With the chilly winter months well upon us, it’s important to make sure that our furry friends are kept warm and comfortable. Despite their fur coats, pets do feel the cold and special care should also be given to young or senior pets, as well as those with short coats and low body fat such as greyhounds and whippets.
Here are 5 tips to help your pet stay warm this winter:
During winter, make sure your pet’s bed is away from drafts, cold or wet areas of the home. Like humans, many pets enjoy a bed with high sides in winter to keep them cosy and warm. For senior dogs particularly, it’s important to have a supportive mattress and a bed that is very easy to get in and out of.
Two of the most popular winter beds available from Snooza are the Calming Cuddler – with its super-soft long pile vegan faux fur paired with soft, rounded raised walls, this bed is a winner for dogs that love to snuggle in, and the Ortho Snuggler - which has plush, high, protective padded walls on an orthopaedic foam base for the best support.
Consider adding a throw rug for extra warmth and comfort to places that your dog loves to sleep, such as your lounge or bed. Some dogs enjoy having a blanket to snuggle into or under like the new Snooza Calming Cuddler Blanket.
After walking outdoors, make sure to check all paws for dirt and mud between the pads that can become
uncomfortable. Always dry your dog’s feet and coat and don’t forget to groom them regularly as they can be prone to mats and tangles during winter. If bath time is more difficult during winter use a dry pet shampoo for in-between bath times.
Snooza has a great new product – the very absorbent SupaDry Noodle Mat will help keep muddy paws and your floors clean this winter. It's perfect to have at the door to wipe wet or muddy paws, to use at bath time or have in the back of the car.
Certain breeds should wear a jacket in winter. Breeds that have low body fat like the Whippet and older dogs feel the cold and benefit greatly from wearing a coat. When selecting a coat, it’s important to look for a practical style, not one that just looks cute. The jacket should warm, weatherproof, washable and easy to put on and take off. Make sure your pet is comfortable and do not leave them unsupervised wearing a jacket. I don’t recommend putting coats on puppies.
The short winter days, combined with harsh weather can mean that sometimes it’s hard to give your pet the daily exercise they require but just like with humans, exercise offers many physical and mental health benefits.
If the weather prevents you from going outside, get creative indoors with games and activities to keep your pooch entertained.
- Do some training sessions: practise basic obedience such as sit, stay, lying on mat and recall.
- Do some trick training – this is a fun way to bond with your pet
- Offer enrichment and puzzle toys
- If you have space like a long hallway, play games like fetch where you roll the toy along the floor and ask your dog to retrieve it – this helps to get your dog moving.
Adjust your pet’s diet accordingly if they are doing less exercise than normal. If you are spending more time indoors and prone to snacking yourself, be careful not to overindulge your pet with leftovers and treats. Treats must be counted as part of your dog’s daily calories.
By Dr. Katrina Warren