Is It Normal for a Dog to Lose Appetite in Summer?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Armata Inspiron/Shutterstock

As the temperatures rise and the hot summer months roll in, some dog owners observe a change in their pet’s eating habits. If you notice that your pet is eating less than usual when it gets really hot outside, it’s only natural if you’re concerned about their health. However, understanding the real reasons behind this “seasonal change” can help you worry less and care for your pet as best you can. 

Is It Normal for a Dog to Lose Appetite in Summer?

The reason why some dogs can lose appetite in the summer is simple: heat. Just like us humans, dogs too can feel lethargic, lazy, and less energetic when the heat is stifling. And, naturally, as their energy levels are decreased, they have a reduced need for caloric intake to replenish it. This is one of their “old” inherent traits from the wild: animals will adjust their food intake based on their energy requirements and the available resources. So, as your pooch doesn’t spend energy, preferring to snooze, they will not need to consume so much food to replenish it.

Still, heat can cause some physiological changes that could affect your pet’s appetite. Hot summer months bring high temperatures that will slow the digestive process of dogs, making them feel full for longer. What is more, during this time dogs will drink a lot more water (as we humans do), which can also make them feel full and not hungry. Remember that hydration is important in the summer, as it helps regulate body temperature. Always make sure that your pet has access to fresh water, even when you are not home. This “self-replenishing” dog water dispenser is a great thing to have, as it will make sure that your pet always has access to clean, fresh water even when you’re away at work.

Summer months can also bring a change in your pet’s daily routine, which in turn affects the eating habits they have. Owners and families will often take vacations or spend more time outside, all of which will change a dog’s schedule. Some of these changes can be stressful to dogs, thus reducing their appetite. Remember that your doggo is a “creature of habit”, and changing their daily routine can have a big impact on them. 

Still, there are some ways in which you can encourage your dog to eat. Don’t overfeed them, however, and always seek the advice of your vet. To help your pet maintain a healthy diet during the hot months, you could consider feeding them smaller but more frequent meals. Instead of two large portions, try giving them small portions throughout the day. This can be a much better alternative for summer and help increase the amount of food they eat throughout the day.

What is more, you should choose the right part of the day for feeding. The morning and the evening are the coolest periods, and as such ideal for meal time. In case you are offering food multiple times a day, you can try using a specially designed cooling fan for dogs and other pets to keep your pooch as cool as a cucumber and comfortable when they eat, no matter what time it is. 

However, if your dog's reduced appetite seems alarming and persists for more than a few days, it is best to consult your vet. A good and thorough checkup is always advised and can put your mind at ease. 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

More by Angela Vuckovic