As winter slowly sets in over the nation, Pet Insurance Australia has some great tips for pet owners who want to ensure that their beloved companion animals don’t feel the cold.
“As the cold weather starts to creep into our homes, it’s now time to consider our pets and their winter needs”, says Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. “Some pets will take the cooler months in their stride, while others may need a little help to keep warm.”
Aging pets, kittens and puppies, as well as short-coated breeds can struggle with the cooler weather. Conditions such as arthritis can also become more noticeable during the winter months; as dogs and cats struggle with stiff joints.
“Over the past five years we have seen a steady increase of arthritic claims for dogs and cats,” Crighton says. “Last year alone PIA saw over 600 cases of new arthritis claims. So it is a major health issue which many pet owners face.”
Surprisingly it’s not just older dogs and cats who can suffer from arthritis.
“It is a big misconception that it is only an older pet’s problem. Younger companion animals can also exhibit symptoms of arthritis”, states Crighton. “Out of the 612 cases of new arthritis claims in 2016, only 251 of those were for animals over the age of eight.”
Symptoms of arthritis include:
- Moaning when lying down or getting up.
- Licking joints
- Obvious stiffness (that seems to increase in cooler weather or after physical activity).
- Reluctance to exercise
“Arthritis is treatable and the medications available today are really ground-breaking”, Crighton says. “If you suspect that your dog or cat is suffering from arthritis, take them to have a check-up and discuss a management program. You’ll be simply amazed at the huge difference it can make to the wellbeing and mobility of your pet.”
helpful ways which you can use to keep your pets warm include:
- Moving bedding into draft-free areas and sun-drenched spots
- Consider trampoline bedding that keeps your pet off the ground
- Ensure kennels are turned away from weather and have warm bedding
- Use straw under outside bedding to help with insulation
- Think dog coats. They come in all shapes and sizes
- For older pets; consider a heat-pad
- Keep spare towels in your car to dry off a cold wet dog
- Groom your pet, particularly double-coated breeds and long-haired cats to prevent matting
- Bring your pets indoors. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them.
Drinking enough water can also be a concern for some pet owners during the chilly months. “As it gets cooler, dogs may not drink as much water as needed”, says Crighton. “You can combat this by adding some warm water to your dog’s dry meal. This will entice your pet to eat, while also getting a little extra moisture in along the way.”
PIA also advises pet owners to rethink their animals bathing routine during this chilly season. “If you can, bathe your pet indoors with warm water or consider using a grooming service during the cooler months.”
And… don’t forget to MOVE IT MOVE IT!
“Just like with us, some pets can become overweight after a little winter hibernation,” Crighton says. “This is primarily because we have more energy going in, than going out.” So don’t forget to hit the pavement and go for walks even during the cooler months.
“It’s not only beneficial for your own health, but also for the health of your pet.”
If your dog gets cold on those early morning walks consider using a dog coat. “This is a great way to allow your dog to walk in comfort and warmth even during wet, damp conditions”, says Crighton. “Many come in very practical styles that will suit any dog.”
For cats consider setting up play times with interactive toys and encouraging your pet to move. “Even the most energetic outdoor cat may become a little sluggish during the cold wet days.”
So there you have it, great and easy-to-use tips on how to keep your furry family member comfortable and warm during the cold winter season.
For more information listen at VETtalk Video & Podcasts: