There is no doubting winter is here, with temperatures dropping across Australia to record lows we are all looking for ways to keep ourselves warm, but don’t forget about your pets!
While some animals might have a higher tolerance to cold weather, the majority of Australian pets haven’t experienced such cold temperatures; PetSafe Australia has released their top 10 tips to keep your pets safe and warm through these colder months.
1. Access to Shelter
Indoors with you is obviously best, however if this is not possible make sure your pet has shelter that is dry and out of the wind. Make sure the area is free from draughts and has adequate warm bedding for them to snuggle into.
2. Fashion with functionality
Some of us already dress up our fur babies but in winter investing in a pet coat or jacket, especially if they spend a lot of time outside, is not such a bad idea! Just make sure that what you purchase does not have too many zippers, ropes or tags that could be hazardous to the pet.
3. Avoid the Antifreeze
In colder regions of Australia where we might get frost or even snow on our cars (Canberra for example) people tend to use antifreeze to clear the frost. As a consequence vets can report an increase in poisoning cases with pets that come in contact with the antifreeze. If you do need to use such poisons make sure it is well and truly away from your pets.
4. Cats and Cars
Cats love warm car engines in the winter, and often will crawl under (or even into) your car to sleep; however they can get stuck within the engine or accidentally run over. If you cannot keep your cat away from your car make sure you knock on the hood or blow the horn before starting the engine or better yet, eyeball your cat before you drive away!
5. Lots of fresh water, even in Winter
It is a common misconception that pets drink less in cooler months. Pets drink just as much all year round! Be aware however if you do live in a particularly cold part of Australia that the water bowl doesn’t freeze over. A frozen bowl can lead to thirst and dehydration quickly.
6. The diet can wait till spring
Cold weather means more calories burned to keep warm. Make sure your pets have a ready supply of high-quality food, but keep track of their weight. You don’t want your pet to pack on pounds during winter, but you don’t want your pet to lose weight either. Save the diets for springtime, and make sure your pup gets enough calories to stay warm and maintain a healthy weight.
7. Watch for the itch
Winter can be dry and uncomfortable for indoor cats. The dry air can lead to a dry coat, and that can be itchy. Keep a humidifier going to maintain the right level of humidity and help keep everybody comfortable – maybe even you too!
8. Pet Proof the House
Winter dangers can also be inside the house. Make sure that you never leave your pet alone in a room with a space heater switched on. Dogs can kick and move in their sleep just like humans; and could accidentally knock the heater over, accidentally starting a fire. In addition don’t allow your pets to sleep on electric blankets as they can potentially burn or itch their skin.
9. Exercise in the sunlight
Nothing warms up a pet, or ourselves, in the winter months then a brisk walk in the bright sunlight. During these colder months try and take your dog for a walk when the sun is out.
Just like us hoomans, our pet’s skin can get dry and flaky in the winter. By adding a skin and coat supplement to their food can help, or even using coconut oil on their skin and coat every couple of days.