Keeping your pets warm over Winter

With Winter coming the nights close in and the thermometer starts to plunge, and it’s time to think about how we keep our animals warm. In the main, most animals are remarkably resilient- their fur coat is incredibly efficient at retaining warmth – but there are a few things we can do to help them out

Dogs

  1. If the roads have been gritted or salted make sure you wash their paws down after a walk as their pads can get very sore.
  2. For those with lots of hair between their toes it’s worth washing off with warm water to ensure ice balls don’t cause can problems.
  3. If your dog lives outside make sure they have access to a heat source- they’ll also need more calories to keep warm.
  4. Short coated thin skinned breeds such as Greyhounds can really suffer during the cold, as can smaller dogs. If the weather is particularly cold or their walk is slow then consider a well made coat. Make sure it fits well- long haired dogs can actually be colder with a coat as it compresses their insulating hair.
  5. Be careful around frozen ponds. If your dog runs out onto a frozen pond DO NOT follow them- it may bear their weight but not yours
  6. It’s darker in the mornings and evenings- consider carrying a torch and using a reflective collar and lead, or attach a light source to their collar.

Cats

  1. Make sure your cats have a warm place to sleep, and if it gets really cold then consider keeping them in.
  2. Cats can crawl into warm spaces such as engines and garages to stay warm- make sure they’re able to get back into your house to avoid this. Clear snow from cat flaps and ensure they don’t get iced up
  3. Salt on the roads can get stuck to their coat meaning they can develop salt poisoning from grooming it off. Make sure you wash off salt contaminated fur.
  4. Much less common these days is antifreeze poisoning- if you do spill antifreeze when topping up your car radiator then make sure you clean it up. It’s very attractive to cats and can cause kidney failure.

Small Animals- rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, birds

  1. If they live outside consider bringing them into a shed or garage when it gets really cold, or throw an insulating rug over their hutch.
  2. They’ll need more calories to stay warm when it gets cold. Make sure they always have plenty of food
  3. Make sure they’ve got access to water- drinkers and bowls can ice over very quickly.
  4. Predators such as foxes are more desperate during the Winter- make sure their house is secure.