Winter is in the air, the heating is on and your jumpers are out of storage, but while you’ve taken all the necessary steps to keep yourself warm in coldest of months have you thought about your pets?
We posted about this issue last year, but it’s so important to be reminded that many pets don’t do well in the cold. Some dogs and cats, as well as other animals, can suffer from ailments such as arthritis, and older animals can really feel the cold, so it’s important that you make sure they are kept warm in the winter months.
The most obvious thing is to put your heating on, but you don’t have to keep it on all day. Put your central heating on timer and have it come on and off at different times throughout the day. This should be enough to keep your home warm and your pets cosy.
Keep them inside during the coldest periods. The temperature and wind chill combined can make it feel a lot colder than it really is.
Don’t leave your pets alone in cold or damp areas such as basements or garages for prolonged periods of time.
If it is very cold when you take your dog for a walk you can put them in waterproof jackets and even booties. It may seem extreme, but a dog regulates their temperature through the soles of their feet (and their tongue), if it is snowy or icy boots will help keep them warm (and protect their paws from ice). Smaller dogs can really feel the cold, so make sure they are protected. You can get lots of different kinds of covers, jackets and even jumpers for your little doggy – they can be fashionable and warm!
For pets that like to spend a lot of time outside, you can invest in outdoor housing. Cat and dog houses are a great way to protect your pets from the wind and rain and also keep them warm. When purchasing a dog or cat house make sure that the roof is sloped and the house is insulated.
Pet beds should be raised from the ground to avoid contact with a cold floor and drafts. You can elevate your pets bed by placing them on platforms, deep carpets and rugs. You can also buy deep pet beds to avoid contact with the floor. Keep your pets bed warm by placing a hot water bottle underneath and lining it with a blanket or old jumper. You can also place their beds next to the radiator for extra warmth.
Some cats and small dogs like to sit in front of a window and watch the world go by. Windows can be very cold and a sleeping warm pet will not realise just how cold it is! If your pet does this try to make the area warmer by putting a blanket down for them to snuggle in to.
For small dogs and cats, why not buy a radiator bed? They are inexpensive, hang neatly off your radiator and a perfect way to keep your pets warm.
Use draft excluders to block out any drafts coming through your doors.
Make sure you keep an eye on your pets this winter. If they are happy, sleeping and eating well then they are probably OK, but if you see any change in them, especially with their eating or toilet habits, then speak to a vet.
Photo: Menno Groenmen