Dogs and cats don’t need to eat as much when the weather is warmer. They’ll usually go on munching away and loving their food even though it’s comfort eating, ;they are not hungry any more and its much more than they need. Just like us humans, pets who overeat are prone to health problems – heart conditions, diabetes and joint pains. The amount of energy they use to keep their bodies warm in summer is less so their nutritional needs are too.
Research done recently at Liverpool University has proved that cats and dogs need more food in cold weather (well, that’s common sense isn’t it?). It’s just as necessary to adjust their food when it’s hot. We don’t use set amounts as every dog and cat is different. Feeding by condition is best. A dog’s skin should be glossy and supply, their bones well covered but without any overlying fat.
Cat’s soon develop a fat tummy so cutting back their rations and encouraging more exercise, perhaps through play, is helpful. It’s easy to give a dog more walks but with cats you have to be a bit more subtle. Try putting small amounts of food in different locations, a few biscuits in a dish upstairs or outside or on a high shelf is good. Our cats like to climb on roof spars and the top of pens etc. If you want to know where they are just look upwards – you’ll see cheshire cat faces looking down at you! It’s a pity when cats don’t have the chance to do this – in most homes they wouldn’t be allowed to do this because the ornaments would be knocked down. Isn’t it odd how cats tip over the best china and rarely break a chipped saucer?
We’ve seen specially adapted houses where cat is priority and they have shelves nearly at ceiling height and branch climbing frames running up the walls. Cat’s love them! If you cat goes outside he’ll find lots of climbing, up trees and over walls and fences, and will exercise quite naturally. As they eat a bit less they will get fitter and more adventurous – that’s the theory anyway!
Don’t forget, it’s just as important to increase the rations when winter comes, it;’s quite disturbing to note how many really hungry and thin dogs we see, even though they are in a ‘good’ home situation. It’s all down to following instructions on bags maybe – instead of looking at the dog’s size, metabolism and condition?