Preparing for the winter chill

November 24 2016

The days are turning colder as we head into the winter season - what effect does this have on our pets?

The days are turning colder as we head into the winter season - what effect does this have on our pets?

For some of our skinnier breeds such as whippets and greyhounds, even a slight drop in temperature can cause shivers. Consider buying them a jumper or jacket to keep them warm over the winter months. Reflective jackets can be really useful to keep them safer and warmer as the mornings and evenings become darker. In the dark it’s also important to keep your dog on a lead near traffic and consider taking a torch with you. If the weather is particularly cold, maybe keep your cat inside to protect him.

Similar to us, cold weather can exacerbate aches and pains. If your older dog or cat seems more stiff or less active as the winter chill sets in, consider popping them in to see a vet as they may be suffering from arthritis.

Some dogs with hairy feet find icy conditions uncomfortable when ice balls can form between their pads. Try keeping the hair here clipped out in the winter.

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for fleas! Although we see less of them at this time of year once the central heating goes on quite often a flea epidemic can appear in your home.

For some of our smaller pets that are kept outdoors such as rabbits and guinea pigs, invest in a water bottle cover to try to protect against freezing and check the water supply regularly as they can freeze surprisingly quickly in cold weather! It can help to keep their hutches in a sheltered area and to cover the hutch with a warm insulating layer such as a thick blanket to hold the heat in overnight. Provide lots of bedding so they can make a warm nest too. Do not suddenly bring your pet in from the cold as the sudden change to central heating can make them very poorly. If the weather is particularly bad, place the hutch inside a shed or garage instead.

For an older pet, a heat pad and protective cover to go underneath their bed can keep them toasty indoors and help ease winter aches and pains; at the practice Lulu (pictured above) loves her jumpers and warm bed! 

If you would like more advice or to see our range of Christmas jumpers, reflective jackets and heat mats, pop in to see us at Animal Health Centre.