As we begin to approach the official start of winter, the mornings are darker, the days are shorter and the temperature drops. We get ourselves bundled up in blankets when inside, and wrapped up in coats, scarfs and hats when outside, but sometimes we forget our pets might be struggling with the change of season too. It’s easily done as we can assume cats and dogs don’t feel the cold because they have their own built-in fur coats! But unfortunately for our fur-babies, winter can take a toll on them too. Not to worry, we’ve included some top-tips to help you ensure your pets are kept warm this winter!
Dogs actually have a higher body temperature than humans at around 38-39.2°C, which can work in their favour during winter. However, most dogs begin to feel uncomfortable when the temperature drops to 7°C and below. That said, different breeds of dogs react differently to certain types of climate, for example dogs with finer and shorter fur will feel the cold more than others.
How to tell if your dog is cold:
- Shivering or trembling
- Curling up in a ball
- Seeming weak or lethargic
Keeping your dog warm:
- Ensure your dog has a warm bed where they can rest.
Just like us, dogs need their own bed which they’d think of as a safe haven, getting a specific dog bed and adding a thick blanket, will provide your dog with the perfect cosy place to sleep
- Reduce visits to the dog groomers.
Getting your pup a haircut every 10-12 weeks is the usual recommendation. However, during colder months, we advise you to let your dog’s fur grow out for that extra layer of warmth and to provide them with their own winter coat!
- Buy your dog a jacket.
For dogs who struggle more with the cold or have finer fur, consider buying a good jacket that your dog can wear inside. This will also save you from having to put the heating on for extended periods of time.
- Heated pads.
If you don’t have carpeted floors in your home, consider investing in a heated pad for your dog. Tiled floor surfaces can make your pets colder faster, so a heated pad would help avoid this.
- On colder days try to exercise your dogs inside.
There are some extremely cold days during winter which humans struggle to keep warm in, these are the days you should consider keeping your pups inside. Getting your dog some toys and playing a game of indoor fetch should help keep them active even when inside.
- Buy your dog a fleece-lined jacket.
These can be worn inside or outside, depending on the temperature. A thermal jacket is recommended for when you’re taking your dog on a walk to ensure they’re warm enough.
- Check your dog’s paws.
After your dog comes in from being outside, be sure to check their paws for any abrasions from things such as grit and salt, and if it was snowy or icy out – make sure to wipe their paws properly.
Most cats enjoy going outside and venturing out on their own, but it’s important as owners we do what they can to provide them a warm sanctuary, for when they come back inside during colder months. Similar to dogs, cats have a slightly higher body temperature than humans, usually sitting around 38.3-39.2°C, and anything under 7°C is considered to be too cold for cats. Here are some tips for keeping your cat safe and warm this winter.
How to tell if your cat is cold:
- Shivering or trembling
- Seeking warmer places – sleeping directly on or next to the radiator
- Tips of their ears, nose or tail feeling cold to the touch
- Puffed up fur
- Curling up into a ball
Keeping your cat warm and safe
- Provide a warm bed.
This winter consider getting your cat a covered igloo bed or a hammock bed that attaches to a radiator, or even just a cat bed with blankets placed next to the radiator. These are perfect spots for your cat to have a warm and cosy rest.
- Put out a litter tray.
Even if your cat usually goes to the toilet outside, during winter you should provide an accessible indoor litter tray just in case they don’t feel comfortable going outside in the cold.
- Get your cats lots of toys they can play with inside.
You’ll find that most cats will prefer to spend more time inside during winter, but they’ll still need a form of exercise that they’re missing from being outside. This is where you can help by providing them with a range of toys to ensure they stay active and healthy.
- Be careful of antifreeze.
If cats ingest even 5ml of antifreeze it can be fatal, so please ensure any products you own are stored securely and if any spills occur they are cleaned up right away. If your cat accidentally ingests or is exposed to antifreeze you should contact your vet immediately. Signs this has occurred include vomiting, seizures, lethargy, faster heart rate, shallow breathing, increase in urination or drinking.
- Get your cat a reflective collar.
Winter is the time of year with the darkest mornings and evenings so to ensure your cat is visible to cars and people, make sure they’re wearing a reflective collar when going outside.
- Provide an outside shelter.
Even when cold, some cats will still want to stay outside for hours, so make a safe shelter your cat can go to for some warmth when outside. This could be a small animal-friendly hut or even a cardboard box with a blanket inside.
- Check your car engine.
As temperatures drop, some cats crawl under car bonnets or wheel arches for a warm and dry sleeping spot. Make sure to tap your bonnet and check your wheels before starting your car and driving off.
- Check your cat’s paws.
Just like dogs, when your cat comes in from being outside, be sure to check their paws for any abrasions from things such as grit and salt, and if it was snowy or icy out – make sure to wipe their paws properly.
With prices going up this winter, we want to ensure when it comes to caring for your pets you don’t have to worry about being overcharged. That’s why VetBox provides an affordable and trustworthy monthly subscription to keep your pets safe during winter and beyond.