When the cooler weather of winter arrives, there is nothing better than cosying up inside the house with a heater, blanket, and a hot drink, maybe watching a movie or reading a book. But while we’re safe inside what of our pets? As spoiled as some are, not all pets have the luxury of living inside a climatized home. Here’s how we can look out for them as the cooler weather arrives.
Let them inside
We understand that not everybody can have their pets come inside their home. But if you can, we highly recommend it. The weather can be nasty, and your pet would love being inside as much as you do. Snuggling in for body warmth under the blanket or kicking back in front of the heater.
Offer them a warm bed
Have somewhere warm for them to sleep. A soft bed in a protected area can make a world of difference. If your dog’s kennel is usually out in the open, bring it under shelter, to an enclosed section of your yard. A patio/verandah works well because they generally offer both a wind break and shelter from the rain.
If your cat or dog is very susceptible to the cold, you could even add a hot water bottle to their bedding for warmth.
If you have chickens add fresh hay to their coop to sleep on. Hay makes an excellent insulator and will keep your hens warm on those cold nights.
If you own horses or livestock, ensure they have a shelter that they can stand beneath or next to, to provide relief from harsh winds and heavy rain.
You may want to consider providing your dog with omega fatty acids to support bone joints which can often cause pain for dogs during the colder weather. Hip dysplasia and arthritis can cause your pet a lot of discomfort, so providing a diet to help combat these issues is a must, especially in older dogs.
Chickens will benefit from extra food as well as additional protein to stimulate feather growth and omega to add extra fat to their bodies for winter.
For horses ensure they have a steady supply of hay to keep them going.
Keep them moving
Your pets still need exercise when it’s cold. They need the warmth they get from having their blood pumping and their muscles moving. Keeping your pet in shape is also the best way to keep them healthy and strong enough to combat the colder weather.
Dogs will still need to go for walks, and this is a great way to warm them up. Check out our blog on “How to Walk your Dog in Winter”.
Horses generate heat through movement, so maintaining a regular exercise regime will keep your horse happy, healthy, and warm.
If your dog is struggling to combat the falling temperatures, you can always offer them an extra layer of warmth. Dress your dog in a winter coat and booties. We have many options available in store to suit your dog, whatever size they may be.
Most cats should be fine, with their fur able to keep them warm in winter. However, if you have a hairless cat such as a sphynx, they will need to be kept indoors in winter and can be dressed in a jumper if being indoors isn’t warm enough.
Some horses will not require blankets as their fur will be enough to combat the weather. However if you decide to blanket them then you must do so consistently throughout the season. Ensure the blanket has insulation and is waterproof.
If you are not using a blanket, ensure your horse is well-groomed. Horses release a natural oil called sebum, which helps the horse to stay relatively waterproof, creating a barrier for the rain to run off the fur, keeping the skin dry, and keeping the horse warm. This oil is essential to keeping your horse warm, so avoid bathing your horse during this time. Spending time grooming your horse will allow you to regularly monitor your horse’s health and conditions, and check on their feet and weight, so you will know how they are managing the colder temperatures.