Many people put weight on during the colder months because we tend to eat more when it’s cold, and that extra weight keeps our bodies warm. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to assume that it’s a good to put some extra weight on our dogs during winter. But with the obesity epidemic among our pets today, is it really a good idea to add that extra weight?
The short answer is: no. As stated above, an overwhelming number of dogs are overweight as is, and simply do not need any weight added. In fact, it’s probably better to take some off! But even if your pup is a little on the thin side or at a healthy weight, there’s no reason to put on weight for the sole purpose of keeping warm during winter. When it’s cold outside, the activity level of our pets usually drops anyway. Many of us shorten our walks or even skip certain days altogether. This is already going to slow down your pet’s metabolism and cause weight gain.
Therefore, there’s no reason to increase your pet’s food intake or try to fatten him up more.
Weight gain comes with far more risks than benefits. A healthy dog with a healthy body weight and coat should be able to keep warm in colder weather without any additional weight gain. When the body is healthy and working as it should, it will actually be more efficient at maintaining body temperature than an overweight dog. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight will keep the rest of his body healthy.
So what other options are there? Well, when inside it’s always a good idea to give your pup some extra blankets and make sure he’s got a comfortable and warm place to sleep and relax. If possible, let your dogs stay inside during the coldest months. There are also a lot of jackets out there for dogs.
Whatever you choose, make sure to exercise caution when keeping your pet warm to reduce the risk of overheating. Keep feeding your pup his regular food, try to give him as much exercise as usual, and make sure he’s got plenty of goodies to keep him warm without the extra body fat.