Winter has its ups and downs...the cranking up of the thermostats, and the downpours of torrential rain and snow! Personally, I'm so much more comfortable with the cooler weather, but it does mean we have to think more about keeping our pets warm enough, particularly the smaller more vulnerable species, the oldies and youngsters.
Heat pads are a great way to keep our pets warm. We use a combination of the microwavable Snuggle Safe pads for our rabbit, as well as keeping his enclosure covered when needed, and ensuring it's well stuffed with insulating straw and tasty hay, and these mads can also be used under indoor pet beds, to keep dogs and cats warmer. We also have a plug-in electric heat pad by Pet Remedy, which we use for our old dogs. It doesn't get too hot, and adjusts according to their weight pressure.
Another way we keep our old dogs warm is with trouser suits, which also help to keep the worst of the mud off, so it's really only their feet which need a wash, rather than the whole of their legs and undercarriage! We've got a fleecy one by Equafleece, which helps to keep the muscles warm, as well as one made of a raincoat type of material. We've also got a wonderful coat coat for our oldest by Back On Track which has ceramic woven into the fabric, which is particularly good for maintaining their body heat. We try to keep our boys well groomed so their natural winter coat helps, but the oldies and youngsters, in particular, do need a little extra support. It's particularly important to ensure their undercarriage is covered, as they tend to lose more heat where they've got less hair.
To wash off their feet, there as specially designed paw washers, where you pop each paw into the cylindrical container filled with water, give it a swirl around, take the paw out, and it removed the majority of the mud and grit. This does mean replacing the water frequently, potentially after each paw, depending on the severity of the mud! We've also invested in a portable bike pressure washer, which we fill with water, take it on the road with us, plug into the car, and can wash off their legs and undercarriages at the end of each walk, which saves bringing the dirt back into the car or house with us! I think this will make a massive difference to our winter routine!
One of the most negative things about this time of year for some pets, can be fireworks. We're very fortunate that our own boys aren't affected (Bear's always been chilled out, and I think Peach is too old to really hear much!). We are proud stockists of Pet Remedy, natural calming products, tried and tested, and suitable for all pets. We have a range of plug-in diffusers for use in the home, spray, for use on bedding, bandannas, on our clothing, in the car, etc, and wipes, for use around the pet's environment, on ourselves before handing, etc. If your pet is at all concerned by fireworks, or the visitors, changes, and other things which the festive period brings, please do get in contact and find out what's in stock. Pet Remedy can be safely used alongside other veterinary medication, and some pets may also require some stronger calming medication to help them. It's a good idea to work on desensitisation well in advance, and if you would like a recommendation for a behaviourist/trainer who could assist, just let us know.
I'm sure people are aware of the preparation to make ahead of fireworks, but just to whizz through a few:
*Pop your Pet Remedy diffuser on and use the spray on their bedding and safe zones.
*Give them any calming supplements or medications as directed by your veterinarian.
*Feed them earlier than normal, and take them to the toilet well before it all kicks off, which may prevent any vomiting or accidents.
*Ensure they've got plenty of places they feel safe in to retreat to.
*Close all of the curtains/blinds, keep the lights on, and have the TV/radio on fairly loudly, to disguise fireworks. Classic FM sometimes even have shows dedicated to calming pets!
*Keep them occupied if they need, with suitable chews, Kongs, etc.
*Remember, it is OK to comfort them when needed-fear is an emotion, and we can't reinforce emotions!