Winter Pet Health

We’re well into the colder season, when it’s important to wrap up warm and look after ourselves. That goes for our pets, too! In the winter, you may have to make some changes to your pet’s routine to keep them happy and healthy. That’s why, at The Insurance Emporium, we’ve put together our winter pet health tips, to show you what to look out for and to help keep your pets healthy over the colder season!

Dark nights can be dangerous

hi vis dog coat

Winter weather goes hand in hand with dark nights. And these can come with a few problems for your pets! Visibility is obviously affected, so be careful when letting your cat out if you live on a busy road and take precautions when walking your dog. Collars with LED lights, hi-vis leads, and dog coats can all help your dog be seen by others (and yourself!) while you’re out walking. Where you can, though, it might be best to walk your furry friend while it’s still light out!

The impact of cold weather

While many dogs and cats have coats which naturally protect them from the cold, that doesn’t mean they don’t feel the winter chills at all! There are a few things you’ll need to look out for in the cold:

Thinner-coated dogs

winter pet health dog with coat

Dogs with thinner coats, like Greyhounds, Staffies and Dalmatians, will feel the cold much more than their fluffier, furrier friends. In the cold weather, it’s a good idea to wrap up warm. So if your dog has a thinner coat of fur, you might want to compensate by putting a dog coat on them!

Cats in cold weather

Over the winter, it’s natural for cats to find somewhere warm and cosy to curl up, so make sure there are plenty of spots in the house for your pet to get comfy! If your cat likes going outside, be careful. “Somewhere warm and cosy” could be in wheel wells or underneath car bonnets. In the winter, it could be a good idea to check all around your car for a cosy cat before you set off!

Ice, antifreeze and other dangerous substances

winter pet health cat hiding in snow

If you’re lucky enough (or unlucky enough, depending on your perspective) to get snow over the holidays, it can be an exciting time for you and your pets! Ice, snow and other substances can be harmful to dogs and cats, though. Here’s what you need to look out for.

Snow

Dogs love bounding around in the snow. We’ve seen older dogs jumping about like playful puppies the first time they come across a fresh blanket of snow! Even so, it’s important to be careful in the snow, as dangerous objects, substances or chemicals may be hidden underneath which could all be harmful to your pup. If your dog eats snow, this can also cause them to have an upset stomach, so keep an eye on your pets in the snow.

Ice

What’s the one thing everyone knows about ice? It’s slippery, which can present just as big a danger to our dogs and cats as it can to ourselves! Watch for your pet slipping and injuring themselves.

Lakes and other bodies of water could also be frozen over. If your dog runs on a frozen lake, there’s a chance the ice could crack and they could fall in to the icy water.

And it’s important to ensure your pet’s water bowls don’t freeze over!

Grit and salt

Grit and salt may be kind under shoes and walking boots, but it can be less kind to your poor pet’s paws! It can also get stuck between your pet’s toes, so it’s always a good idea to wash their paws after they’ve been for a walk.

If you don’t rinse your pet’s paws, the discomfort may cause them to lick the salt off, which can be harmful and create an imbalance of electrolytes in their body.

Antifreeze

Believe it or not, antifreeze smells and tastes good to cats, so they might end up ingesting it, which can be incredibly harmful and even fatal. Make sure you keep antifreeze out of the reach of your feline friends to help keep them safe. You might be able to find pet-safe anti-freeze containing propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol, which can be much safer for your pet if ingested.

Exercising your pets over winter

Dalmatian dog running in snow

Even when the weather’s cold and nights are dark, it’s important to ensure your pet is still getting the exercise and mental stimulation they need. Cats and dogs will have different exercise needs when the weather’s cold.

Exercising dogs in winter

It’s often best to walk dogs twice per day, and this is no different even when the weather’s getting colder! This will change depending on several factors, including the breed, age and health of your dog, but it’s important to keep their usual walking routine up over winter to keep your dog healthy. As we mentioned earlier, it’s usually safest to walk your dog in the daylight hours! If you walk your dog in the dark, it could be a good idea to use LED collars and hi-vis equipment to keep you and your pet safe!

Exercising cats in winter

winter pet health cat curled up

Sometimes all cats will want to do is find a cosy spot to curl up and sleep – especially in cold weather! When it’s chilly out, cats might be less likely to want to go outside as well, reducing the exercise they might be getting even further. To keep your cat active and interested, it could be a good idea to buy or make your own cat toys and play with them every day, even just for 15 minutes!

If you share your home with a furry friend, you might want to think about taking out insurance for your pet. At The Insurance Emporium, our award-winning Pet Insurance can include up to £8,000 Vet’s Fees* cover as standard. You could even get up to 30% discount^ on your policy! Head on down to The Insurance Emporium to see if we’ve got the right cover for your dog or cat.

* Vet’s Fees cover up to £8,000 available on lunar or calendar monthly Lifetime Gold Pet Insurance products.

^ The 30% discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Multi-pet Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.

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