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Protecting your Pets in Winter

30th June 2016

It’s that time of year when the town is crispy fresh with the morning frost and many of its folk have a daily battle with the snooze button on the alarm! Have you noticed that your pet’s behaviour may also change in winter? We notice quite a few changes in the clinic as the animals adapt to this colder season. Here is some information to help keep them warm, happy and healthy!

If your pet spends the majority of their time outdoors, then winter-proof housing is a must. There is a fabulous range of kennels for dogs and enclosures for cats that offer rain, frost and wind protection. Make sure the housing is situated away from the seasonal elements and in a position where they feel secure and cosy and fill it with warm dry blankets. Whether inside or outside, it is important that your pet’s bedding is raised off the floor and away from cold draughts including the doorway of kennels. Particularly cold winter days can be uncomfortable for slim, younger and older animals. You can try placing a hot water bottle with warm water into your pet’s bedding. As a caution for pets who love to chew, only use warm water and if you have any doubts, consider options such as heating disks and pads. We use all of these options in the clinic to help keep our patients comfortable.

You can also indulge your pet by making or buying warm clothing for them to wear. Cats may not always like wearing a jacket (some do!) but short haired and smaller dogs that lose body heat rapidly can benefit hugely from a jacket in winter. This is Mr Whippy, a much loved member of the family of one of our clients, sporting a classic piece from his winter collection!

You may possibly notice that your pet’s appetite will increase during winter. This is especially true for outside pets that will use more energy to keep warm. If your pet is especially energetic or active they may benefit from a small increase in their daily portion of food but keep a close eye on their weight, ensuring they are nourished but not overfed. As always, check that your pet has an adequate supply of clean, fresh water.

It can be hard to do but it is vital for us all to keep moving during the colder months. Get your pet warmed up and active by encouraging them to walk or play with you. There’s nothing like a brisk walk in the park or a game of chasing toys to get the blood pumping. Not only will your furry buddy love you for it, you will be feeling fantastic in no time too.

If your pet is struggling to get out of bed, then it could be a sign of arthritis or an age-related disease. Often these problems are provoked by cold weather and check-ups are recommended, particularly if your pet is showing signs of aging. If you are unsure about your pet in winter, notice shivering or stiffness, we can help provide advice to ensure your pet remains warm, happy and healthy.

Credits: yourvet 2016 and Mr Whippy