Healthspan December 21, 2017

If you’re feeling the realities of winter, your pets probably are too. Make sure their winter wellbeing is taken care of with these tips and tricks…

Grab your coat

If it’s cold enough to reach for your coat, you might want to grab your dog’s coat too if they’re a small, lean or short-haired breed, have a medical condition or are either very old or very young. Make sure any clothing fits them properly and doesn’t restrict their mobility or irritate their skin (Velcro, zips and buckles are often common culprits). The best options cover their neck and belly.

Time to glow

Cats and clothing tend not to go together but for all outdoor cats, a glow-in-the-dark or reflective collar is often a wise investment. You should be able to get 1-2 fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck; collars that are too loose or too tight are both potentially dangerous. Always check the collar again a few minutes afterwards, as many cats will tense their neck muscles while you’re fitting it!

Clean up…

We deploy rock salt and anti-freeze against ice and snow, but they can cause real health dangers to pets. If they are being used in your area, wash your dog’s feet in warm, soapy water after they have been outdoors (or their whole body if they’ve been rolling around in the snow or ice). It’s also helpful to clip the fur between their toe pads.

Cosy evenings

Cosying up in front of the fire or electric heater with a few candles burning sounds like the perfect winter evening, but a few adjustments will need to be made to keep everyone safe and cosy.

Open fires

Sparks can result in severe burns but even if your fireplace has a glass door, pets can still get burns from coming into contact with it. Never leave your pet alone around fire, ensure there is a protective screen in place at all times and avoid games or any excitable activity anywhere near the fire.

Electric heaters

Always choose one that automatically switches off when tipped.

Electric blankets

There’s no feeling like a warm bed but if you have an electric blanket, you shouldn’t be sharing it. Pets can damage the wires by clawing or chewing, bringing a risk of fire or electrocution.

Candles

With lively four-legged friends, candles can be knocked over in a flash. Try candles with a light bulb rather than an open flame or place your candle in a bowl of water which is large enough to accommodate the full length of the candle (and the flame) if it gets knocked over.

The pests

Your centrally-heated home and your pet’s warm body are the perfect nesting ground for fleas, ticks and worms, so don’t make the mistake of stopping your pet’s flea and worm protection. Pests can survive all year-round in your home; even outside it takes much longer, at much lower temperatures than you might expect, to kill them.

Safeguard their health

January is when many of us vow to start taking better care of ourselves. For our pets, ramping up the exercise at this time of year can be tricky (at least outside) but their diet can be more easily managed. If you’re putting them on a diet, make sure they’re getting all the vitamins they need with a multivitamin.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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