Winter is here, with some areas in the UK already seeing snow. In the colder months, it’s important to keep an eye on your pets. Like their owners, dogs, cats and small furries can feel the cold and may need support for their health during winter.
Senior pets can feel the chill more than their younger four-legged friends and may need some extra care and attention. As curious pets will want to investigate new sights, such as ice and snow during winter, it’s crucial to understand how to maintain their health during this period.
As a pet owner you are best placed to notice a change in your pet or if they are not feeling themselves. Keeping an eye out for behavioural changes or any change to their normal routine is crucial.
Korina Stephens from natural animal health company, nutra vet comments: “During the winter months, pets can usually become less active and may need extra support for their health. It goes without saying that many owners treat their pets like family and during the winter season, we want to ensure that they can enjoy the fun along with you.
“Colder weather can mean joint stiffness in pets is more prominent, your dog may appear slower on walks or seem stiff when getting up from their sleep. Looking after your pet’s joints in colder weather will help to maintain their overall health and quality of life with you. Some pet owners often overfeed their dogs during winter, however as they are less active extra food or treats are not needed and can lead to unwanted weight gain. This can also add pressure to your pet’s joints.”
To help care for your pet during winter months, nutra vet share their tips:
A warm bed
Make sure your pet has comfy warm bedding away from any drafts. For older and smaller dogs make sure they have extra bedding to keep them warm and provide extra padding for their joints. Move their bed off tiled flooring and into a carpeted area.
Keep them moving
Despite the cold weather, it’s important to keep up their exercise routine. Walking your dog will help keep their joints mobile and prevent weight gain. Using a dog coat can help keep them warm as the weather gets colder, especially for older or smaller, short haired dogs.
A fter each winter walk, dry your dog and check their coat and paws for stones or hardened mud. Use warm water and cotton wool to gently clean between their paw pads and toes to prevent salt and ice from causing irritation. If your cat spends time outdoors, be sure to also dry them off and check their paws when they come inside.
It’s important to ensure that your pet is getting the essential nutrients during winter. Obesity is more common problem for many pets and during winter, many pets are less active. Don’t overfeed your pets – they do not need extra food in winter.
As your pet’s age, you may notice a reduction in mobility. Simple tasks such as going up the stairs or getting into the car might be a struggle. To help keep your pet mobile, you could use a ramp to help get them into the car and prevent pets from jumping up. Move your cat’s food bowl to floor level rather than feeding them on high surfaces so that they don’t have to jump up to get it.
Bring pets indoors
If it’s too cold for you, it’s also too cold for your pet. Bring outdoor pets indoors during colder months. If left outside your dog could become disoriented and ill. Also, don’t leave your pet alone in cars during winter. Cars can act as refrigerators that hold the cold in and leaving your dog for too long could cause health problems.
Pets are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze; however, it can be poisonous to cats and dogs. If you use it for your car, be sure to clean up any spills immediately. Consider using one that is ethylene glycol free, which is the ingredient that makes it both sweet and toxic.
Chemicals and salts
Salt and chemicals used to melt ice on paths and driveways and could be poisonous to you cat or dog. Your pet could pick them up on their paws when outside, which could irritate them. If they have been outside you can clean their paws with warm water and cotton wool to prevent them from licking it off.
Check your car
When it is cold, outdoor cats can be attracted to the warmth of a car engine. Before starting your car bang on the bonnet or beep your horn before driving off.
In cold weather your senior cat or dog might need some extra care. Cold weather can aggravate joints, so provide extra padding and comfort to relieve joints in colder conditions. Use a coat for winter walks.
Consider using a natural pet supplement such as nutra quin+ to support your pet’s joints. nutra quin+ is a high strength, fast acting nutritional joint support to aid and sooth stiff joints and maintain optimum joint health.