Raining (on) cats and dogs: Safeguarding your pet from winter's woes | Photos

RUGGED UP: Audrey the beagle sporting a fashionable and warm jumper to protect her from Orange's chilly winter.
RUGGED UP: Audrey the beagle sporting a fashionable and warm jumper to protect her from Orange's chilly winter.

WHILE there was no snow to be found in Orange’s backyards on the weekend, the temperature still fell to below freezing.

And with further icy days in the seven-day and month-long forecast, the RSPCA has some suggestions for pet owners to take to safeguard their animals’ health and well-being in the winter months.

The RSPCA’s Dr Bronwyn Orr wrote in an article at www.centralwesterndaily.com.au that residents may “have noticed your pet becoming less active since winter came to town”. 

“A comfortable body temperature is crucial to ensuring your pet’s welfare.”

Dr Orr suggested the following measures to keep your animals safe and healthy in the coming months:

KEEP YOUR PETS INSIDE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

Inside the house is going to be much warmer than outside, so this should be your first choice for your pets. If keeping them inside isn’t an option, make sure they have a shelter away from draughts, off the ground and with insulation, as well as plenty of warm and soft bedding to rest on. If your pet is inside, it’s also important to make sure their bed is away from draughts and off cold floors. Consider moving pet birds inside over winter as well, or provide warm and draught-free areas in the aviary.

DON’T CLIP YOUR DOG IN WINTER

Many dogs grow thicker winter coats and nature designed these to be warm for the coldest months of the year. Letting the coat grow or giving it only a little trim will ensure that your dog gets the most benefit from their warm coat. Continue to brush their fur throughout winter.

CLOTHE YOUR DOGS AND CATS IN A COAT

Dogs and cats with short hair will feel the chill the most, and may benefit from wearing a coat, especially when outside. Your local pet supplies store and department store are likely to have a great selection of affordable and easy to use styles and sizes available, and there are some great selections online as well. When using a coat or sweater, make sure your pet is comfortable wearing it and that they don’t get too hot. While you’re at the pet supply store, check out the heat pads you can get to pop into your pet’s bed as well. There are various kinds available, and there’s no doubt your short-haired or older pet will especially appreciate the added warmth at night.

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR STIFFENING LIMBS

Just like with people, the colder weather makes any niggling aches and pains your pet might have feel much worse. Diseases like arthritis are more noticeable when the temperature drops, so if you see your dog or cat is struggling to get out of bed and move around, particularly first thing in the morning, it is worth making a trip to the vet to check whether they are in pain.

TAKE EVERY CHANCE TO SNUGGLE UP

When the colder weather hits, we are much more likely to seek out warm spots and cover ourselves with warm clothes and blankets. Your pet has the same inclination, so when you find yourself putting on a sweater or sitting in a sunny spot, ask yourself whether your pet could be feeling the cold as well and what you can do to ensure they stay warm and comfortable. If nothing else, the chilly weather provides a great excuse to snuggle!

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