Changing of the seasons – how might this affect our dogs?

Written by Zoe Russell, BSc (Hons), ANutr, Nutrition Officer at Skinner’s

Collie in grass

There are many factors in our dog’s lives that we can control; their daily exercise, the amount of treats they get, the type of food we feed and so much more. However, there is one factor which can have a big influence on our dog’s day-to-day life, which we can’t control – and that’s the seasons!

Water intake

Water is an important nutrient and makes up around 70% of the body, however, it is often the first limiting nutrient. It has many roles within the body including nutrient transport, temperature regulation, waste removal and digestion. Water comes from three main sources: drinking, food and from metabolic processes. During the warmer summer months, dogs will lose water as they pant to cool down, as unlike us they don’t sweat through their skin. As they pant, it exchanges warm air from the body with cooler external air, which causes water to evaporate. This helps to regulate their body temperature and cool them down, which means during the summer months, you will likely find your dog drinking more to accommodate for any water lost.

Coat and skin

Moulting is a good opportunity for dogs to shed old hair and encourage new re-growth, particularly during times of the year where there is a significant change in temperature. During this time, it’s not uncommon to see drier, flakier skin, or a duller coat, as the hair starts to shed. Furthermore, for many of our indoor pets, their bodies experience extreme changes in temperature. For example, during the winter months, our dogs typically experience cold, wet walks, before coming into a hot-centrally heated home. This drastic change in temperature can cause the skin to be drier and flakier – just like our own. Therefore, although a good quality, balanced diet can help support their coat and skin, there are environmental factors which can play an antagonistic role!

Stool quality

Dogs are prime candidates for gulping down things they shouldn’t – however distasteful! At certain times of the year, this is even more of an issue. For example, in the UK there is a plethora of plants and crops which flourish at various times of the year. Of these plants, some are far too tempting for our four-legged companions to simply walk past and ignore… Autumnal blackberries, fresh spring grass and seasonal windfall apples are some of the more tasteful options to dogs! Then at the other end of the ‘taste’ spectrum we have dirty winter puddles, seasonal animal faeces, or discarded food that’s perished in the warmer weather. Therefore, if your dog ever experiences a change in stool quality, it’s often important to consider other ‘food’ your dog may have unknowingly picked up!

If you think your dog has eaten something that you are concerned or unsure about, please contact your vet as soon as possible.

Daily feed intake

Just like humans, a dog’s appetite will naturally fluctuate due to a number of reasons, one of which can be temperature related. In the summer months, the warmer weather not only means your dog may drink more, but they may eat less. This is not necessarily an issue, as they should be exercising less and spending more time resting, to avoid overheating. At this time of year, it’s often best to offer their meals at the coolest parts of the day, in the early morning or late evening and always make sure they have plenty of fresh water to drink.

Overall there are many ways the changing of the seasons can effect our dogs. It’s therefore important to consider these factors and ensure we adapt our care and management, where appropriate, to ensure our dogs remain happy and healthy all year round.

Contact us

If you need any information about our diets, then please contact our nutrition team at or call us on 01379 384247 and we would be happy to help.

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Where to buy

Our products are available to buy online but we would love you to support one of our loyal stockists up and down the country!

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You can find the Field & Trial range in pet shops, country stores, agricultural merchants, garden centers and also in some veterinary practices- use our stockist locator to find your nearest Field & Trial stockist!

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