Winter is coming, and with some areas of the UK already seeing snow, it’s important that owners keep an eye on their pets during the colder months and make sure they are in good health. nutravet have shared their tips on caring for pets during the winter.
Like their owners, dogs, cats and small furries can feel the cold and may need support for their health during winter – especially senior pets, who can feel the chill more than their younger four-legged friends. As a pet owner you are best placed to notice a change in your pet or if they are not feeling themselves. Keeping an eye out for behavioural changes or any change to their normal routine is crucial.
A warm bed
Make sure your pet has comfy warm bedding away from any drafts. For older and smaller dogs make sure they have extra bedding to keep them warm and provide extra padding for their joints. Move their bed off tiled flooring and into a carpeted area.
Keep them moving
Despite the cold weather, it’s important to keep up their exercise routine. Walking your dog will help keep their joints mobile and prevent weight gain. Using a dog coat can help keep them warm as the weather gets colder, especially for older or smaller, short haired dogs.
After each winter walk, dry your dog and check their coat and paws for stones or hardened mud. Use warm water and cotton wool to gently clean between their paw pads and toes to prevent salt and ice from causing irritation. If your cat spends time outdoors, be sure to also dry them off and check their paws when they come inside.
It’s important to ensure that your pet is getting the essential nutrients during winter. Obesity is more common problem for many pets and during winter, many pets are less active. Don’t overfeed your pets – they do not need extra food in winter.
Pets are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze; however, it is poisonous to cats and dogs. If you use it for your car, be sure to clean up any spills immediately. Consider using one that is ethylene glycol free, which is the ingredient that makes it both sweet and toxic.
In cold weather your senior cat or dog might need some extra care. Cold weather can aggravate aching joints, so use a coat for winter walks and provide extra padding and comfort to relieve joints in colder conditions. To help keep your pet mobile, you could use a ramp to help get them into the car and prevent pets from jumping up. Move your cat’s food bowl to floor level rather than feeding them on high surfaces so that they don’t have to jump up to get it.
Bring pets indoors
If it’s too cold for you, it’s also too cold for your pet. Bring outdoor pets indoors during colder months. If left outside your dog could become disoriented and ill. Also, don’t leave your pet alone in cars during winter, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold the cold in and leaving your dog for too long could cause health problems. Outdoor cats can be attracted to the warmth of a car engine, so it’s also important before starting your car to bang on the bonnet or beep your horn before driving off.
Korina Stephens from natural animal health company, nutravet comments, “During the winter months, pets can usually become less active and may need extra support for their health. It goes without saying that many owners treat their pets like family and during the winter season, we want to ensure that they can enjoy the fun along with you.
“Colder weather can mean joint stiffness in pets is more prominent, your dog may appear slower on walks or seem stiff when getting up from their sleep. Looking after your pet’s joints in colder weather will help to maintain their overall health and quality of life with you. Some pet owners often overfeed their dogs during winter, however as they are less active extra food or treats are not needed and can lead to unwanted weight gain. This can also add pressure to your pet’s joints.”
For more information and tips visit www.nutravet.co.uk