Does your pet spend most of its time out doors? If this is the case you will need to ensure your pet has a shelter that will keep them dry and warm. Ideally something like a kennel with one entrance that has been placed in an area you know does not get bombarded by winter winds and rain. Ensure your pet has a fresh bowel of water near by the shelter so that they don’t have too far to walk in the cold rain to quench their thirst.
In the colder weather your pets’ dietary need may change slightly. Pets kept outdoors burn more energy to keep warm therefore you may need to feed them slightly more. Whereas pets kept in door save their energy by sleeping most of the time in a nice warm environment, therefore they might need a slightly less portion or kept on their original diet. Have a chat to your vet if you are unsure.
When grooming your pets during the colder months, don’t have their hair cut to the skin, leave them with a nice warm coat to help keep them warm. Even if your pet gets to sport the latest fashion in doggy/ Cat jerseys, a trimmed coat will help hold in there body heat.
Bathing your pets during these chilly days may also become a mission for you, but don’t feel too bad, less baths in winter time is actually better for your pets coat and skin. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin in our dry winter climate. Do not leave your pet outside in the cold with a wet coat, It is much more difficult for your dog to maintain a warm body temperature when wet. Towel drying your pet will also help speed up the drying process.
Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust your exercise regime accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking during the cold months due to painful joints, Chat to the TAH rehab team about their warm underwater treadmill package. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather.
Has your pet had his/her annual wellness exam yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.
Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, which may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood or honk the horn to scare any furry hitchhikers away before starting your engine.
If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.