Caring for pets in cold weather
In the UK alone, there are an estimated 71 million pets. These range from fish kept in ponds to dogs and cats given free reign of our homes.
All animals need to be looked after properly all year round, but during the cold winter months they may need a little more attention than usual. Here’s how to care for your pets when the mercury drops.
Preparing for the winter
As autumn turns to winter and the weather start’s to get colder, you’ll know that it’s time to make sure all of your pets are warm and safe. Pet care is an essential part of looking after any animal and taking them to the vets for regular check-ups will ensure they are in good health.
Giving your pet the right type of food and making sure they get all the appropriate vitamins and minerals will ensure they can cope with any sudden drops in temperature.
Caring for dogs
Taking your dog for a walk is usually a pleasant time, but during the winter months cold weather can make it more dangerous than normal. You should take care when near frozen ponds or rivers and it’s a good idea to keep your dog on a lead when near these hazards.
Smaller breads of dog with short fur can sometimes benefit from wearing a coat or sweater when out walking. If your dog is getting older you should take into account any illnesses they have such as arthritis, taking them for short walks on a more frequent basis will stop them from becoming stiff.
Make sure you have plenty of food and medication in reserve too and try to avoid walking them during particularly bad weather.
Cats in the cold
Many people suffer from (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder, but not many realise that pets including cats can also suffer from the same problem. Veterinary surgeons have noticed that many cats become fatigued, depressed and lack energy during the winter so keeping them happy amused will help their mood.
Many cat owners think that fleas only thrive in spring and summer but central heating means they can be present all year round so don’t let up on your grooming routine!
Outdoor pets and the cold
If you keep rabbits, guinea pigs and other warm-blooded pets outdoors in hutches it’s important they have somewhere to burrow if they are going to survive the winter. Making sure they have plenty of bedding, food and that their water is not frozen as well as going outside to check on them is important. Placing a blanket over the hutch can also keep out the cold but remember to allow them to see some daylight.
If you keep fish in a pond in your garden it’s important to make sure that the surface is clear of ice, this will allow oxygen into the water and let you give them the feed they need.
Also make sure the pump is running properly and clean out the filters before the cold sets in.