How to Keep Pets Warm in Winter
Warming tips for pets, especially seniors
Keeping your furry friends warm and comfortable becomes a top priority in winter. This is especially important for older dogs and cats, who may face additional challenges in the cold. Let's look at how we can make winter a pleasant experience for our loveable companions, with a special focus on senior pets.
While your pet probably has a preferred resting spot, consider swapping the bedding for a cozier one during winter, especially if your pet stays outdoors. Think of it as adding a comforter to your bed for that extra warmth and snugness. A thicker, more cushy bed can be all your pet needs, but investing in a heated mat can provide dogs and cats with extra warmth. These heating pads are designed to maintain a consistent temperature, offering a cozy sweet spot for any pet and relieving the aging joints and muscles of older pets. For all you pet owners who believe your cat or dog deserves nothing but the best, look for a bed with adjustable settings to cater to your furry overlord's specific comfort level.
Our pets need to work harder to stay warm in winter, so a complete and balanced diet is necessary, along with access to clean, fresh, unfrozen water. But, are supplements necessary? If the diet is on track, maybe not. If your dog or cat is prone to dry skin and joint pain, maybe so. For older pets with skin issues, arthritis, or joint pain aggravated by the cold, supplements can make a positive difference. Supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine, can aid skin health, reduce inflammation, and promote joint flexibility, especially for older pets with arthritis or joint pain. As always, consult your veterinarian to determine the right supplements for your pet's individual needs.
A cozy and insulated shelter is essential, especially if your pet is exclusively outdoors or spends extended time outdoors. Ensure the shelter is dry, windproof, draft-free, and elevated off the ground to prevent cold from seeping in. In addition to a warm doghouse or cat shelter, extra bedding, blankets, straw, or wood shavings for extra warmth is always a winner. If you add straw or hay, change it frequently to prevent flea infestations.
Coats, Sweaters & Boots
Most cats are naturally equipped for winter, even possessing a gift called piloerection that allows them to extend their hair in cold weather, resulting in a thicker coat for better insulation. The general rule is that cats do not need additional clothing ꟷ unless, you know, they’re royalty! So, we’ll stick to dogs for this one.
Protecting your dog from the winter chill in wearables depends on the breed — and, of course, the pet parent. Generally, smaller dogs, including those that are toy-sized, miniature, short, or have clipped coats, can benefit from additional warmth. This also applies to lean dogs and senior dogs. With age, heat regulation can decline in pets, arthritis can set in, and the immune system can weaken, all reasons to bundle up your pal in a quality winter coat or sweater to keep them snug while outside in cold weather.
At ground level, booties can protect paws from freezing temperatures and harmful substances like ice melt. If your pooch continuously licks its footpads, picks up a limp, or shows splits or cracks in its pads, look into booties.
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