Pet Care Tips for Cold Weather
When cold weather sets in, it is important to take extra care of your pets by helping them stay warm and safe throughout the winter months.
Pets’ cold tolerance varies based on their coat, body fat, activity level and health. Pets with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or hormonal imbalance will have a harder time regulating body temperature. The same goes for puppies, kittens or senior pets.
Pets with arthritis will become stiff and tender quickly in winter, and might find it difficult to move around. You can place soft beddings around the house to ensure your pets are comfortable wherever they are, and take special care to handle them gently.
If you suspect that your pet is suffering from arthritis, visit your veterinarian for a check-up.
You may feel like a little extra weight gives your pet some extra protection from the cold, but the associated health risks (including increased risk of diabetes, arthritis and heart conditions) far outweigh any potential short-term benefits.
Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout winter by feeding them a healthy diet and giving them regular exercise, and keep them warm by keeping them inside.
To help keep your pet warm, you can elevate their bed up off the floor by placing them on cushions or folded blankets. This is particularly important on concrete or wooden surfaces.
You can help maintain your pet’s mobility and avoid joint stiffness by engaging in regular exercise with them. A 20-minute walk on flat, even ground can work wonders for both you and your pet and gets the blood pumping to help protect against the cold.
If your pets are noticeably struggling to lie down or get up from bed, it may be a sign of arthritis or another age-related disease, many of which can worsen in winter. Consult your vet for advice, or organise a check-up during the chilly winter months.
With your pets spending more time indoors during winter, it is important to make sure your home is properly pet-proofed. This can be achieved by using space heaters with caution around pets, because they can knock them over, causing injury and danger to themselves, or potentially damaging property.
Outdoor cats will seek warmth wherever they can, including on engines, under hoods of cars or in wheel wells. It’s important to always check your car and make some noise (by banging on the hood and honking the horn) before starting the engine. This will ensure that any cat in hiding can get out and avoid serious injury.
Staying vigilant throughout the winter months can really help keep pets safe and well. However there are always times when the unexpected occurs; it’s a good idea to insure your pet. Talk to your vet for more advice on pet insurance.