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Wicked Winter Pet Care Made Easy

Blog Header Wicked Winter

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.

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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.

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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.

Erica -waldron -cat -and -dog

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:

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.

 

Top tips:

  • Short haired breeds like Greyhounds and small dogs like Yorkshire Terriers really struggle to cope with the cold so it is definitely worth investing in coats for them.
  • If they don’t already have them, make sure your pets wear a reflective collar so they can be seen after dark.
  • Salt and grit laid down on roads and pavements can irritate pets’ feet so doggy boots could prove useful. Check cats’ paws regularly for embedded grit regularly, especially if they are long-haired.
  • Older pets who suffer from arthritis will particularly feel it in the colder months. Make sure their beds are out of the way of drafts and try and make them a bit more ‘plush’ to offer sore joints comfort and relief.
  • If your pets are damp with sweat or rain, make sure you dry them to avoid them catching a chill.
  • Cats will often seek a warm nap spot in the wheel arches or engines of cars so make sure you check before you drive anywhere.
  • It’s best to move small animal hutches inside during the winter months but, if this is not possible, then try to insulate their hutches with blankets (outside) and extra bedding on the inside. Try and place the hutch so it is turned for minimum exposure to the elements.
  • Water bottles will freeze surprisingly quickly so need checking every few hours. Often, it is the spout mechanism which freezes rather than bottle itself so just insulating the bottle will not help.
  • Some small pets like chinchillas are highly sensitive to changes in temperature at both ends of the scale. Make sure that your pet’s cage is away from both drafts and any radiators.

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

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