Keeping Your Pets Healthy In Winter 

As January is drawing to a close, the temperatures have been dropping and there has even been some sightings of snow (not in sunny Weston-super-Mare though)!

So, how should you keep your pet nice and healthy when it is so cold outside?

Firstly, to all our dog owners, don’t keep your dog outside for too long as they won’t be used to extreme cold; you could, if you pet has a short coat, such as greyhounds, put a coat on them to keep them warm when outside or going for a walk. On the other hand, if your dog is quite fluffy, like a rough collie, then give us a call and we can book a nurse appointment with you to trim the fur around their paws so that they don’t get all icy and too cold. 

Although Christmas is well and truly over; keep the treats out of reach! If you have any Christmas chocolate lying around, keep it locked up so that your dog isn’t tempted. When it comes to licking the plate clean, remember that dogs, although they love your scraps, that they can digest food differently to us humans and may unintentionally put on some ‘winter weight’. You may also find that your dog doesn’t get as much exercise when it is colder out, if so, your dog will be needing less calories, so it may be worth thinking about reducing their food slightly; if this is something you would like to know more about, then one of our lovely nurses will be able to give you some advice on this topic. If you want to keep up your dog’s exercise when it is chilly out; you can always play more indoors to get rid of all that energy! Nevertheless, if there has been salt put on pavements or roads, you will have to wash those paws when you get back as your dog may lick off and ingest it. This can lead to further problems. If you have any queries, please call us and we will be able to help. 

Cats on the other hand do as they please and enjoy going outside even if it is freezing! Make sure that your furry friend has several warm places to snuggle up when they come back in from the cold outdoors. If you are worried about your cat in the winter months, you can always keep them inside, but they may get frustrated and find ways to escape from the house. Make sure they are played with regularly with a range of different cat toys and scratching posts to keep them entertained; and have an enticing litter box which they feel comfortable and safe in. 

Always microchip your pets’ just in case something happens to them. Even house cats can escape through an open door or window and they may be unfamiliar with their surroundings if they haven’t been out much. If it is cold out, this may be something they are not used to. If they have a microchip, they will have a much better chance of coming back to their warm and safe home. If you have not microchipped your cat, please pop into the surgery or give us a call to book an appointment with us. 

Some pets, like rabbits, guinea pigs or rats may live outside in a hutch or a den. If they cannot be taken inside to a utility room or a garage, then point the back of their hutch towards the wind or rain direction to give them a little more shelter. You could also pop in a few more extra blankets with a hot water bottle underneath (so it is not too hot for them) and cover with some additional hay to keep them snug. Keep checking on their water, because if the temperature drops to below freezing, this can cause the bottle to freeze and your pets may not be hydrating properly.

If you are a chicken owner, or have other birds which you keep outside, you will need to give your birds some extra hay, food and water as they will eat and drink more. Pop some more bedding into their coop too as they will snuggle together amongst their bedding to keep warm.  

If you would like any additional information on keeping your pets warm, healthy and safe in the cold weather then please pop in or give us a call and we will be able to help you.

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