It isn’t just we two legged creatures that feel the bite of cold during winter; our four legged furry friends, particularly the young and old ones, also need a bit of extra help to keep warm and comfortable during the dark and chilly months. Elderly pets suffering from joint pain from arthritis will be particularly susceptible and may need special treatment at this time, but all pets need extra care in winter. Kingsway’s pet team urges owners to follow these simple guidelines to ensure the comfort of our animals:
Depending on whether your dog generally lives indoors or outdoors will determine how long its coat grows in adapting to the environment. A pet used to the glory of central heating will have a much thinner coat than a working farm dog living out in its kennel, because it needs to shed its coat to stop itself overheating. Being aware of the contrast for the indoor dog is important – we wrap up warm before venturing out, but does your pet?
- Clipping- certain breeds are likely to be clipped regularly, however this means they lose their natural waterproofing so when they do get wet on rainy days, their coat will stay wet longer than it should. A waterproof coat is a good option, although your dog may not be too keen on the idea initially.
- Working dogs – make sure your faithful servant has somewhere to shelter with a warm, draught free bed
- Swimming – don’t let your dog swim in very cold rivers or walk on icy canals or lakes. This may mean exercising more restraint if your dog has been used to swimming in the summer or likes to chase ducks!
- Litter tray – it’s perfectly natural for your normally well house trained cate to get a bit lazy during the winter, especially if it is cold and wet outside, so providing a cat litter option is a good idea and a better alternative than holding themselves which can cause cystitis.
- Monitor diet – by the same token, if the cat becomes less active then it may require a reduction in the amount of food you provide to stop him or her becoming overweight
RABBITS & GUINEA PIGS
- Hutch position – move your pets’ hutch from outdoors to a shed or garage away from the elements, keeping it dry and draught-free.
- Bedding – in the same way that we might switch to a warmer tog rating on our quilt, remember to give your furry friend some extra bedding in the winter months. Straw makes good, warm bedding material.
- Water – make sure your pets water bottle is insulated to stop it from freezing and check it regularly when the outside temperature is below freezing.
- Exercise – while outside exercise may not be an option during the winter months, give your pet the chance to run around in an indoor area to stop joints from stiffening
- Food – keeping warm will mean your pet burns more energy and will need to eat more. Provide hay as a staple with fresh greens and pellet food for variety and extra vitamins.