7 hot tips for a cold winter

Cold weather can be a great excuse for snuggling up under the doona, but if you’re feeling the winter chill it’s likely your pet is feeling the same. Check out our seven hot tips for a cold winter and make sure your pet is happy and comfortable when the temperature plummets.

1. Create a warm space to snuggle up

The safest way to manage the risks of cold weather is to keep pets indoors where possible. Cats and dogs living outdoors or who spend time outside during the day must have a kennel or enclosure that is warm, waterproof and windproof, and preferably elevated from the ground. Providing warm bedding such as blankets will also help keep them snug.

Indoor animals will also require a warm area to sleep, so set them up with a bed and provide extra blankets to give your pet the option to snuggle in for some extra warmth if they’re feeling chilly this winter.

2. Be aware of inside hazards

When keeping your pets indoors, make sure you are mindful of potential hazards such as heaters or electrical cords, and use safety screens or grills where appropriate. Pets left inside alone can accidentally knock over appliances that become a fire hazard, so ensure everything is switched off before heading out.

3. Food, glorious food

Animals need more energy to keep their core body temperature regulated when it’s cold, so don’t be surprised if your pet’s appetite increases. This is especially important if your pet spends a significant amount of time outside or is exposed to colder temperatures. If you’re unsure, chat to your vet about how much your pet should be eating to keep them at a healthy weight this winter.

4. Keep up the hydration

No matter the temperature, animals need constant access to fresh, clean water. Make sure that water troughs or outside water bowls haven’t frozen over during the night and provide more than one water source if possible. If you live in an area prone to super cold mornings, replacing your pet’s metal bowl with a plastic one can reduce the risk of their tongue getting stuck to the frozen metal surface.

5. Don’t be a couch potato

We know in winter it can be tempting to skip the walk and stay inside where it’s warm. Still, even when it’s cold and rainy outside, exercising your animal remains essential. Pets will also benefit from mental stimulation inside, so get them involved in boredom-busting activities like trick training, food-dispensing toys or a good game of fetch.

6. Add another layer of warmth

Although many cat and dog breeds have luxurious thick fur to keep them warm, when they are outside or on walks in the cold, they will still likely benefit from an additional winter coat. This is especially important if you have an older animal or short haired breed. A good pet-coat or jumper will give coverage from the neck to the base of the tail while also giving protection to their belly.  It’s also important to ensure the coat is the right fit and isn’t restricting movement. Check out some great winter options for your pets!

7. Keep an eye on senior pets

Cold weather can aggravate stiff joints and intensify the symptoms of arthritis. If you know your pet has arthritis, keeping them warm can help ease the discomfort. If your pet is showing signs of pain associated with arthritis, take them to the vet for a check-up to see if they need some extra care.

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