Wintertime is an anticipated event yearly. This is a time where everybody cozy up and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and lie around on the couch all day. Some love skating on ice or go on ski-ing. What makes this more fun is bringing your cute little Shih Tzu along. Keeping your dog healthy this winter entails some reminders especially about their diet ration. Colder temperature not only affects us humans, but also our canine buddies. You can observe some behavioral and appetite changes during this time and it is important to make sure that they are given the nutrients they need.
First and foremost, you have to make sure that you give your Shih Tzu a balanced diet. Winter can be a stressful period for dogs and you may observe less frequencies of eating and lower level of dogfood consumption. That’s why it is important to keep the food bulky – with lots of nutrients, carbohydrates and protein. Carbs are important because animals need a lot of reserve energy to keep them warm for the cold. Potatoes, parsnips, swede, beetroot, sweet potato and carrots can be boiled (not mashed) and added to the diet as they are considered as “warming” veggies. Cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage can also be added to promote hair growth to protect Shih Tzu from the cold. Add a bit more fat and oils to the food – for example, fattier meat cuts because upon metabolism this will all store as insulators of the body. For older Shih Tzu, make sure to give glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulphate to stimulate cartilage growth and block off the enzymes that breakdown cartilage. These two minerals are important to avoid arthritis and painful mobility during colder months. Older dogs are more prone to develop joint inflammation during winter and by giving these supplements, you are making sure they are adequately equipped for musculoskeletal health issues. Meals should be given more frequently in smaller amounts to stimulate eating and increase appetite. You can also warm your doggy’s food before giving it to your dog because this will induce palatability. Moist food is preferred because dogs have a tendency to drink less water during wintertime. This will facilitate ease of digestion and avoid constipation.