Winter can be an exciting and fun time to be outdoors, including for certain pets, but taking the right care of your pet to protect them from the cold conditions – both when they’re indoors and outdoors – is really important.
Here are some top tips to make sure your furry companions stay safe during the cold season!
#1 Make sure your pet is warm – especially for dogs, and short-haired varieties in particular, it’s a good idea to invest in a jacket to keep their torsos warm.
#2 Groom your pet regularly throughout winter to remove any dead hair and dirt build-up as this will help their coats stay nice and fluffy and give them natural insulation against the cold.
#3 If you’ve been out for a walk with your pet make sure to clean their paws when they come back indoors, taking care to remove any rock salt as this can become an irritant on their sensitive paws.
#4 Make sure your pet is well-nourished as the extra cold conditions can mean they’re using more energy to stay warm and may need some extra food.
#5 Check for any skin irritation caused by exposure to the cold – reddish skin, scratching, rashes or flaky skin could indicate over-exposure and even frostbite.
#6 Be mindful of leaving your pet in the car if you pop to the shops or similar – cars that are not running lose internal heat very quickly and can plummet in temperature, potentially exposing your pet to freezing conditions very quickly.
#7 Be extra careful with older pets as the cold can exacerbate stiff joint pain, and a slip on a pathway can cause serious injury.
#8 Be mindful of where you walk your dogs, as frozen lakes or ponds may deceive them into thinking they can walk out over the ice, but it may not be thick enough to carry their weight and falling in can be fatal for various reasons.
#1 Be mindful of items that heat the house, whether you’re using radiators, fireplaces or electric heaters – these can be burn hazards to all types of pets, from dogs and cats to hamsters, rabbits, gerbils and more.
#2 Over the festive season you may decorate your home with plants such as mistletoe or holly, but these are poisonous to many pets, so you’ll need to keep them well out of reach
#3 Make sure your pet has the right amount of fresh water available as a warm home can cause dehydration. If their water bowls are outside, you’ll need to make sure they don’t ice up and prevent the pet from drinking. Ice cold water is also hazardous for many dogs to drink – ideally, water should be at room temperature.