The summer was great while it lasted, but now the weather is getting colder it’s important to know whether you need to take any special precautions to keep your pet happy and healthy during the winter months.
A concern of many small animal owners is whether or not they need to bring their rabbit or guinea pig in for the winter. In most cases, as long as they’re in a well-insulated hutch with plenty of bedding, they should be fine so there is no reason to bring them indoors for winter. If you’re worried about them, you can give them extra hay or nesting materials, or cover their hutch or run with blankets. It’s important to clean out hutches more often in winter as wet bedding stays far colder than fresh bedding. Extra food (and good variety) can also help keep energy levels up and immune systems strong.
Dogs and cats who have the option to come indoors are often assumed to be fine for the winter months. However, they too need additional thought as the frost rolls in. Dogs paws can accumulate lumps of snow in between their pads, which can be painful. This can be avoided by keeping the fur in-between their pads short. Dogs who walk on pavements treated with antifreeze or salt can get chapped or sore paws. As they often lick their paws, they can end up ingesting these harmful substances, so it’s worth washing your dog’s feet or wiping off with a warm wet cloth as soon as you get back into the house.
Antifreeze is toxic to almost all animals, but cats and dogs are typically most at risk. Antifreeze tastes sweet and just a few licks can be fatal to even large cats and dogs. Keeping antifreeze in closed containers, out of reach, is essential.
Another consideration in the cold is for cats that hide in tyre wells where residual heat from an engine can create a warm, dry space for them. Knocking on the bonnet of your car or idling for a few seconds before you start driving can give cats time to vacate before they’re in any danger. For more information on cold weather pet care, please call Clockhouse on 01453 752555.