With the current extra-cold conditions here to stay for the next few days at least, pet lovers might be concerned about keeping their furry friends nice and warm; so here are a few ways to make sure your four-legged loved ones don’t catch a chill.
Dogs love walks and need exercise whatever the weather, but if they’re going outside they might appreciate help staying warm, especially short-haired breeds (e.g. greyhounds), smaller dogs (e.g. smooth haired Chihuahuas), as well as older dogs and puppies who can often find it hard to preserve their body heat. Practical warm and waterproof jackets are available from most pet shops, preferably with reflective strips (pictured).
Keep all dogs on leads around frozen ponds and lakes in case they try and venture onto the ice, and be aware that some dogs may become disorientated in snowstorms too.
When returning from a walk make sure you give dogs a good rub down with a warm towel, especially when there’s snow on the ground, always remembering to wipe away any ice crystals/toxic road grit from feet and between toes.
Every responsible dog owner knows not to leave their dog in the car during hot weather, but these current winter temperatures can be just as dangerous as cars quickly become extremely cold seconds after engines have been turned off.
Cats should be well groomed and perhaps given the luxury of one of those comfy beds that hooks over your radiator, with carefully wrapped hot water bottles under bedding further ways to keep your pets nice and toasty.
Flea control must also be kept up to date at this time of year too, with flea eggs often hatching out into carpets, rugs, and skirting boards below hot radiators; prevent a pet and house infestation by using products recommended by your vet.
One of the best (and most fun!) ways to ensure your pet stays warm is of course to have lots of contact. Days off work or school, and those owners working from home mean more free time to spend with your pets; also any excuse for a belly rub is always likely to be well-received with your animal companions – whatever the weather!
On the flip-side please make sure your pet doesn’t get too warm! Lying in front of a roaring fire wearing a novelty jumper, central heating turned up, and house fully insulated, pets can also run the risk of getting a too warm; be aware of signs of lethargy, excessive panting, and actively moving away from the heat source.
For rabbits, guinea pigs and rodents normally living outside always make sure bedding is topped up, providing extra well-insulated shelter boxes; better still move hutches somewhere warmer like your shed, garage, or even inside your house. Check on them regularly making sure they’re safe, snug, and have access to fresh unfrozen water supply.
Stay warm, folks, and your pets - won’t be long before it’s Spring!