Looking After Your Pet in Winter Weather
Throughout winter it’s especially important to consider your pets’ needs. These helpful tips can help to keep your pets healthy and happy in the colder temperatures.
Keep Pets Indoors
All pets will appreciate being indoors with the rest of the family in cold, wet weather. This is also the safest place for them to be. Cats should be kept entirely indoors during severe weather, so have litter trays ready and available.
If your dog is a thick coated breed and used to sleeping outdoors, make sure their kennel is placed inside a garage or shed and raised off the ground. Old carpet or quilts around the outside add extra insulation and lots of dry, soft bedding to burrow into will help keep them warm. Make sure to check regularly that their water bowl hasn’t frozen over. It is best to take them indoors in sub zero conditions.
On walks, consider a dog sweater or coat to keep your pet warm and dry and a high visibility coat and reflective collar to help keep them safe in the dark evenings. After a walk, remove any compacted ice from your dog’s paws to prevent inflammation. Wipe pets’ paws and bellies with a cloth soaked in warm water to remove salt or antifreeze. Anti freeze is highly toxic but tastes sweet, so keep pets well away from spills. Elderly, very young, and short-coated breeds are extra vulnerable to the cold so limit the time they spend outside, especially in the snow.
In snowy weather, dogs can easily lose their scent and get lost, so keep them on a lead. Avoid frozen ponds or lakes where they may fall through thin ice. Thunderstorms or high winds may spook them, so make sure they are microchipped and wearing identity tags at all times.
Arthritic pets will not cope well with ice and may fall and get injured. They will need more warmth and rest, and may need extra medication in cold weather so check with your vet.
Always check under your car for cats seeking warm shelter before you start your car. Never leave your pet in a car in cold weather as it cools down very quickly and acts like a fridge.
If there’s a severe weather warning, stock up on enough medication, food, cat litter etc., to last a few days for each pet.
Following these tips can help ensure your pets’ comfort and safety this winter!
About the author:Allianz in-house vet and qualified psychotherapist.
Date:January 14th, 2019