Caring for Your Pets in Chilly Weather: Winter Tips for Dogs and Cats


by Barbara Csernai



As the UK experiences the chilling embrace of Arctic winds, it’s not just humans bundling up in their thickest coats; our pets need a little extra care during the cold spell too. Here are some tips to ensure the well-being of your furry companions in the frosty weather.

Keeping Pets Warm Indoors:

Just like humans, animals are susceptible to hypothermia in extremely cold conditions. The Veterinary charity PDSA recommends providing extra blankets for your dogs and cats during the winter months. Elevated beds can help older dogs avoid draughts, while cats might appreciate cozy high-up dens. Additionally, offering extra playtime indoors ensures that your pets stay active, compensating for the reduced time spent outside. Interactive indoor toys can be particularly engaging for your furry friends.

Walking Your Dog in Cold Weather:

Dogs still need their regular walks during cold weather, as their fur usually provides adequate warmth. However, some dogs, especially those with shorter fur, may require additional assistance to stay warm during their walks. PDSA vet Dr. Catherine Burke suggests considering a coat, particularly for very young or old dogs or those underweight due to medical reasons. It’s essential that coats and jumpers are comfortably fitted, allowing freedom of movement. The RSPCA advises caution around iced-over ponds and lakes that may not support a dog’s weight and stresses the importance of washing paws thoroughly after walking in areas treated with rock salt, which can be harmful to pets.

Caring for Smaller Pets:

Smaller pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets can also feel the impact of cold temperatures. The PDSA recommends relocating outdoor hutches to a shed or car-free garage, providing protection from draughts, rain, or snow. If indoor relocation is not possible, placing a blanket or carpet over their living quarters can offer some insulation. Dr. Burke emphasizes creating a cooler room for these pets, even turning off radiators if needed.

Should Cats Stay Indoors?

While cats adore outdoor exploration, during cold weather, it’s advisable to keep them inside overnight. However, if your feline friend insists on braving the cold, ensure they have access to shelter or a cat flap to return indoors. During the day, allow cats the option to go outside if they are accustomed to outdoor activities.

In conclusion, a little extra attention and care go a long way in ensuring the comfort and health of your pets during cold weather. By implementing these tips, you can make the winter months more enjoyable for both you and your beloved furry companions.

Source: BBC