During the winter we can get so hung up on trying to get to work in the snow or battling the constant sniffles that we can often forget just how much the winter effects our pets. Although household pets can seem more resilient to the winter than use humans, they can actually suffer a lot during the colder months. If you are a pet owner there are a few things you can do to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy during the winter period.
Take care of their paws
Paws, ears and tails are the places on animals like cats and dogs that are most likely to get frostbite when the weather turns really cold. For the ears and tail there really isn't a lot you can do aside from ensuring that they are not out for extended periods of time in the frost and snow. Although it isn't likely that a cat will wear booties, most dogs will and these will protect against the cold and also harmful chemicals like deicing agents. Because the paws are constantly on the ground it really is worth investing in some of these if you have a pet that requires long walks.
Do some calorie control
It really isn't just humans that have the temptation to load up on calories during the colder parts of the year. As well as being partial to over-eating when the weather gets cold, many pets are a lot less likely to do physical exercise. Cats are especially well known for this and will often just go out to go to the toilet in conditions like snow and rain. If you notice that your pet is less active then you should consider reducing their daily calorie intake to stop them becoming overweight. Similarly, if you have a dog that absolutely loves the snow and wants to go out in it more - you can increase their food portions to make sure they have enough energy for all of the extra play.
Block really hot heat sources
It may seem a bit mean to block off access to that radiator your cat loves sitting on, or that warm patch near the fire the dog constantly occupies from November onwards - but it can actually make pets quite unwell. Because they are not as able to regulate their own body temperature as well as humans they can quickly overheat without realising. The drastic change in body temperature from normal to really hot can also cause health problems. Try and get your pet use to the temperature increase in your house as a whole rather than just letting them focus on one really warm spot. With both cats and dogs although they are always inclined to curl up in the hottest possible place they can - they do not need to. Their coats do a great job of keeping them naturally warm and many similar animals survive in the wild during the winter.