Top tips for keeping your pet warm in the cold Gawler winter
It’s a common misconception that because dogs and cats have fur, then they are resistant to cold weather. However, if you’re feeling the cold, chances are your pet is finding things a bit chilly too.
As you know, things can get a bit cold in Gawler and the Adelaide Plains region as we head into the middle of the year. Just as we need to put on that extra layer of clothing, we also need to consider how we can keep our furry friends warm and comfortable as the temperature drops.
Here’s our top tips for keeping your pet warm in the cold Gawler winter.
1. Understand your pet’s tolerance to the cold
Some breeds can handle the cold better than others – it all comes down to their coat. Longer-haired pets such as Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies and Persian cats are well suited to cold environments, while shorter-haired animals such as Greyhounds, Chihuahuas and Dobermans are more sensitive to cooler weather. Short-nosed dogs (also known as Brachycephalics) are unable to warm up the air that they breathe in, which means that chilly air will make them much colder more quickly.
Young and old pets are also more susceptible to the cold. Puppies and kittens are much smaller, are yet to grow their full coat, and don’t have a fully developed immune system. Older pets are just as vulnerable in the winter, as their immune systems aren’t quite as strong as they used to be. Colder weather can also exacerbate arthritis and joint pain, so it’s extra important to keep your senior pet as warm as possible.
2. Provide a warm and cosy place to sleep
If your pet sleeps inside, take a good look at where their bed is. Chances are, it’s on the floor. Raising the bed off a concrete, timber or tiled floor will stop the cold coming through the bottom of the bed. Also make sure it’s not too close to a window or outside door, as cold air coming through glass or under a door will make your pet even colder.
Consider adding an extra blanket to snuggle into – and if you want to give your pet some extra warmth, you can even add a self-warming pet mat.
And just like us humans, pets also love snuggling up by the warmth of the fireplace. Just make sure you use a safety screen to keep your pet from getting too close.
3. Make sure your outside dog is comfortable
If your dog sleeps outside, it’s especially important to provide a warm sleeping environment. Outdoor kennels should be waterproof, and ideally raised slightly off the ground to avoid cold creeping through the floor. Insulating your doghouse with a layer of straw under a nice cosy dog bed or a couple of blankets will reduce drafts and help keep your dog warm.
4. Invest in a dog jumper or coat
For canine breeds with shorter, lighter coats, a dog jumper is a fantastic way to trap the heat in. When purchasing a jumper, select one that covers the belly and provides a snug fit – but watch out for too many embellishments that could be a choking hazard. Waterproof coats are great when walking your dog, as they will keep your pet warm and dry while still getting all-important exercise. Though it’s important to note that not all dogs will be happy wearing a jumper, especially if you’re trying to introduce one in their more advanced years.
5. Reconsider your pet’s diet and exercise routine
Shorter, more frequent walks are a better option when it comes to walking your dog in winter – and will be more comfortable for you both! Colder weather can also mean that your cat does not move as much as they do in summer, so it’s worth purchasing a new toy or two to keep them active inside.
If motivation for exercising your pets is hard to come by on those frosty winter mornings, your pet may end up gaining weight if you don’t adjust their diet. Consider feeding them smaller amounts at regular intervals and try to avoid too many extra treats.
However, if you have outside pets, they actually require more food due to burning more calories while trying to help keep themselves warm. This extra expended energy will make them hungrier, so you will need to increase the amount of food they get in their evening meal to keep them at their optimal weight.
Our small animal clinic is coming soon
In just two short months we will be opening our small animal clinic, and we can’t wait to meet your dogs and cats! Our new clinic will be conveniently based in the Springwood Place shopping precinct in Gawler East. We are looking forward to providing a high quality of personalised veterinary care to your pets, while continuing to service our large animal clients through our mobile service.
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