How To Care For Your Pets During The Cold Winter
Winter has well and truly hit Adelaide! As the days get colder and shorter it can be difficult to find the time (and energy) to spend with our pets – especially outside. You may also notice changes in your pet’s behaviour – eating more and being less active for example. While this is normal behaviour, it is important to be aware of your pet’s winter habits and manage their health accordingly.
We’ve put together some useful tips to help you and your furred and feathered friends keep those winter blues at bay.
It’s cold outside
If your pet spends most of their time outside, it is very important that they have the correct bedding and housing to keep them safe and warm. Enclosed kennels or shelters, filled with warm, soft bedding and blankets are ideal. For smaller animals such as rabbits, a hutch with enclosed areas filled with warm bedding such as straw – which is a better insulator than hay – will enable them to stay warm and comfortable. Provide birds with a nesting box or ‘bird bed’ filled with shredded newspaper.
During the colder months, your pet’s appetite may increase. Outside pets are particularly susceptible to this, as they are using more energy to keep their body warm. It is important to maintain a healthy diet during this time. Keep a careful watch on your pet’s eating habits – aim to keep them comfortable, while not overfeeding them.
Keep a close eye on older animals
Cold days are particularly hard on senior and small/slim animals. Keep them cosy by placing a hot water bottle or wheat bag in their bed, and/or bring them inside at night. HOWEVER – if you have a mischievous dog that likes to chew, other options such as heating discs or mats may be better suited. Dog coats and onesies are also available at many pet shops and are great for helping retain body heat.
The winter months are also hard for animals with arthritis or joint problems. You may notice your pet struggling to get out of bed or moving more slowly. If you have concerns about your pet’s health, contact your vet immediately.
Just like in humans, nothing gets the blood flowing like some exercise! When the weather is mild, make sure you and your pets get as much exercise as possible. This will help maintain a healthy weight and keep your pet entertained!