Six ways to protect your pets in winter

There are still a couple of cold months left, so take note of these tips to keep your pets warm and safe.

Provide proper shelter

Depending on where you live in South Africa, winter temperatures can be brutal! Ideally you should move your pets indoors, but if that’s not an option, ensure they have dry shelter and protection from the elements. Face kennels away from wind and rain and keep them raised off the ground to avoid dampness. Don’t forget to add warm bedding!

Ensure proper nutrition

Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors in winter burn more energy, so will need extra food. Animals that become sedentary may need less – your vet can advise you. Just like humans, pets are less inclined to drink water on chilly days, but hydration is essential. Replace metal water bowls (which hold the cold) with plastic ones and fill regularly with room temperature water.

Keep their coats

Dogs rely on body hair for warmth, so don’t shave their fur in winter. If you have a short- or fine-haired hound, a pet jacket will provide welcome comfort and protection, especially when outdoors.

Maintain exercise

It’s important for pets to remain active in winter, so keep their regular exercise routine – whether that be dog walks, trips to the park or chasing balls in the garden. Just remember to dry off their coat and wipe down their paws afterwards, especially if it’s damp or muddy.

On dismal days, have indoor games ready to prevent boredom (and possible mischief) setting in!

Watch out for heaters

Don’t leave pets unattended around heaters, fireplaces, ovens and hot stovetops as they may gravitate towards the warmth and burn themselves. Be careful of wires and extension cords too.

Remember tick and flea protection

This is necessary all-year-round. Don’t dip your animals in winter though, rather use another protective product. Consider stretching out their baths too (daily brushing helps remove dirt and grime) or schedule them for warm days only.

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