10 Tips to Warm Your Pet
Winter is on the way, folks! The cold and clammy fingers of winter have started to slide under your pets' collars so here are ten cool tips to warm your pets.
1. Check Up Time
Now is the time to take your pet to your vet for a winter check up. Older pets are especially prone to the adverse effects of winter.
Arthritis commonly disables pets in cold weather with many dogs or cats having difficulty rising after snoozing. Some are stiff and sore for most of the winter. Warmth helps but medications play a vital role in treating arthritis.
2. Hot Jobs
Don't forget your routine pet care jobs. While fleas are less of a problem in winter, the flea eggs in your home are just waiting for the warmer weather to arrive. Proper flea control preparations continued over winter will prevent these eggs from hatching in the following summer.
Maintain your pet's heartworm prevention over winter because the mosquitoes that spread heartworm are still present in the cooler months. The Once-a-Year Heartworm Injection will save your pet from your memory lapses.
3. In Hot Water
To keep a pet comfortable and warm at night, why not give it a hot water bottle?
To be safe, don't use boiling or hot water in case your pet chews the container and burns itself. The bottle must be insulated with a thick covering.
A plastic soft drink container filled with warm water from the tap works well. Cover the container with a towel, a thick sock or the sleeve of an old woollen jumper and your pet will be as warm as toast.
Ordinary rubber hot water bottles are good, and for a touch of class, you can buy some quaint hot water bottle covers in the shapes of tigers, dogs and cats that will make your pet smile.
Microwave-able hot water bottles are also available. Please use with care and follow heating instructions. Always place in a cover or under blankets, not directly in contact with your pet.
4. Virtual Buddies
It you want to spoil your pet, why not give it its own warm teddy-bear-equivalent? Choose from a wide range of soft, plush toys for your pet to snuggle up to, or even ones with a battery-operated beating heart for the ultimate cuddle companion. These are especially soothing for young puppies who have recently left their mums.
5. Nice Rice
Another alternative is to put a cup of rice in an old, thick sock. Heat the sock in the microwave for a minute or two. The rice is also safe if your pet happens to eat it and the sock won't leak water! The sock must be of thick fabric to prevent burns.
6. Heat Packs
Thermostatically controlled heat pads can be placed under a pet's bed and, provided your pet will not chew the electric lead, the pads are a good way of providing soft, gentle heat. Ask your vet to order one in for you.
7. Hot Beds
Now is a good time to consider buying your pet a warm bed to replace that flea and hair ridden old blanket your pet has had for decades. Beds come in a variety of shapes, including comfy cushions, pet futons, foam-padded 'igloos', donut shapes, beds with built-in blankets, and many more. Cats and dogs just love to snuggle up in their very own bed.
8. Hot Property
If your dog sleeps outside then provide it with a warm kennel. A wooden kennel with an elevated floor is ideal. Place thick bedding in the kennel to add extra warmth.
To make the dog love the kennel, put a plug-in DAP Pheromone diffuser into the kennel (available from your vet). The pheromone will attract the dog to the kennel and make it a peaceful den but be careful where you put the power lead.
If you are in a particularly cold area, move the kennel to the western aspect of the yard where it will be warmer but don't leave it in this location in summer.
9. Hot Fashions
Of course, you can also give your dog or cat the latest in pet coats. A huge range is available from fleecy or suede-look indoor coats all the way to waterproof coats for protection from the rain and padded and quilted coats for cold conditions outdoors.
Don't forget the value of exercise for you and your pets. It's one of the best ways of warming up and, in this cooler weather, your pet won't have to run the risk of heat stress and that of walking on burning hot bitumen.
By Dr Cam Day BVSc - Last updated