Dog loses weight in winter
My two Labradors are kept outside and are fed a lowerpriced complete food. Even though I increase the amount during winter — when we can be out picking-up two or three days a week — the dogs struggle to keep their body condition. Should I feed them something more expensive?
Keeping weight on working dogs can be a problem in the winter, but in most cases it is linked to diet. It is easy to be cynical and think that a 15kg bag of food at £45 is simply giving the manufacturer a bigger profit than a £10 bag, but that is not the case. The marketing manager of a leading dog food company told me the profit is based largely on ingredient costs. Of course, there has to be some profit made, but to make sure that happens he reckoned some of the cheaper foods were made from little more than £2-worth of ingredients per bag.
Ingredient sourcing is also a concern because while the formulation of a dog food may not change, the ingredient quality often does. Try to get an assurance from your dog food manufacturer that it is buying the raw materials from reliable sources.
I’d suggest buying a higher-priced feed formulated specifically for dogs in hard work and made by a reputable company. But don’t be afraid to put the manufacturer on the spot and ask where it sources its raw materials. JH How to spot it and where to find it: Widespread throughout the world, elder can be identified by its distinctive short trunk and greyish-brown, cork-like, furrowed bark. It has feather-like leaves on comparatively few branches.
The leaves and the twigs smell unpleasant. By contrast, its creamy flowers smell sweet and each forms a small, sour, purple-black berry, which ripens through autumn. Interesting facts: The name elder is thought to come from the Anglosaxon aeld, meaning fire; the tree’s hollow stems were used as bellows to blow air into the centre of a fire. Both flowers and berries of the elder are mildly toxic if consumed raw. The flowers can be used to make cordial or wine, or dipped into batter and fried to make fritters. The berries can be used to make jam or wine or baked in a pie with blackberries; they are too sour on their own.
In mythology, the elder is associated with death, witchcraft and ill fortune. The cross upon which Jesus died was made of elder wood; Judas hanged himself from a branch of an elder tree, those 30 pieces of silver scattered beneath his dangling feet. Furniture made of elder wood was regarded as cursed; the devil’s throne was made of elder. However, if you planted elder in your garden, it would keep the devil at bay.
Hard-working dogs needa high-quality food to help them maintain body condition during the winter