Caring for your pet in cold weather

You might notice your pets getting extra cuddly as the cool weather sets in.
You might notice your pets getting extra cuddly as the cool weather sets in.

It's definitely getting chilly around here, and unless you're lucky enough to live in a tropical area, winter brings frosty mornings and cold nights. You might notice your pets getting extra cuddly as the cool weather sets in too.

Here are some key ways you can make sure to care of your pet in winter.

Provide enough warmth and shelter

If your dog is outside during the day, it's important that they have access to somewhere clean, dry and undercover to rest in, with a warm blanket or dog bed inside for their comfort. A kennel that is raised off the ground to avoid dampness is ideal.

If your dog sleeps outside, it's important to make sure they have somewhere warm and dry to sleep over night, that is sheltered enough from the wind.

Cats should ideally be kept happy and safe indoors, with access to warm places to rest and hide. If your cat roams, they should ideally be able to choose to come inside during the day through a cat door or similar, especially if there is wet or wild weather. If they can't come indoors without your help, make sure they have somewhere warm, dry and secure to access outdoors.

Rabbits and guinea pigs can live happily inside your home, with secure outdoor access, and can even be litter-trained.

Rabbits and guinea pigs can live happily inside your home, with secure outdoor access, and can even be litter-trained.

Small mammals like rabbits or guinea pigs should also be protected from the cold. Rabbits and guinea pigs can live happily inside your home, with secure outdoor access, and can even be litter-trained. When outdoors or enclosed, their enclosure should have a covered, warm and dry sheltered area, with plenty of clean, dry bedding for them to burrow in. This bedding should be replaced as it becomes soiled.

Remember to always bring your pets indoors if there is a storm or other major weather event, especially if you expect thunder or lightning.

Don't let the weather keep you inside

Even though it might not be as enticing to go for walks on cold winter days, your dog will still need their exercise. It's important to make sure you maintain their walking routine - it'll help keep you both warm too!

Rabbits and Guinea pigs will still need time to graze and roam outside of their enclosures as well. Pick times of the day for this when the sun is out, and your grass is preferably dry. They should still always have access to some form of shelter.

If needed, pull out the winter wardrobe

Some dogs will get cold more easily than others. For example, dogs with very low levels of body fat and short, fine coats (such as greyhounds) will likely need some extra help to stay warm. A dog coat that has been designed for canines, in the correct size and that doesn't require pulling anything tight over your dog's head will be ideal to keep them warm when outdoors.

Remember when it comes to cats, it's more important to provide them with access to somewhere warm and cosy to curl up - most cats won't tolerate having a coat put onto them, and this should be avoided.

Older animals tend to find the cold weather over winter a bit of a challenge, especially those with arthritis. Remember to take extra care to ensure that your pet is kept warm and dry, especially when it is cold. Speak to your vet if you pet seems uncomfortable in colder weather.

With these things in mind, you can keep your pets safe and warm, and enjoy cuddling up with them this winter.

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