Winter Pet Care.
So,we’re right in the middle of ‘winter’. I think we have had one of the mildest December’s and January’s for some time. Here in North Yorkshire, we’ve only had a handful of frosty days. We’ve had more rain than snow and it’s been quite miserable to tell the truth!
However, we are all prepared for winter – little man has snow boots, warm winter coats, gloves, hats etc, you know the usual stuff. But what about Bella our Yellow Labrador and Honey, our Tortoiseshell cat?
The cat. Well. Honey is a typical cat. She’s not the most affectionate unless it’s on her terms. She is in and out through the day with lots of sleeping in cosy places but tends to be out a lot at night.
Bella is a soft wuss! She doesn’t recognise her gorgeous bed with hand sewn cover, as that, it’s more a punishment in her eyes. Sofa’s and chairs are her domain – the sofa preferably but being a wuss, if the cat has claimed it, she’d rather squeeze onto an armchair!
She is so gorgeous though and demands attention at all times unless she is sleeping. We do have a coat for her for when it’s really, really cold or tipping it down torrentially but she prefers not to wear it and turns into a statue when we first put it on. Do any of you dress your cats? I’ve seen pictures on the internet of cats in jumpers but there is no way I’d try that with Honey – I’d rather take on an alligator than her as she can be lethal!
So is there anything you can or need to do to look after your pets in winter?
Yes. It’s not a necessity but if you like to or if your pet is unwell or elderly, you can do things for them.
If it gets really cold, have a pot of paw balm at the ready. You know how chapped lips feel and your pets paws can crack and get chapped also. It’s a simple way to help your best friend. Make sure that you get an animal specific balm though as they are likely to lick some of it off.
Making sure that you dry them if they get soaked and drying their paws and pads is a great way of keeping them in good health.
If your animals are hardy and you’re happy for them to take care of their own needs, one thing that you might consider is to wash and dry their paws if road salt spreaders have been out in your area. The salt crystals are sharp enough to cut paws and then we all know what it’s like when you get salt in a cut. Even if there is no cut, salt can still irritate them.
If you need to de-ice your footpath or driveway, a good tip to avoid salt or more importantly, poisonous de-icer, is cat litter. It won’t melt the ice as quickly as other methods but it will provide traction for your shoes to grip and is safe if your dog or cat licks their paws after walking on the surface.
On that note- if you use anti freeze, make sure you clean any spill up as an ingredient, ethylene glycol is so tasty to our pets- they love it, but it is deathly poisonous. This particular tip is brought to you from my friend who is a star of the tv show ‘The Yorkshire Vet’ so make sure you take it seriously.
Pet insurance to me, is vital, what ever time of the year and is something I factored in to the cost of owning both Honey and Bella. It can be expensive but not as expensive as vets bills! I personally use Petplan dog insurance and cat insurance. I received 4 weeks free insurance with them when each pet was microchipped. Don’t forget that legally, you must have your dog chipped from April 6th 2016.
Dogs noses in winter.
Has your dogs previously black nose started to go pink? When this happens, it is nearly always due to ‘winter nose’ or ‘snow nose’. Some dogs noses start to lighten and go pink in a patch due to the cold weather and may return to a darker colour as the weather improves. Labradors are prone to this and Bella has not been left out….
Occasionally, the change in colour can mean that the dog has an underlying health problem but the nose is likely to look inflamed, sore, crusty and unhealthy. If you are concerned, ask your Vet for advice.
Fingers crossed that the worst of winter is behind us but if not, I hope some of these tips will help.
I was asked to write about this subject by Petplan but as always, all thoughts are my own.