Winter has finally arrived and while that’s good for those of us who really love their ‘big coat’, it offers new challenges for looking after our pets.
Pets may sleep more to conserve energy during the winter months. Try to keep them active even if they’re going outside less with play sessions to stop them being too sedentary and gaining weight. It helps if you make these a routine so pets adapt to them and come to look forward to them.
You may also notice that activities they normally perform outside – scratching to wear down claws, for example – suddenly become inside activities performed on the furniture when it’s looking a bit too nippy for them to head outside! Consider some wise investment in a scratching post.
Your pet’s coat can suddenly become unruly as their winter coat comes in. This will probably mean a bit more grooming time is needed.
Try to make this a regular task as it is a lot easier for your pet to cope with short sessions than the lengthy attention they’ll need to deal with severely matted coats.
Winter can surprisingly also be a prime time for flea infestations. Fleas that have been biding their time in our carpets, etc. suddenly perk up when we turn on our central heating and look for a new host (ie. your pet!). Make sure you keep up to date with flea prevention treatment.
Being forced inside by the weather sometimes also forces pets who may not spend much time together into close contact. There’s no easy quick-fix to make pets like each other so just make sure they have their own space and resources where possible and monitor them carefully to check that unease doesn’t end up in open hostility.
One of the key hazards of winter is dogs on frozen lakes and ponds. Try and keep your dog on a lead near frozen bodies of water but, if they should stray onto a frozen surface and fall through, please don’t be a hero and try and rescue them!
How many times have you read a news story where the human owner dies and the dog manages to merrily scramble free?
Antifreeze, or Ethylene Glycol, is irresistible to pets and lethally toxic. When ingested by pets it causes swift failure in major organs. Every year we see a number of tragic cases where vets have no option other than to put pets to sleep as their organ damage is too serious to do anything about.
Avoid using antifreeze if at all possible and make sure you keep it away from where your – and other pets – may have access to it. Be alert to signs of possible antifreeze poisoning – these include your pet appearing ‘drunk’, excessive thirst, vomiting and panting.
Got a pet problem or query? Please visit our website for more information or contact details for your local practice aby using our online practice finder.
We’ll be writing a special blog on pets and Christmas nearer the time so please look out for that.
Posted October 21, 2014 in Seasonal Care