Easy winter pet tips for colder weather

Dr Kim Filmer, Chief Animal Welfare Officer for the NSW Department of Primary Industries shares her winter pet tips to keep your furry friend warm and healthy.

It may seem obvious, but winter is a good time to double-check that your pets can protect themselves from poor weather and high winds. Short and sparsely-haired breeds, such as whippets, feel the cold more than other dogs for example.  There are some simple things you can do to ensure winter is more comfortable for your pet.

Shelter indoors

If your dog is usually outside, bring them indoors if possible. Placing their bed somewhere warm and dry, away from cold drafts and damp is ideal.

Managing stiff / sore joints 

Winter is often the time when owners first notice their pets are aging. Pets might be stiffer in the morning, avoid stairs or be more reluctant to jump up. Arthritis is a painful condition that can affect the quality of life of dogs and cats. Your vet can diagnose this disease and prescribe medications to help relieve stiffness or pain.

More great tips for senior pets.

Bedding and clothing 

Purchasing a jacket or clothing to keep your pet warm is also a good option, but if your dog or cat dislikes wearing winter coats, focus on updating their bedding or layering with warm fleece blankets. Placing carpet squares or heavy blankets between your pet’s bed and the floor can also help reduce heat loss.

Battle of the bulge 

We are often indoors more with our pets during winter, who look to us for food and treats.  Overfeeding can cause obesity and other health issues, so try to keep a regular exercise schedule with your pet. Moderate exercise encourages healthy circulation and muscle tone, which in turn supports sore joints. However, as joints can be stiffer, especially in older animals, make sure you don’t overdo it.

This information is provided as general information only. For specific advice and information regarding your pet, we recommend that you seek the advice of your veterinarian.