Keeping your pets safe and cosy in winter: simple tips for cats and dogs

As winter blankets the world in cold and frost, pet owners must take extra precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of their furry companions. At CPC Cares, we understand the deep bond shared with pets, and it is our mission to not only support grieving owners but also to promote proactive pet care. In this blog post, we’ll explore essential tips for keeping your pets safe and cosy in winter, helping you to create a warm and loving environment for your cherished companions.

Bundle up nice and toasty

Just like humans, pets can get cold too. Consider investing in cosy jumpers or jackets for your pets, especially if they have short fur. Breeds with thinner coats may benefit from extra layers during outdoor activities. Some pets might also benefit from wearing booties outside, to protect them from long exposure to the cold pavement and frost.

However, an extra concern in the winter are potential ice-melting chemicals and salt on the road, which can be very damaging to your pet’s paws and skin. Anti-freeze is poisonous to consume, so please make sure that any leaks or spills are quickly cleaned up, and the containers are kept safely out of reach. To prevent too much irritation from salt on your furry friends’ paws (or in their mouth if they lick their paws), consider wiping them off with a damp cloth as soon as you arrive back home again.

Create a warm sanctuary

Ensure your pets have a warm and comfortable place to rest indoors. Ensure that they have places to rest and lie down which are not directly on the floor; providing dog and cat beds, blankets or pillows should be perfect, and place these beds away from drafts and cold windows. Cats particularly appreciate cosy spots elevated off the floor, like window perches or above the radiator. For more sensitive pets, consider providing additional blankets or pet-specific heating pads to help keep the chill away.

If your pet never comes inside, and instead lives in the garden all year-round, make sure to provide an adequate shelter for them, covered, and elevated a bit off the ground so that it stays dry, with closed walls to prevent the wind from gusting through.

An additional note on the topic of warm sanctuaries – make sure to be careful before driving your car that an animal has not made a cosy sanctuary in or around your vehicle. Cats often decide to take shelter around cars, crawling into the wheel arches or even under the bonnet! So, be sure to knock on your bonnet and check under your car and on the wheels before starting it and driving off, particularly if it has been used recently and therefore is still warm.

Limit outdoor exposure

During harsh weather conditions, it’s a good idea to minimise the time your pets spend outdoors. Exposure to cold temperatures, icy winds, and snow can lead to frostbite or hypothermia. Schedule short and supervised outdoor breaks, and always keep a watchful eye on your furry friends. Watch for shivers or any signs of discomfort, and head back inside when needed. When outdoor play is limited, indoor games, toys, and treats keep the good times rolling. It’s not just about physical activity; mental stimulation and enrichment is key to a happy, content pet.

Winter grooming and combatting dryness

Maintain your pet’s coat in good condition during winter. Regular brushing not only helps remove loose fur but also improves circulation, keeping your pet warmer. If you usually get your pet’s coat cut, make sure not to cut it too short at this time of year, just providing trims when needed to keep it neat and practical. For our long-haired furry friends, ice balls can be a real hassle. Trim the hair between their paw pads to prevent those icy clumps. It’s a small grooming task that goes a long way in keeping them comfy!

To prevent accidentally stripping away necessary essential oils that protect against the cold, and keep the skin healthy and hydrated, avoid excessive bathing at this time of year. You can also consider using pet-safe paw balm to prevent dryness and cracking, which can be common in colder weather.

Watching out for their nutrition and hydration

Cold weather may require a slight adjustment to your pet’s diet. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure they are receiving the appropriate nutrients to maintain a healthy weight and a robust immune system during the winter months. And while it’s easy to remember the importance of hydration in the summer, it’s equally crucial during winter. Dehydration can still occur in colder weather, especially if heating systems are running, contributing to drier indoor air. So, ensure your pets have access to fresh and unfrozen water at all times.

Winter wanderings – collars, tags and microchipping

Snowy landscapes can confuse pets, increasing the chance of them getting lost. Be aware that it is a legal requirement for all dogs in the UK to be microchipped, so make sure your dog is chipped and your contact details on the microchip database are kept up to date. Also, all dogs should wear a collar and tag bearing the owner’s details whenever they are out in public. It’s a simple precaution for peace of mind.

Final thoughts

As the snow (potentially) falls and temperatures drop, let’s not forget the well-being of our beloved pets. By incorporating these winter safety tips into your routine, you can create a cosy haven for your cats and dogs, promoting their health and happiness. At CPC Cares, we believe that proactive care and attention to your pet’s needs can contribute to a long and joyous companionship. Stay warm and cherish the special moments with your furry friends this winter season.

While these tips were mainly for your cats and dogs, if you have other pets you are concerned about, please check out this blog by the RSPCA which features tips for more of your animals, small and large.

And if you were thinking of helping out your local wildlife during the cold months, check out these ideas from The Royal Horticultural Society.

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