How To Protect Your Pet This Winter
With the dark nights and colder months drawing in, it’s important to keep your four legged family members comfortable and safe.
Here at GiftPup, we love pets, so we have created a handy guide full of our top tips to help keep them safe as winter gets closer.
Keep Them Indoors As Much As Possible
Whilst it can sometimes be near impossible to keep your pets indoors, during the winter months there simply is no safer place. Provide them with plenty of cosy hideouts to keep warm in, and make sure that they are well stimulated with toys and attention to keep them distracted. For pets that simply must get some time outdoors, make sure that they have a warm, dry, hideaway (preferably raised from the ground) available to them, and that they have fresh food and water.
It is also important to check under cars for any cats that may have sought some protection from the cold - a loud bang on your cars bonnet should be enough to scare away any sleeping cats.
Check Their Paws
Your pets paws are very sensitive to the weather, both hot and cold. It is vital that you regularly check your pets paws during the winter months for signs of ice balls, salt damage, or frostbite. Trimming the hair between a dogs paws can help to prevent the forming of ice balls. The best protection for a pets paws is for them to wear booties if they have to go outside - this prevents them from coming into contact with salt, grit and possible chemicals such as antifreeze which may be on the ground and can irritate their paws.
If your pet has been outside without any protection on their feet, make sure to give them a wipe before they get the chance to lick them clean themselves. Another great way to protect your pets paws is by massaging them with petroleum jelly or a similar paw protector to shield them from irritation.
Dress Them Appropriately
Similarly to the way that booties protect your pets paws, a great way to keep them warm and safe in the winter, is to buy them appropriate clothing for when they are outside. Short-coated dog breeds can particularly struggle in the winter, and will benefit greatly from wearing a dog jumper or coat whilst they're outside. For other dog breeds, a rain coat is a great idea to help keep their coat dry, and a reflective coat can help keep both you, and the dog safe on dark walks.
For your feline friend, consider a reflective collar to make them more visible whilst they are wandering or - if they'll allow you, you can also try and fit them with a jumper or coat, depending on their breed and lifestyle.
Check Their Food and Water
In extreme cold, food and water bowls can freeze and become unusable. Make sure that your pet is supplied with plenty of fresh food and water, and that their bowls are regularly checked for signs of freezing - especially if they are outside. You may also need to adjust the amount that you are giving them depending on their activity levels.
If you are still taking your dog on regular walks, or your cat is still happy to explore the outdoors, provide them with a little bit of extra food to help keep their energy up. Meanwhile, if your pet is spending more time indoors and curled up, cut their food down a little to compensate. It is also important to provide plenty of water to keep them well hydrated and to prevent their skin from becoming too dry.
Antifreeze is extremely poisonous for both dogs and cats, but it is regularly used throughout winter. Unfortunately, antifreeze has a sweet taste which can be enticing to animals. Dogs and cats will be happy to lap it up if they are thirsty, therefore it is vital that you clean up any antifreeze spills, as well as wiping clean the outside of any containers. and tightly sealing them.
For Smaller Pets:
Provide outdoor pets with extra bedding that they can use to keep themselves warm, you can also help insulate any hutches by covering them well with blankets or other covers (but make sure to also provide ventilation). The RSPCA advises that if temperatures drop below 15°C, you should look into moving their enclosure either indoors, or into a shed or garage.
Horses and ponies that are kept outside should have easy access to a warm shelter, fresh water, and a waterproof rug to keep them warm, hydrated, and protected from the cold and the wet. You should also ensure that there is additional feed available, as grass is particularly sparse during the winter months. As with cats and dogs, the winter weather can also cause problems for horses hooves, so make sure that you regularly check them for any abscesses or any loosening of their shoes, and try to keep them clean of mud.
Always remember - if it's too cold for you, it's too cold for you pets. Make sure to keep them warm and sheltered.
Top Treats for Pets
Help entice your pet indoors with some of our recommended gifts;
Deluxe Cat Hamper
This Deluxe Cat Hamper is the perfect combination or tasty treats and tantalising toys to keep your cat content indoors. This lovingly packed selection includes two packs of healthy cat treats, a ceramic food bowl, and a variety of fun toys to keep them occupied inside.
Deluxe Dog Hamper
Help your dog get cosy indoors with this hamper packed full of snacks and toys that they'll love. This hamper comes with 3 jars of tasty biscuit bites, some tasty doggy popcorn and crisps, a selection of rope toys and balls, and even a couple of bow tie to help them look smart!
Luxury Wooden Pet Bed
What better way to help your pet snuggle up warm this winter than with one of our new luxury wooden pet beds? Each bed is handcrafted for your four legged friend, and features a made to fit cushion for them to lay on. These beautiful beds also come with 5 mini cushions to keep them as comfy and cosy as possible.