Just like us, our pets feel the cold; whilst we can indulge in hot drinks and wrap up in layers and warm up by the fire, you should also consider how to keep your pets happy and warm as the temperatures start to fall.
At Oak Barn Vets in Guildford, we have provided you with a few cost-effective ways to keep your pets and household warm as energy costs rise.
Tips for keeping your dog warm
Like in the summer months, dogs still require regular exercise, which is vital to your dog's mental and physical health. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your dog energised, entertained and, most importantly, warm.
- Take shorter, more frequent walks if your dog has plenty of energy to prevent them from getting too cold.
- Provide your dog with additional blankets in their bed.
- Ensure their safe space/bed is placed away from draughty areas within your home.
- Introduce indoor games to keep your dog active and stimulated. Some suggestions for indoor games include: hide and seek, playing fetch, creating an indoor dog agility course, or, why not, try hiding their favourite treats around the house for them to find. When playing indoors, try and do so on a non-slip surface.
- Where possible, ensure they don’t get too wet from rain or swimming in ponds, rivers or lakes.
- Only bathe your dog when it is necessary and dry them thoroughly after.
Tips for keeping your cat warm
Whether you have a house cat or they’re an independent explorer, many of our feline friends enjoy snuggling up to stay warm in . Here are some top tips to ensure your cat has a comfortable couple of months:
- Ensure your cat has water they can easily access.
- Introduce an indoor litter tray.
- Encourage your cat to stay indoors at night.
- Provide some extra toys for enrichment to keep your cat fit and healthy.
- Create some warm and cosy hiding places around the house with additional blankets.
- Watch your cat's weight. In the winter, cats tend to gain extra weight for insulation, but watch out for excessive weight gain, which can be a sign that your cat isn’t getting enough exercise or they are eating too much.
- Although it might be cold, cats that enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors may prefer to stay outside. To keep them warm, we advise leaving some shelter in your garden or close outdoor space that they can retreat to should they be cold. This could be a cardboard box with some blankets.
Tips for keeping small animals warm
If you have a guinea pig or rabbit that lives outside, you can take a few steps to ensure they have a healthy, happy and comfortable winter.
- Move their hutch or run inside into a porch, a car-free garage, or a sheltered outbuilding, such as a shed or outhouse.
- If you cannot provide them with sheltered indoor space, you should consider adding extra insulation and waterproofing to protect them against the elements, including wind and rain.
- Provide them with additional straw/bedding to retreat into when it gets colder, but ensure you change this regularly.
- Wrap up their water bottles to stop them from freezing. You can wrap their bottle in bubble wrap or an old sock.
Keeping your house warm in the winter months to keep you and your pet warm
Whilst also ensuring your pets are kept warm, there are a few additional checks you can do around your house to ensure you keep yourself and your pets from the winter elements, including:
- Open your curtains when the sun is out to capture the heat which the sun generates
- Ensure all draughty areas within your home are insulated with an appropriate draught excluder
- Add keyhole covers to doors, where appropriate
- Keep all external windows and doors closed
- Introduce thermal curtains and door curtains where required
At Oak Barn Vets we are always here for you and your pet. If you are concerned about your pet this winter, please contact us in Guildford. Our contact details can be found here.