You may not know this, but there are actually different ways and different food types to feed your pet during the summer. If you have an indoor pet in an environmentally controlled home, where the temperature and humidity stay relatively the same day after day, these tips probably don’t apply. But if your pet loves to spend time outdoors, if you don’t have or use an air conditioner for most of the year, or they reside in an outside kennel space, then these tips work great.
The best tip is actually a drinking tip, but it is the most important thing you can do for your pet. Always make sure there is plenty of water to drink on warm and hot summer days. Just like you, pets can become dehydrated out in the heat, and dehydration in animals can be life threatening. Put out a bowl or two of fresh water that is constantly refilled, to keep them hydrated and happy, and that’s the best feeding tip for your pets above all others.
Hot and Cold Food Types
If you didn’t know this, there are actually hot and cold food types. For example, chicken, turkey and pork are considered “hot” meats, and they are best left out of the food plan on hot days. “Cold” foods, like whitefish, beef, rabbit and yogurt are better suited to a pet’s metabolism and won’t get them overheated and lethargic. Making a switch is easy to do, just alternate between colder food types on hot days and hotter food types on cooler days and your pet will be good to go.
Serving Hot and Cold Food
Just like you, your pet likes a good hot meal every so often, but feeding a hot meal on a hot day can quickly overheat them. Serving cold food on a hot day cools them off from the inside out and makes it much more comfortable to eat. Cold food doesn’t have to come from the refrigerator; room temperature is good enough, which will still probably be much cooler than the outside temperature.
Fruits and Veggies
Cooling snacks like fruits and veggies go a long way to keeping your pet cool. Most of these snacks are filled with water, so that’s another good way to keep your pet hydrated automatically. Plus, eating snacks like these are very refreshing on hot days. Adding fruits and veggies to your pet’s diet also represents one of the healthiest ways of improving their diet. Watermelon, blueberries, raspberries and broccoli are all good choices, while grapes raisins and onions are not so good. Just remember that large amounts of any fruit or vegetable will cause diarrhea, and that may lead to dehydration, which is what you absolutely do not want to occur.
Most grains are considered “hot” foods mainly because it takes them longer to digest, so the internal digestion process of your pet works harder and therefore generates more heat. With a grain free diet, digestion is fast and efficient, so there is never any extra and unwanted heat generated from digesting it. Of course, stick with the types of cooler food types as listed above for the hotter days, and your pet will be smiling with every bite.
When feeding outside, get them into the shade so they can eat without the sun blaring down on them. You wouldn’t want to eat in full sun on a hot day, and neither would your pet, so do shade feeding in the summer to keep them cooler.
As an alternative, you can bump the feeding time during the evening until dusk or later. Your pet isn’t going to care when it eats, and if you feed at dusk or after dark, you’ll be letting them eat in the coolness that comes when the sun goes down.
Pet Food Only
When you are out and about in your yard with family and friends, the temptation to give human food treats to begging pets can be almost overwhelming. But this is the time to resist giving pets any human food treats. Salty foods, like chips and pretzels, aren’t good for them and chocolate can make them seriously ill. Alcoholic drinks are a serious no-no, and artificially sweetened beverages, candies, cakes and the like can actually cause death.
Kids are serious offenders here, they just want to be involved and love the feeding interaction. If need be, you may have to keep your pet in the house or outdoor kennel while the festivities are going on, just to keep them protected from any kind of dangerous human food that they may be offered.
Feeding pets in the summer isn’t a radical change, but for their health and well being, a summer diet that includes the tips above will go a long way to keeping your pet cool and comfortable all summer long.
Written by: Mary Nielsen
Mary Nielsen founded FelineLiving.net and is a passionate cat lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She founded her blog to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a number of adorable kittens and cats. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.