As the mercury plummets, winter sports dominate the TV, and beanies, scarves and extra socks are here to stay. You may even have gone to bed wearing your dressing gown and fallen asleep (#noshame).
It’s easy to be toasty warm when you’ve got access to a heater, several layers of clothing and a cosy home, but have a think about your pets… especially if they live outside.
With that in mind, we’re on a mission to ensure your pet stays as warm as possible this winter, whether they’re lucky enough to share your Koala mattress with you or not! There are quite a few things to consider during the colder months, including pet clothing, diet and grooming.
Firstly, when winter strikes, most people tend to be more lenient about allowing pets inside. If your pets aren’t normally inside, it’s important to consider whether you have any toxic plants inside.
“The complement to modern interiors could prove to be a fatal combination to your precious fur baby, as many indoor plants are poisonous to pets,” says PETstock veterinarian Dr. Bronwen Slack. “It’s important to first check the safety of all plants and flowers before your pets have access to them.”
Indoor plants that are toxic to pets include the likes of aloe vera, lilies, devil’s ivy and philodendron. A comprehensive list can be found on the RSPCA website.
Another thing to consider for those pets that are coming inside occasionally during winter is that carbon monoxide poisoning has the potential to harm pets as well as humans.
“It’s important to ensure your gas heater is regularly serviced and maintained,” says Dr. Slack. “Ensure you’re also weary of any candles, hot surfaces or cords that aren’t usually there that could be a potential harm to your pet.”
If your animals are too big to bring inside or if they’re simply not indoor pets, you need to be extra cautious and keep an eye on how they’re coping with the cold. “If you are feeling the cold, it is likely your pet is too. When walking or running your dog in the cold or rain, a lightweight, waterproof coat that can help keep them warm and dry is a great idea,” says Dr. Slack.
Winter Pet Tips from PETstock veterinarian, Dr. Bronwen Slack
- If you’re unsure about the safety of a particular plant, talk to your veterinarian for advice
- Keep candles out of the way of wagging tails and place a protective cover in front of gas heaters or open fireplaces to avoid burns
- Regularly service gas heaters and appliances
- Blankets and high-quality heating mats can be used to keep pets warm at night, but ensure your pet can regulate body temperature by freely moving away from heating or blankets if their temperature rises
- Pets’ coats are often neglected during winter so it’s important to maintain regular grooming
- Weight gain is common during the colder months when animals are less active, so keep exercise up and control portion sizes
This winter, make sure you make your furry friend a priority and take their warmth seriously. Just remember, you’re their owner, best friend and carer; if you’re not keeping them warm no one is!