Ensuring a pet friendly winter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:37 AM, January 16, 2018


Ensuring a pet friendly winter

As the temperatures are finally starting to drop in the city we prepare ourselves with an army of winter goodies to keep us insulated throughout these months, and stock up on herbal essentials to avoid catching a cold. What we often overlook are the needs of our furry little friends. Sure they have a thick coat, but when it starts to get real cold simply these are not sufficient anymore.


With the cold, we change our diet by the slightest, take in more fatty foods that burn to keep us warm from the inside. Pets too need some changes in their diets depending on their daily activities. While some love going out to play in the cold, some like to stay back inside. The more the activity, the more nutrients s/he should be receiving from the diet. If you are unsure as to how to balance it out, contact your vet for the changes required.


If your pet is one that walks on four feet, then those feet need some extra attention and care. As the floors start getting cooler we slip our feet in cosy slippers. The same should be done for our pets as well. This is especially the case when they go out for walks. If the pet refuses to keep the boots on, which is only normal, you can always try socks. If all else fails, try to minimise their contact with the ground when outside, as much as possible.


As your home starts to get cold, the pets will seek out all the sources of heat in the home to keep themselves warm. This could lead to an utter disaster if they end up reaching the stove or if they come in contact with fires or hot water. Always keep the heat sources away from all pets, and always keep a keen eye out to prevent them from reaching these places.


Just like how we reduce the number of baths during the cold, the same applies for our beloved pets as well. And although we can comfort ourselves with a lot of moisturiser, our pets cannot do the same . Cutting out baths altogether is bad idea as it can lead to allergies and other diseases, so it is advised to reduce the number of baths altogether. Change up your pet's regular shampoos for a more soothing and moisturising one to prevent discomforts from the dry skin.


We love snuggling in into our warm beds at night and our pets feel no different. So give them a proper sleeping space, with lots of warm blankets, and make sure to keep it off of the ground, and away from windows and walls.


Make sure to keep your cats and dogs on leash, or in sight at all times. If they run off or get lost, especially during the night, hypothermia might set in. This will make the pet's muscles stiff, their heart rates will go down and they will eventually collapse. The worst case scenario is that they will lose their lives. So it is very crucial to not lose them in these times.


This is one of the biggest things we overlook, yet one of the easiest ways to give them some comfort and keep them from getting diseases. Get your pets their own sweaters that will prevent them from freezing when they go out for walks.


We all love grooming our pets, but never shave their fur down completely in the winter. In fact keep them fluffed up for as long as possible. The longer their fur the more heat they trap around their bodies and stay warmer for longer. However make sure to not let it grow out too much, as that will make it difficult to dry after baths.


As hard as winter can be on cats, dogs and other mammals that we usually pet, it can be worse on birds. Avian are mostly comfortable in warm temperatures, so the slightest drop in temperature can be very harmful to its health. For starters keep it warm and dry by moving its cage inside. Following that cover its cage with cloth after sundown, this will provide a nice warm environment for it. It is important to keep it away from the kitchen or direct heat sources. Birds have a very sensitive respiratory system and fumes can be bad for its health.


Care for our fish in the colder months is often overlooked as they are kept inside. Different fish strive in different temperatures, and also perish in different temperatures. It is always wise to invest in an aquarium heater to regulate the temperature according to your fish. Contact your vet to know how to adjust the heat and when to do so to keep your gill-mates alive and healthy in these cold months.


Vaccination is a must if you do not wish to lose your pets for good. The cold wreaks havoc on our pet's health. This is specially the case for cats, who might even lose their lives in diseases caught in the cold. So it is very crucial that you contact your vets if you have not already.

Until the flowers of spring start to bloom, all pets need care, and most of the times a lot more than humans do. Winter can affect them in numerous ways, from simple colds to virus attacks, so if you see your pet facing any physical problems or insecurities make sure to take them to a vet right away.


Photo: Collected

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