Winter is Coming: 6 Tips to Help Your Senior Pet During the Cold Weather
Winter is coming. For our senior pets, the sudden drop in temperature can be difficult for them to handle. Joint pain can be made worse by the cold weather, they may be reluctant to exercise and overall have a lower mood state.
Here are some tips that may help:
Laminate or tiled floors are great for keeping cool in the summer, but come winter time, they can be uncomfortable for our pets. Consider changing to a raised bed (if your pet is mobile and able to climb onto a higher bed). Otherwise, pad underneath their bed with thick blankets or foam to provide a barrier between the bed base and cold floor. If your pet likes to snuggle, provide blankets or even a covered bed for cats.
Beds away from doors and windows:
Doorways and windows can have a draught. Move their beds or resting spots away from the cold breeze. During the day, they may like to lie in the warm spots where the sun shines through the window. Once the sun settles, move their bedding to a warmer area.
For dogs, your walking routine may have to be adjusted slightly to avoid walks in the cold. Here is South Africa the mornings can be exceptionally cold, but by mid morning the sun usually warms things up significantly. Rather than drag your dog out of bed into the cold air, make your walks a little later in the day, or skip that morning walk on cold days and go out in the evening where temperatures are more comfortable. Instead of the morning walk, try some indoor enrichment activities to mentally stimulate them.
Elderly cats can be let outside a little later in the mornings and called home a little earlier so they are in a place of warmth.
Keep those joints moving:
Your pet may be more reluctant to exercise when it is cold. However, it is important to keep limbs mobile, for joint fluidity and to promote good circulation. This doesn’t mean making them walk if they are reluctant to do so. Animal massage and fitness are all elements that can be investigated and implemented at home. We advise you contact your veterinarian or animal physiotherapist for guidance.
Try and instigate a play session so your pet keeps moving at the same time as having fun.
Don’t ignore changes:
Does your pet seem stiff and reluctant to stand, walk or is their appetite reduced? These are all significant changes that should not be ignored. They may indicate a underlying problem, pain or disease. Rather than assume it is a part of growing old, seek veterinary advice. There is usually something that can be prescribed to make your pet more comfortable.
Bust out the winter wardrobe:For those that tolerate wearing clothes or a coat, a few winter clothing pieces may be just what they need. A coat for walks, a jersey for indoors and fleece pjs are all worth having at home.