6 Winter Care Tips for your Pets
As the temperature drops below 0 degrees celsius across The Netherlands this week, it’s important that we don’t forget to show our fur babies some love!
Many pet owners live with the misconception that because their pets have a coat of fur, they can tolerate the cold better than humans. This definitely isn’t the case. Domesticated animals have become so used to the warmth of their own home that they too feel the brunt of these bone-chilling days.
We have collated a list of 6 winter care tips for your pets that will have them purring and licking your face with thanks in no time!
#1 Keep outdoor play time to a minimum
Whether you’re taking your dog, cat or rabbit for a walk, make sure you keep them cosy with a winter jacket that doesn’t restrict their movement of course. As soon as you start feeling cold, chances are your animal does too. We recommend adjusting your outdoor play time schedule slightly - shorter stints more often will be much more comfortable than spending long periods of time outdoors.
#2 Take care of their paws
The sweet little cushions that cats and dogs have underneath their paws need to be protected too! Not only are they sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, they can also collect a lot of unwanted substances.
Picture this - you and your pet are out for a winter’s day walk, your pet collects some nasty Antifreeze or salt chemicals on its paws. Later on they give themselves a nice clean and end up licking the poison off! To avoid this potentially fatal situation, we recommend that you smear some vaseline on their paws (and wipe it all off later) or buy them a pair of stylish booties.
#3 When it comes to bedding - the more the better
Our pets live a life of luxury - sleep is on the agenda 90% of the day! It’s important that their beds are kept in cosy spots around the house. Keeping the bed away from drafts, cold tiles and uncarpeted flooring is a great idea. Adding a warm blanket to the mix is always recommended; this helps pets retain body heat during the colder months.
#4 Keep it au naturale!
Let your pet’s fur coat grow freely during the winter months to keep them nice and warm. As much as they hate being brushed, make sure you regularly comb out knots and mattes as these can interfere with their ability to regulate their body temperature. They’ll thank you for it later!
#5 How clear is the air up there?
Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, but it can lead to serious health problems in both people and pets. Our pets tend to spend more time at home than we do, so they are at a greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s a great idea to have your heating system checked for carbon monoxide leaks. Keeping carbon monoxide alarms in each of the heated rooms is also recommended - they will alert you (and your pet) when something isn’t quite right.
#6 A little extra food goes a long way
There’s a fine line when it comes to feeding pets. Make sure you take the time to observe how active (or inactive) your pet is during the winter season. If they are spending a lot of time resting, keep their meals small. If they are out and about a lot more than usual (perhaps trying to keep warm?!) give them some more food. Always buy food of high quality, their intestines are just as precious as ours!
Why not share the love for those living outside too?
Wild animals such as birds and hedgehogs could also do with some extra love during the winter months.
Putting out fat bulbs and bird feed for native birds is a nice touch - make sure you don’t overdo it on the food, and place the bird feeder up high to keep pests away. Supplementary feeding is not needed for birds, they get well prepared for the winter months by building up a layer of fat during autumn.
Plant shrubs that carry berries and fruits in the winter. Check out what berries are edible for birds in the winter on the Bird Protection website.
Leave loose branches and dead leaves clustered together for small animals to create warm homes and nests.
Take care of weak hedgehogs by feeding them a can of hedgehog or cat food. Giving them milk isn’t a good idea, but a small amount of water or ice shavings is appreciated. You can read more about caring for hedgehogs in this brochure from the Mammal Society.
These simple tips can make a world of difference for our furry best friends! Paying attention to your pet’s wellbeing this winter will ensure that you both make it through the chilly season happy and healthy (and with no crazy vet bills!).
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