribute to overall appetite loss. Let’s take a look at some of these factors.
1. Lack Of Activity
Dogs are not as active when the weather is scorching. While they might be active in temperate and warm weather, they get lazy when the summer heat is harsh.
This recent study highlighted that hot summer weather affects dogs’ activity levels more than winter weather. Because activity and appetite are linked, a drop in one leads to a decline in the other.
One way to avoid a low appetite from lack of activity is to engage your dog in indoor activities. Your dog is more likely to feel playful in a relatively cooler environment.
Not only will your dog eat more once he starts playing indoors, but he will also have more fun.
2. Metabolic Changes In The Summer
You can improve your dog’s appetite by engaging him in indoor activities. However, this effect has a threshold after which it has diminishing returns.
That’s because only some appetite loss is due to low activity. A big part of it is due to a lower metabolic rate.
In the summer, dogs go through hormonal and metabolic changes. One of the effects of these changes is a tangible reduction in appetite.
Fortunately, the extent to which a dog’s appetite drops due to internal changes in the summer is proportional to the decrease in his calorie requirements.
So, there is no need to worry about your dog eating smaller portions. What you do need to worry about is him not getting enough essential nutrients from his food.
The solution is simple: pack smaller portions with more nutrients with the help of supplements.
3. General Uneasiness
Another factor that dogs have in common with humans is that they enjoy their food. When eating becomes less pleasurable, dogs tend to eat less.
Hot weather can be humid as well and can make the dog uneasy. Your dog will not want to eat his food if he is uncomfortable.
Making your dog more comfortable is the key to improving his appetite. This includes providing plenty of shade and water and ensuring he is not strapped in body-hugging articles like a thick hardness.
The freer your dog feels, especially indoors, the more likely he is to want to eat his food.
4. Unappetizing Food
The final factor that will make your dog food-averse is food that is not appetizing. If you’ve read my post on whether dogs like dog food, you know dogs enjoy their food and can tell flavors apart.
If a dog’s food is not appetizing, he might eat it out of necessity, but when his appetite is naturally lower because of the summer, he might stop eating it altogether.
If your dog is not interested in his food because he finds it unappealing, try using toppers to make it more exciting.
A few commercial dog food toppers and raw additives make dog food more aromatic and flavorful. Using those increases the chances of your dog having his food.
How To Get Your Dog Eating In Hot Weather
Now that you know which factors negatively affect your dog’s appetite and how to offset them individually, you can fix your dog’s tendency to skip his meals.
There are only three things you can do whenever your dog is not eating in the summer:
- Make him hungrier
- Make his food more appealing
- Keep your dog cool
1. Make Your Dog Hungrier
You can work up your dog’s appetite by playing with him indoors (especially if you have air conditioning) so that he is exhausted enough to want to replenish his calorie reserves.
2. Make Your Dog’s Food More Appetizing
Your dog might also reject his food because he dislikes it – especially in warm weather. For this, you can use delicious food toppers and supplements.
You can also add water to dry dog food to make it more palatable and aromatic.
Or there is a range of foods you can easily mix with kibble.
A combination of adding appetizing toppers to dog food and making your dog exercise more in a cooler environment will get him to eat his food, even in hot weather.
3. Keep Your Dog Cool
In hot weather, you must keep your dog cool. I like to keep my German Shepherd cool by following the tips below, but these apply to your furry friend, too:
- Keep cold, fresh water available. The PetSafe Drinkwell Water Fountain from Amazon is perfect for this. This clever multi-tiered drinking fountain entices your dog to drink more, and the continual water circulation keeps the water clean.
- Provide refreshing treats. Fruits such as watermelon or frozen strawberries do the trick nicely. I also give my dog ice cubes, and she loves to crunch on them.
- Don’t feed your dog when they are hot. If your doggo has been outside in the warmth, let him cool down for an hour before feeding him.
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When there are factors like advanced age and internal hormonal shifts due to heat, your dog might get hungry within a limit. In that case, you should pack more nutrients into his meals.
Every dog owner must do the following in the summer:
- Have indoor activities to engage their dogs.
- Have tasty toppers to make dog food more appetizing.
- Add supplements to dog food so that it is more nutritious.
Is it normal for dogs to lose their appetite in hot weather?
Yes, it’s normal for dogs to lose their appetite or eat less when it’s hot out. High temperatures cause dogs to feel lethargic and reduce their energy needs. Their bodies may also slow digestion to devote more resources to panting and sweating. Offering smaller, more frequent meals can make food more enticing.
Does providing fresh water help stimulate a dog’s appetite in hot weather?
Providing plenty of fresh, clean water throughout the day is important to help stimulate your dog’s appetite when it’s hot.
Dehydration can curb hunger, so keeping water bowls full ensures your dog stays hydrated. The sight and smell of water may also pique their interest near mealtimes. Replacing stale water frequently is a good idea in hot weather.
How does heat affect a dog’s digestion?
The heat can slow down a dog’s digestive process, which may decrease their food intake. Warm temperatures cause dogs to divert more blood to their skin to release heat via panting. This leaves less blood flow for digestion.
Eating lighter, more digestible foods and monitoring stools for weather changes can help prevent issues like dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea.
A dog’s reduced appetite in hot weather is common but manageable with the right care. Keeping them cool, adjusting their diet, and staying vigilant about their health are key.
Always consult a vet if you’re concerned, and with these tips, you and your dog can safely enjoy the summer season together.