We humans love nothing better than to snuggle up in a warm spot under the blankets or in front of a fire when the weather turns cold and, in most cases, so do our pets. Keeping them safe and comfortable in bleak times is an important aspect of responsible pet ownership.
When nasty bugs and Jack Frost being out and about, winter can be as miserable time for pets as it is for people. Some pets love the rain and mud, but for others summer can’t
come around soon enough.
Here are some top tips for keeping your pets safe over the winter months:
- If a bad patch of weather is forecast, consider keeping your pets indoors.Heavy rain, thunder, lightning and hail can be terrifying for pets and may cause them to flee and become lost.
• If really bad weather is projected, keep them tucked up inside for a few days. Even if they complain!
• If you have outdoor pets such as rabbits or guinea pigs, make sure they have a large, warm, sheltered space to camp out in. Stock up on lots of warm bedding to keep themhappy on cold wintery nights.
• If you have turtles or outdoor fish, keep an eye on their water levels. A heavy downpour can cause outdoor ponds to flood, and your pampered pets may float away.
• Winter is a great time to start encouraging your pets to sleep indoors at night – particularly cats. Keeping them indoors at night keeps them safe from wandering and from all too common cat fights.
Keeping puss indoors will also help to keep your local birds safe. Try enticing your pets inside at about 5-6 pm with a tasty dinner and a warm bed, then keep them inside until breakfast time – have a litter box handy.
• Cats and dogs also suffer from the flu, so make sure their immunisations are up to date. An annual booster shot is all that’s needed to keep the worst of the winter bugs at bay.
• Remember, cooler temperatures can aggravate arthritis in older pets, so make sure they have a warm, cosy place to cuddle up in. If they’re having difficulty getting up and down take them to see your regular vet.
- When walking dogs in wet, cold weather, give your pet a coat, older pets especially will appreciate this.
• If your pet has a tendency to wander, ensure it is micro-chipped. This will make it easier for owners to be found if a pet goes missing.
• Be sure to pop a cover over the budgie cage when the sun goes down and remove when it rises in the morning. Birds need a minimum of 8 hours undisturbed sleep.
• Finally, all pets need a good supply of fresh water during winter. Where ice is problem, keep an eye on water bowls to ensure they don’t turn to ice during a particularly cold
snap. Refresh daily.