Heat can often reduce our dogs’ appetite. As the temperature heats up in summer, we all – in general – have less desire to eat. Mammals have been found to naturally reduce food intake as sunlight hours increase. Metabolism takes on a calmer rhythm. What’s more, with the heat, we tend to limit our activity and move less, and as a result the body requires less calories.
We may need to distribute our dog’s daily food intake throughout the day, and try to match their meals with the coolest hours: first thing in the morning, a little at noon, and a third meal in the late afternoon.
The Mediterranean diet is not about the dishes themselves, but is based on the ingredients, the portion sizes and their frequencies. Within this concept, moderate exercise must be included alongside the diet, even in summer. Of course, this should be taken during the coolest hours.
The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern based on the preparation of traditional dishes, featuring foods with minimal processing and favouring local produce as much as possible. This minimises the environmental impact of food, and optimises its micronutrient and bioactive-compound content.
As we know, the Mediterranean diet offers numerous benefits: such as the prevention of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bone and joint problems, and neurodegenerative disorders. All these benefits come from the foods and ingredients which are characteristic of this diet, especially extra virgin olive oil:
- Whole grains: these contain enough vegetable fibre to moderate the glycaemic index caused by the massive intake of sugars.
- Legumes: a perfect combination of vegetable fats, carbohydrates and proteins, as well as a source of fibre.
- Vegetables: rich in vitamins and antioxidants, folates, polyphenols, and carotenoids, etc., as well as the hydrates and fibre which take care of intestinal microbiota.
- Fresh fruit: source of vitamins, energy and vegetable fibre, with a highly hydrating qualities.
- Fish: recommended animal proteins with a very moderate amount of saturated fat, but rich in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins A, E and D.
- Poultry: a recommended source of animal protein, especially for its low content of saturated fats and its high-quality amino acids.
- Virgin olive oil: its quantities of oleic acid – a super antioxidant – and vitamins make this ingredient one of the key essences of the Mediterranean diet.
Some tricks to fight the heat and stimulate your dog’s appetite:
- Gradually change meal times to the coolest hours.
- Divide daily food intake into several doses.
- Choose some fruits – apples, pears and or watermelon with seeds or pips removed – as refreshing rewards. These provide dogs with water, vitamins and minerals, and some can even help keep teeth healthy.
- Choose the early mornings and late evenings to exercise your dog, and give them part of their food when you return.