Your pet may have a furry coat to keep warm, but for most breeds, this isn’t enough to ensure they stay comfortable throughout the winter.
Read on for our top tips on keeping your pets safe and warm this winter.
For optimum comfort, your pet’s bed (whether inside or outside) should be raised off the ground. This prevents the bed from coming into direct contact with cold concrete, timber or tiles. Add extra blankets or bedding into their sleeping area for warmth over winter. If your pet is elderly, particularly if they’re thin or they suffer from arthritis, then they may need extra heating to remain comfortable. Consider purchasing a snuggle pad, which is heated in a microwave and can then be placed under bedding to keep your pet warm all night.
Puppies and older dogs find it harder to control their body temperature. When it gets really cold, a canine sweater or coat can provide extra protection against cold or wet weather. Make sure your dog feels comfortable in whatever they wear and is still able to run and play freely.
Make sure you keep up a good grooming regime through the winter. Avoid shaving or trimming your dog’s hair as their long fur keeps them warm. Whenever they need bathing, this should be done inside in warm water. Your pet’s coat will need to be brushed or combed regularly in the colder, wetter months to avoid it becoming matted as fur in bad condition provides less insulation.
On a particularly cold day, don’t be afraid to take a shorter walk than usual. As long as your dog is still getting daily exercise there’s no point risking you and your dog becoming too cold. If you have space inside, then encourage your pet to enjoy some indoor play time to keep them warm and maintain fitness.
You wouldn’t leave your pet alone in a hot car and the same goes for cold weather. Once the car heating is turned off, the temperature can drop quickly so avoid leaving pets alone for long periods.
If your pet spends a lot of time outside they may need more food in the winter as they will be using up calories trying to stay warm. However, for many indoor animals, this is not necessary and overfeeding can cause them to become overweight. Talk to your vet about your pet’s individual energy needs. Make sure your cat or dog has access to unfrozen water outdoors throughout the year.
If you have an outdoor pet, then it’s important to provide them with adequate shelter. A kennel should have a sloped roof and dry bedding and offer protection against the rain. If possible, it’s better for your pet to move inside for the coldest months in order to ensure their health and happiness.