With winter now well and truly upon us, our thoughts turn to keeping warm. But we also have to remember our furry friends – despite their natural coats cats and dogs also need some consideration this winter. Here are some tips on keeping them warm:
- In winter it’s worth making a fashion statement. Pet jackets and coats are a great idea to add a little bit of warmth, especially at night. Take your pet with you to the shop to ensure a proper fit. Just be sure that if it’s raining you take off their coats during the day – some dogs can’t help but get damp when it’s wet outside and a soggy jacket is worse than no jacket at all.
- In summer your outside dogs might be happy sleeping on whatever patch of grass they choose to settle on for the night, but in winter it’s nice to provide them with cosy bedding. It’s worth investing in a trampoline bed that keeps them off the chilly ground if they don’t already have one. Pop some extra blankets and bedding in their kennel or on their beds – you can pick up decent blankets cheaply from the op shop.
- Consider any existing health problems your pet has that might be exacerbated by the cold. Elderly pets especially might feel aches and pains in winter. Consider investing in heat pillows or pet electric blankets for old or unwell animals.
- Even if you have been a bit slack at the gym, remember, exercise for dogs is so important in winter. Not only does it keep them warm, but it prevents any winter kilos from creeping up on them.
- That said it is worth feeding your pet a little extra during winter, as keeping warm does require more energy. An extra chicken neck or chunk of meat for his evening meal will ensure he goes to bed with a comfortably full belly. Just keep a close eye on his weight though, as it is easy to overfeed some pets.
- Don’t forget hydration is still important in winter, especially if your pet spends lots of time inside by the heater. Be as vigilant about topping up their water bowl with fresh water as you would be in summer. If you live in a frost-prone area also regularly check water bowls to ensure they haven’t iced over.
- It’s also important to ensure regular grooming is maintained during winter. While a longer coat might seem like a good thing for your dog or cat, in some pets this can cause matting and skin problems. It’s much better to keep them clipped to a manageable length.
- If your pet is a bit older, has had health issues in the past or seems a little slow in the cooler weather, it is worth heading to the vet to ensure that the chilly temperatures haven’t caused any problems.