Keeping your pets warm during winter is crucial during cold seasons. Last year Johannesburg saw a record-low of -7꙳C, beating the previous record of -6.3꙳C from July 1995. The coldest minimum was recorded in Kimberley, who saw the mercury plummet to -9.9꙳C. So while you prepare for winter 2022 remember that your furry friends are depending on you to keep them warm and protected too.
Here are 13 tips on how to keep your pets warm and snug throughout winter
- Ensure that your pets have access to shelter and warm bedding. Preferably, keep them indoors in a cosy environment. Who doesn’t love spending more time snuggling up with a blanket and your fur babies?
- If your pets live outside, make sure that their shelter is waterproof and well insulated. The entrance should be shielded from the wind and rain. Add extra warm bedding and check that it remains dry. You may need to raise kennels slightly off the ground to prevent damp.
- Remember, if it’s too cold for you outside, the same is true for your pet. Check the local weather reports and if significantly cold temperatures are expected, bring them indoors. If you let them in the garage, ensure that their bedding is warm and is lifted off the cold concrete floor.
- Don’t keep puppies, kittens or other young animals outside in winter. They have not yet built up a resistance to the cold. Senior pets should preferably be indoors because their immune system is slower and they can get sick very quickly.
- Be sure to check your outdoor pet’s water dish regularly to ensure it’s not partially or completely frozen.
- Pets that live outdoors or spend considerable amounts of time in cold weather will burn more calories to maintain their body temperature. So, you need to add some extra food to your dog or cat’s daily meals.
- Continue exercising your pets. However, be mindful of how much time you spend outdoors with them. You don’t want to be out for too long periods of time when the temperature is less than 4꙳C. Remember to dry their paws and tummy when coming in, if it’s wet outside. If you stuck inside, play with your pets indoors.
- Remember to check for signs if your pet is too cold. These include shivering, holding up paws and alternating between legs, as well as slower movement or lack thereof; which can be a sign of hypothermia.
- If your pet is a smaller breed, short thin-haired breed, has low body fat or gets cold quickly, they will lose body heat easily. Get them a jacket to wear to maintain warmth. Booties can be used when going for walks, if your pet is okay with it.
- Bathe your pets less often in winter since this can remove essential oils from their skin that helps to keep them warm.
- Remember that your senior pets are a lot like us; whenever it gets colder they have more aches and pains as well.
- You had your flu shot didn’t you? Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
- Outdoor cats often seek shelter under cars (or in its hood) when it is cold. So if there are a lot of stray cats in your area check under your car or honk your horn before driving off.
Keeping your pets warm during cold winter months is crucial for their overall health and well-being. If you are unsure about the needs of a specific breed or notice anything unusual about your pet’s condition when it’s cold, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.