Some people love winter; others hate it. No matter what your thoughts on the season, however, there’s no denying that in most places around the world, it’s three months of rain, wind, and freezing conditions. What does this mean for your pets though? Pets often get ill during winter, because of the cold, so here are the best ways to keep them safe and healthy over the winter months.
Bring them in
If you have a rabbit hutch in the garden or a dog that lives outside, bring them in when its cold. Our precious bunnies, guinea pigs, and other outside animals, often lose their lives to hypothermia, frostbite, and general sickness caused by the cold. Therefore, when temperatures drop, bring them into a room in your house and even cover their enclosure with a blanket to keep the heat in.
If your pet has been out in the rain or freezing conditions, their paws and coat will be wet – that’s no big news. What you might not know, however, is that damp fur is one of the leading causes of illness in animals over the winter. These illnesses are often fatal too, so need to be avoided at all costs. When your pet gets back indoors, make sure you use a towel to dry them off as much as possible, and even put a heater on for them to lay by and warm up.
Similar to keeping them dry, your pet also needs to stay warm to avoid the risks of hypothermia and other detrimental conditions. Dogs which were bred to endure extreme conditions, like Alaskan Malamutes, are less affected by this. However, other dogs, including everything from Chihuahuas to Rottweilers, and other animals, will get cold. They should not be kept out in the cold for very long, and so walks should be shorter than usual. You should also invest in a coat, rug or jumper for some animals, for added protection against the wind and rain.
Monitor them closely
It’s important to remember that no matter what, you need to check on them regularly, making sure they are warm and healthy. This also includes watching what they do outside. Antifreeze covers many surfaces during winter and has a sweet smell that’s tempting for animals to lick, but the tiniest amount is lethal. Also, watch out for ice, as animals can slip just as easy as humans can, and the last thing you want is a dog with a broken hip from slipping over during your morning walk.
So long as you keep an eye on everything your pet does during winter, and frequently check that they’re warm, dry, and acting normally, there’s not much that could go wrong. Some animals love playing in the snow or rain, while others despise it. So, make sure that you take into account what your pet likes and is able to handle, and ensure that they aren’t exposed to poor conditions for too long. They should then stay happy and healthy all winter!