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Winter Health Advice

Pets can feel the cold just the same as humans do, and freezing temperatures can create problems if you’re not prepared for winter.

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Winter Watch Outs

Here are some ‘winter watch outs’ and handy tips to help make sure your pet is happy and healthy during the chilly winter months.

For more information please book an appointment today at your local practice or speak to a member of the team.

Dogs

Bright Is Best

Keep your dog visible by getting reflective collars and coats.  You can also attach lights to their collar, and even get light up leads! Taking a torch and wearing reflective clothing yourself helps keep you both safe

Exercise - Whatever The Weather

Sometimes outside just isn’t an option, especially if your dog isn’t keen on damp, cold weather. In these cases, it’s really important your dog still gets their exercise, so make sure to plan plenty to occupy them inside. Perhaps a new toy might help get you both moving?

Between The Toes

Grit and salt on your dog's paws can make them sore, so it is important to wash it off. Check between their toes as little pieces can get lodged. Snow can also get stuck between toes, and can be painful.

Slippery Underfoot

Don’t walk your dog on ice as just like us they can slip and injure themselves.  Ice over water is especially dangerous – if dogs run onto frozen lakes or canals they could fall into icy water if the ice is too thin. 

Wrap Up Warm 

It’s not just you that needs your winter coat on! If it’s a cold day make sure your dog is wearing a warm jacket, especially if they have a thin hair coat naturally.  

Winter Weight 

Pets are prone to weight gain over winter as exercise levels decrease. Keep an eye on their weight, and adjust how much you are feeding them if you see them start to pile on the pounds!

Water, Water, Everywhere

Make sure your dog always has a fresh water supply, and don’t allow it to freeze.

Stiff Starts

If your dog seems to be getting stiffer in the cold mornings, they may have arthritis. Take a trip down to your local Companion Care to have them checked out. 

Cats

Check The Car 

Cats will curl up next to anything hot to keep warm, which can include under the bonnet of a car, so check where they are before you start the engine. 

Ice, Ice, Baby

Make sure your cat’s water supply is never frozen and remember to check the water every day.

Antifreeze

Surprisingly, antifreeze smells and tastes good to cats so if they find it they will drink it. However, it is highly poisonous so make sure it is stored well out of reach and any spillages are cleaned up straight away. 

Arthritic Joints 

Older cats often struggle with arthritis. If your cat seems to be getting over winter they may have sore joints. Take a trip down to your local Companion Care to have them checked out.

Warm And Dry

If you can, dry your cat off if they come in wet. A warm, cosy spot to sleep off some outdoor excursions will always be well received!

Clean Paws

Snow can compress into ice between your cat’s toes, especially if they have long fur. This can be painful, so keep an eye on your cat’s paws.

Diet Tips

Your cat may reduce their activity over winter, and who can blame them? This may mean they start to gain weight though, so reduce their food amounts if your cat starts to gain winter weight. 

Rabbits

Cosy Nights

Provide extra bedding for rabbits and other outdoor pets to help them keep warm overnight – it’s freezing out there! If you can, consider moving them indoors in the coldest months. Bedding should always be fresh and dry as it will freeze overnight even if it’s slightly damp. 

It's Warmer Off The Ground 

If you are keeping your pet outside, beds or hutches should be raised off the ground to prevent the base becoming too cold, damp or rotten. Insulating hutches will also help keep them warm.

Hot, But Not Too Hot

If you move your pet indoors be careful where you put their cage. Don't put them too close to a heater or radiator as they can very easily suffer from heat stress. 

The Greenhouse Effect

Don't house pets in greenhouses or conservatories due to the temperature changes. Even on cold days, the sun can heat glass rooms to killer temperatures.

Fumes

If you are moving your pet into a garage over winter take care if they are regularly used by a car. There can be toxic fumes. It’s also important that pets have plenty space and natural light, so only use the garage if it’s appropriate.

Water Bottles 

Water bottles easily freeze so make sure to check your pet’s water supply very regularly. Wrapping them in bubble wrap can help, or even wine bottle insulators!

Room To Hop

Although it’s tempting to bunker down in the cold, your pets still need their exercise. Leaving rabbits in a hutch or cage is very poor for their welfare, so find a way to give them access to space to hop around.