Vet Talk with Dr Kyra

Preparing Your Pet For Winter Weather

We’ve just endured a roasting hot summer on the Gold Coast and so have our pets!   Summer is particularly challenging for our older fur kids and those with thick coats – it can really take its toll.   So for many of us (pet pals included) the cooler months can’t come fast enough. Keep in mind that your daily pet care must adapt to the cooler months – it’s important to keep pets comfortable and warm.

If your pal sleeps outside, ensure they have a well-insulated shelter that is rain and windproof. Raise the shelter off the ground to prevent dewy moisture building up overnight.   A warm coat will also provide warmth – though some dogs simply won’t tolerate a coat. For indoor pets, ensure their bed is placed in a warm, safe place. On those super chilly nights, throw a blanket on for extra warmth.

Have you ever noticed that you feel hungrier in winter?   That is because our calorie requirements increase in order to keep our bodies warm.   Naturally, the same applies for our pets. The trick is in not “overfeeding” them during this time of year. And although pets will drink less in winter, it’s still important to make sure there is plenty of fresh water available.

Also with winter comes shorter daylight hours – for many dogs this often results in less walks and park/beach trips. It’s vital that we keep their minds stimulated in order to ward off undesirable behaviour (excessive barking, digging etc). I suggest playing games and giving them extra one-on-one attention. Get their brains working to supply mental enrichment.

Like humans, animals can suffer from arthritic pain – often worse in cooler weather. Signs of arthritis include lameness/limping, licking joints, difficulty rising, not wanting to play, inappropriate toileting or accidents inside the house, and vocalization/aggression. Your vet can treat the pain associated with arthritis – so make an appointment if you have any concerns. I would also recommend investing in a comfortable and supportive pet bed.

Dr Kyra Craft BVSc (Hons) – Head Veterinarian – Wet Noses Mobile Vet

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