Winter can be a challenging time for pets and pet parents must pay special attention to the well-being of their furry companions. “The chilly air, coupled with low humidity, can have adverse effects on your pet’s skin and coat. To ensure your four-legged friend stays comfortable and healthy during winter, consider incorporating some essential foods into their daily routine,” shares Dr Jadhav Aditya Sudhir, Veterinary Product Executive, Drools Pet Food.
Dr Jadhav Aditya Sudhir lists the different types of food one should incorporate into their pets’ winter diet:
1. Omega-3 and Omega-6-Rich Foods
Just like us, pets need a balanced diet for overall health. During the winter, focus on foods rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, such as fish, meat, and poultry. “These essential fatty acids play a crucial role in maintaining your pet’s skin health. Look for pet food brands containing real chicken, and fish like salmon and mackerel as they provide sufficient amounts of these vital Omega Fatty Acids. Omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties, providing relief to pets with dry, irritated skin,” says Dr Sudhir.
2. Hydration Is Key
Winter’s dry air can lead to dehydration, impacting your pet’s skin. Dr Sudhir advises, “Adequate hydration is essential for keeping your pet’s skin supple and resistant to winter’s harsh effects. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water at all times. Check water bowls regularly to ensure they haven’t frozen.”
3. Antioxidant-Packed Foods
Protect your pet’s skin from winter’s harsh conditions by incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into their meals. “Fruits and vegetables, such as berries, spinach and pumpkin, provide essential nutrients that shield the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals. Antioxidants play a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin, making them an excellent addition to your pet’s winter diet,” shares Dr Sudhir.
4. Protein-Packed Diet For Winter Skin Resilience
Protein plays a pivotal role in maintaining your pet’s skin and coat health, especially during the harsh winter months. “Hair, composed of 95% protein, relies on amino acids like methionine and cysteine for normal growth and keratinisation. Meeting the protein demand, accounting for 25-30% of daily requirements prevents manifestations of protein malnutrition such as brittle hair and excessive scaling Ensure high-quality protein sources like meat, eggs, and milk are part of your pet’s diet to rectify any deficiencies and fortify their skin against the challenges posed by winter’s cold, ensuring a resilient defence against dryness,” says Dr Sudhir.
5. Winter-Specific Vitamins And Minerals
Tailor your pet’s diet to meet their winter-specific needs. Ensure they receive adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Copper. These nutrients play vital roles in maintaining a healthy coat, preventing dryness, and supporting overall skin health during the winter season, shares Dr Sudhir.
“A winter-ready pet care routine involves a thoughtful diet rich in omega fatty acids, adequate water, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. By prioritising your pet’s nutritional needs during the colder months, you can help them maintain a radiant coat and healthy skin, ensuring they thrive even amid winter’s challenges,” Dr Sudhir advises.