Winter Warmers

Winter can present many challenges for both people and their pets, but staying warm with your furry friends can be much easier than you think. There are only a few key things to remember with your pets and chilly weather, three easy-to-follow rules. 

Keep them warm, keep them healthy, keep them safe. 

Keep Your Pets Warm 

As the temperature drops, your furry friends will need some help with staying warm. While it may look as though your pet has in-built protection from the cold, it’s important to keep them comfortable and protected from the elements. 

If it’s cold for you outside, then it’s cold for your pet too. Keep your animals (big or small) warm indoors or in weather-proof shelter. Remember that very young, elderly, and sick animals will be more vulnerable to lower temperatures. As a precaution, keep them indoors to ensure they are sheltered from the cold. 

 If you are caring for smaller animals, bring them indoors overnight. If you are unable to bring them inside, ensure they are protected from the elements. Their outdoor hutch should have a weatherproof space, complete with warm, quality bedding. Their dwellings should also be raised from the ground to prevent frost and water getting in. 

Dressing your pets in warm clothes may help them regulate their body temperature. This is particularly important for animals with naturally shorter coats of fur. Ensure your pet is comfortable with the outfit that you gift them. Some animals don’t like wearing clothes – no matter how cosy they might seem! 


Keep Your Pets Healthy 

During winter, it may be tempting to turn into a couch potato, but giving your animals regular exercise remains important all year round.  

Dogs will hate being cooped up, but their exercise needs remain the same. If it’s too cold or rainy outside, you could play indoor hide-and-seek, buy a food-dispensing toy, or do some trick training to keep them engaged. For more enrichment resources and ways to exercise your pet indoors, have a look through our website and keep your animals happy and fit. 

Pets will also benefit from a little extra food in their bowls over the winter months, as they will require extra energy to maintain their body temperature. Be mindful to watch your pet’s weight though as too much food can lead to obesity problems. 

Additionally, your pets can just as easily become dehydrated in winter as they can in summer. Be sure your furry friend has easy access to fresh drinking water and remember that snow is not an adequate alternative for your pet. 


Keep Your Pets Safe 

Although the cold might have you focused on keeping your lovable furry friends warm, the winter weather can bring new and unexpected challenges for their safety. 

Heating appliances and flames can pose serious risk to pets, who may investigate fires or power cords if not kept safely out of reach.  

If you do not have an undercover area to position a pets’ outdoor shelter or hutch, tarpaulins can help protect your pets’ home from the dangerous effects of the wind and rain. However, if extreme weather occurs, bring your animals inside wherever possible. 

The dangers facing outdoor cats increases dramatically during the winter. Cats may find your car to be a warm and inviting spot to cuddle. They may hide beneath the hood, on top of the wheels, and in other tight spots in your vehicle. To avoid injuring any cats that are simply seeking warmth, check under and around your car before starting your engine.  

Even if you don’t personally own a cat, inspecting your car is always a good idea as stray or neighbourhood cats may still use your car for shelter. 

Cats are naturally drawn to warm places to take shelter from the cold, so inviting your cat inside during winter might be the perfect opportunity for them to learn how to live safely and happily at home. 

For more information about transitioning cats to a safer life indoors, visit the RSPCA NSW website. Alternatively, check out our blog for more helpful in-depth guides.