Summer Feeding – Should I feed my dog more in the summer?

Healthy golden retreiver with fresh carrots














To some, summer is a time to chill inside with the AC cranked to the max.  Others consider the warmer weather the perfect time to get outside and be active.  We recently received an email from one of our fans asking about summer feeding that we thought we would share.

Hi Stewart,

My dog and I are very active in the summer.  we hike, swim, go for morning runs, and in general, spend a ton of time outside. The other day after our hike realized how much hungrier I am when I’m active and it got me thinking: should I be feeding my dog more to compensate for our activities? I definitely don’t want to run the risk of weight gain but I also don’t want him weak or malnourished on our adventures. Should I adjust my dog food for summer feeding?  -Thanks!

Great Question.

You may already know this, but extreme temperatures alone can require more energy from pets to keep themselves warm or cool; combined with added exercise, it’s fair to assume a small increase in calories will help provide the energy they need to sustain. The short answer is yes, you can certainly feed your pet more if they’re burning more with physical activity but the question is how much.

On the days you know they’ll be extra active, we recommend increasing their portion by about 10% and monitoring their weight and energy. To give you a range, keep in mind that some working dogs need up to 40% more food to maintain the energy needed to do their job, but we’re talking cattle/police/hunting dogs who engage in vigorous activity all day multiple days per week. Also know that you can play around, maybe make their pre-workout portion a little bigger but keep their dinner portion the same and see how they do with that. As our writer said, avoiding weight gain is really important too. On the days you know you guys will be lounging inside, keep them with their regularly-scheduled portion.

Also, the quality of your pet’s food makes a big difference in how their body breaks it down and utilizes it; consider a food that’s rich in protein, low in fat, and doesn’t use any fillers; just like health-conscious humans, active dogs need a food that can provide the nutrients needed to fuel their energy and replenish their muscles.


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