RDBK’s Seven Tips for Helping Your Pet Thrive During Seasonal Changes
Were you aware that your pet goes through seasonal changes just like we do? And winter is coming! We also have the added complication of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, which we’re sure will affect you and your pet even more during the season. With less daylight and increased social restrictions, our pets (and us) may have reduced time outdoors, which could increase stress. Seasonal changes can affect your pet’s metabolism, their immune system, and their mental well-being.
our top seven tips for helping your pet beat those winter blues:
1. Extra Omega 3 and MCT Fats
Twice a year, dogs and cats shed out their coats in order to adjust their body temperatures with the season. It takes extra energy to do this and the body goes through metabolic changes to signal the beginning of the coat shedding process. To support your pet during and after this process and to ensure they grow a beautiful new coat, you can add extra Omega 3 fats and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Our favourite Omega 3 options? Fresh herring, canned sardines packed in water (not oil), krill oil, and phytoplankton. Avoid fish oils – they are unstable and often rancid when you purchase them which can have negative health consequences. Fish oil is also not an eco-friendly option so steer clear if you can.
MCTs or medium chain triglycerides are special fats that are challenging to get into a diet unless you supplement. Our favourite options are therapeutic grade coconut oil and black soldier fly larvae (yes we said bugs) which can be found in our Eco meals.
Medicinal mushrooms are packed with unique nutrients that protect your pet’s immunity and many herbalists recommend seasonal consumption of these special fungi. Mushrooms naturally bloom at this time of year and it is a great time to add them to your pet’s diet. Mushrooms are scientifically proven to enhance immune function and give your pet major health advantages during the winter months. Reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, cordyceps and turkey tail from reliable sources are all great choices to add to your pet’s feeding regime.
3. Antioxidants – The Super Foods
Rotational use of foods containing high antioxidant levels is another great option for winter. Antioxidants help your pet deal with stress and inflammation along with providing more optimal conditions for your pet’s cells to work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Some super-high-antioxidant foods include: phytoplankton, rosehip powder, blueberries, blackberries, leafy greens, OLIE Naturals Solid Ground powder, organ meats, nuts and seeds (flax, pumpkin, chia).
This time of year, you can get fresh pumpkin from the store. Pumpkins are high in good fibre and work as a digestive tonic for upset tummies. Many animals prefer it cooked and it’s a lovely comfort food for them when served warm after a chilly walk outside. You can bake an entire pumpkin and portion it out for freezing as well. Of course, organic is preferred when possible!
5. Interactive Games and Puzzles
We must remember to stimulate our pets mentally, especially when they are spending more time indoors. There are tons of games and puzzles available online now for dogs. You can also teach your pet a new trick (yes, even cats can learn tricks!) or playing scent games with them—such as hiding an object or a treat for them to find. There are a million great videos on YouTube under the search: “indoor enrichment exercises for dogs.”
6. Recreational Bones
Recreational bones are the ones we give our pets to chew on that are not consumable. These include knuckles, femurs, shanks, and hocks. Chewing is an important activity that stimulates your pet in a primal way, contributing to oral hygiene and the release of beneficial endorphins in the brain.
Not sure which bones are right for your pet? Check out our bone blogs to learn.
7. Make Bone Broth!
Bone broth is the ultimate comfort food for dogs and cats. It is also packed with beneficial nutrients like collagen and L-glutamine that promote gut and joint health. If you give your pet a recreational bone to chew on, you can recycle it by making broth once your pet has finished with it. More bang for your buck and your pet will love both activities.
Here’s our favourite bone broth recipe.
We hope this helps you promote increased health and some fun with your pets over the winter season. We are living in an unprecedented time and supporting our loved ones (including our pets) is extra important as we move through the season.
From all of us at RDBK, stay safe and have fun!