Caring for your pet as it gets colder

Sporty woman and her dog

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While we take on the colder months with big coats, heavier duvets and thicker socks, our furry friends might not be feeling quite as cosy or comfortable. Even though they have their very own fur coat, it’s worth taking a few extra steps to make sure they stay warm and mobile this upcoming winter.

From the paws upwards

Some dogs are blessed with more fur than others, and if this is the case, you should (carefully) cut around their paws to stop ice balls forming between their pads and toes, which can be extremely painful for your pooch. Grooming products and regular trims will help you and your furry pal take on the cold in comfort.

These paws were made for walking

As roads are often gritted or salted during the winter months, you might want to consider a new route if this is the case in an area that you walk your dog regularly. If you do happen to walk through rough terrain, make sure you thoroughly wipe their paws and footpads when you return to avoid any irritation and to stop them from licking it off themselves.

Home and dry

Walking your dog should still be a regular occurrence during the colder months, and you should continue to let your cat outside as often as they need, but be sure to give them a place of refuge when they return. Providing a place for your pet to warm up and relax after a period outside will keep them comfortable and help them recover quickly. It might even be worth moving their bed to a warmer part of the house during the winter. If they’re particularly chilly, a pet blanket can help too.

For cats, a cat flap during the colder months is ideal, giving them the freedom to come and go as they please, and ensuring they have the flexibility to pop out to do their business as and when they need to, even when it’s cold and their less inclined.

Out there? No thanks.

As the weather turns, your pet might be less interested in leaving the house. If this is the case, keep them mentally stimulated with games and indoor toys, and consider reducing how much food they eat to avoid them gaining any extra pounds. Gentle exercise should still be a priority, so try and keep them as active as you can.

Accessories, accessories

We know how difficult it can be to walk your dog during the winter, particularly when it’s dark and drizzling, but staying active is so important. Some breeds are more susceptible to feeling the chill than others, so planning and preparing for the period can really help. Stock up on winter staples, like flashing lights and a retractable lead, so your dog remains visible in the dark and is free to roam on your outings, with the option for you to rein them in if you need to.

Choosing appropriate accessories for your pooch can be helpful, from booties to protect their paws to jumpers and coats that keep the chill out. Some dogs will shun boots, even if you know they’re for their own good, and so in this instance be sure to wipe down their paws when you get back. This will help remove anything harmful that might have lodged in their footpads.

Supplements and solutions

For older and wiser pets, the winter months can be harder to endure, particularly for pooches that suffer with arthritis or stiff joints. Keeping them warm, mobile and staying on top of supplements can aid this. Regular exercise will help, but keep it on the gentler side. Specific vet diets can also support them, as well as other treatments and solutions that cater for dogs in their golden years. Remember to seek advice from a qualified vet if you have concerns that your pet is suffering from arthritis or other mobility issues.

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