With the weather getting colder and colder, now’s the time to consider how to keep your pet happy and healthy during the cold weather. We’ve created some hints and tips to help you prepare for a safe winter with your pet.
Unlike us, our lucky furry friends have a natural way of staying warm in the winter: their coats get thicker to keep in their body heat.
It’s important to keep grooming this winter coat of fur to make sure it doesn’t get tangled, matted or dirty. Brushing your pet won’t make them more vulnerable to the cold; just like in the summer, brushing will help the natural shedding process.
Matted hair on the backs of dogs and cats can be an indication that they’re having trouble grooming themselves.
Keep an eye out for this, if your pet also looks stiff and uncomfortable this could be a sign of arthritis. Just like in people, cold weather can make arthritis flare up in older pets. If they’re having difficulty moving, it might be worth a visit to your vet for diagnosis or advice.
Pet nails don’t wear down as much in muddy conditions, and particularly in dogs, mud can accumulate around the nails. Regular nail trimming is essential to keep this under control (and can also help reduce the amount of mud they track inside!).
Being smaller, rabbits are more susceptible to the cold. If you haven’t already moved them indoors, remember to bring them in on extremely cold days and nights. Just like in people, animals shivering is a tell-tale signal they need warming up immediately.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from severe cold or hypothermia, get immediate advice from your vet.
Nobody likes going out in the cold with wet hair, and that includes cats and dogs. If you’ve bathed your dog recently, or your cat has come in wet, make sure they’re completely dry before heading outside. This will reduce their susceptibility to chills and hypothermia. A warm hairdryer (not too hot) can be a good option for dogs who’ll tolerate it.
Why not complete the well-groomed look with a warm, reflective jacket? Jackets can be particularly useful for dogs in the colder, darker months. Reflective, bright panels will make sure they are clearly visible to others and will also act as an insulating layer - helping your dog stay warm.
Grit and salt are best avoided while out walking, but if it’s everywhere, a feet-wiping routine when you get home is a good idea. If paws are left uncleaned, they can become extremely uncomfortable for your pets. Gently wiping their paws with a soft damp cloth will help.