Winter has arrived! The top thing to remember for this season is this: if you’re feeling cold, so are your pets. Keeping them warm during the chilly months will help keep them healthy and happy. Here are a few things to keep pets warm through winter:

  1. A warm and cosy bed – Pull that pet bed closer to the heater or add a heatpad to keep them extra warm. Keep the bed away from places with a draft or raise it off the floor if you do not have underfloor heating or insulation. A simple solution would be to throw in an extra blanket made of fleece during colder months. For smaller pets like birds, rabbits and mice, make sure you keep their cages in the warm, dry area of your home. Outdoor pets, on the other hand, can be kept warm with extra straw in their bedding.
  2. Food and water – These are essential for keeping your pets healthy and warm in winter. Some pets eat more during the colder months. However, indoor pets who sleep more in winter may need less food. So, feed according to your pets’ specific situation.
  3. Exercise – This is a good way for both pets and humans to break a sweat. If your dog is used to going out on walks in summer and warmer months, the cold is no reason to stop. Do remember to check their paws as frost and salt (and snow in other parts of NZ) can accumulate in their paws and make walking difficult. If the rains are keeping you indoors, then change up the routine with some games like hide and seek.
  4. Pet clothes – Another way to keep your fur-babies warm is with pet clothing. Jackets, coats and jumpers in different styles are available online and in different pet stores. You could also custom-make your own by knitting one for your pet. Just make sure these are the right size so you don’t end up with distressed pet.
  5. Lots of love – Nothing warms up a cold pet like a bit of attention. Give them big hugs or let them cuddle with you in your warm bed.

Pay close attention to your pets during winter. Senior pets may have trouble moving in the colder months – if this is the case, it could be a sign of arthritis. If you notice sudden changes in behaviour or energy-level, it may be a good idea to bring them to your veterinarian for a quick check.