Have you ever noticed that your diet and weight fluctuate a little throughout the year? Some people might gain a little “winter weight” or find that they eat less during the summer. Other folks might be more active during the warmer months and find themselves eating more food. These tendencies aren’t unusual and actually, the same might happen with your pets. Some animals actually require a change in diet during the summer. Read on to learn more!
What the Science Says
There haven’t been very many studies on cats and dogs and seasonal effects on appetite. However, what little research has been done indicates that there is a correlation. French and English researchers did a study on cats and appetite and the results of the study were certainly interesting. The population of cats they studied was too small to yield mathematically significant results, meaning more research needs to be done, but it’s still worth looking at.
The study showed that cats possibly eat the most during the months of January, February, October, November and December. Those same felines ate the least during the warm months of June, July and August. These results applied to both indoor and outdoor cats.
Other more conclusive studies show that changes in outdoor temperature and amount of daylight have a definite effect on metabolism in mammals. This means throughout the year, the amount of calories they burn changes. Thus, how much they should eat also changes.
So Should You Change Your Pet’s Diet in the Summer?
While the science is still inconclusive, it’s fairly easy to determine whether or not you should change your pet’s diet in the summer. Pay close attention to your pet and you might see changes in appetite and behavior during the summer.
Some pets are more active during the summer. If your pet runs or plays more often during the summer, then you might want to think about feeding them more. On the other hand, if your pet seems to be moving less and napping in the sunshine, you might want to slightly decrease their food intake.
Another indication of how much you should be feeding your pet is their weight. Your veterinarian will let you know the healthy weight range for your dog and cat and you should feed them accordingly. A quick way to tell if your pet is a healthy weight is to look at their torso. You shouldn’t be able to see their ribs, but still feel them if you press gently on their belly.