Winter is well and truly upon us, and if you are unlucky enough to live somewhere where the temperatures are plummeting, you are probably cranking up the heating and layering up when you go outside so that you don’t feel the cold too badly. However, it isn’t just the humans in your family that you need to worry about keeping warm. Our animals can feel the cold just as much as we can, and since your furriest friend is unable to tell you that he needs to warm up, it is down to you as his owner to ensure that you do everything that you can to keep him feeling toasty.
If you have a small mammal that usually lives outside, you should try and bring them indoors when the mercury drops, or at least into a summer house or unused garage. If this isn’t possible, then position them in such a way that wind, rain and sleet cannot blow in, such as facing a wall or fence. You can help insulate their enclosure by covering it with old towels, blankets or bedcovers. Make sure that there is still adequate ventilation and that there is plenty of light during the day.
You will need to add extra bedding to the enclosure and regularly check your pet’s water bottle to ensure that it hasn’t frozen solid.
Most dogs spend a great deal of time inside and aren’t used to the cold, but even if your canine pal largely lives outdoors, he shouldn’t be left unattended out there during the winter months as hypothermia and frostbite can develop much more quickly than you might expect. This is especially true if you have a short-coated breed.
Doggy coats are more widely available than ever before and can prove to be a valuable investment for those times when you and your furry friend need to venture out in the cold. Choose a thick, waterproof variety wherever possible as this will provide added insulation and will help prevent your dog’s body from becoming too wet – something which can speed up the rate at which the cold can affect his body.
You should also consider winter booties. The ground will be just as cold as the air and this can make walking on it painful for your pet. Booties can give your dog added grip as well as keeping his feet warm.
Our bodies use more calories when it is cold, and your pet’s is no different. Cold animals need more calories to keep them warm, so be sure to feed your pet enough good quality food throughout the winter months. However, be careful not to overfeed as this could cause your pet to gain weight. Your vet will be able to recommend the best portion sizes and frequency for optimum care for your pet.
Your kitty may be used to doing her business outside, but you can’t blame her for not wanting to venture out when the weather is less than clement. By ensuring she has an accessible litter tray indoors, you can encourage her to stay where she is safe and warm.
If you don’t have one, you should also arrange for a cat flap to be installed so that your feline friend can come inside if the weather becomes unbearable and you aren’t home to let her in.
For more advice and support on the best ways to keep your pet warm this winter, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our dedicated veterinary team members by contacting our office.