It can be hard to tell when your pet is feeling the cold, and unfortunately, they can’t tell us in so many words. We speak to Greencross Vets Dr Tessa Jongejans to find out what to look for in cats, dogs, and smaller animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.
Common signs your pet is feeling the cold
‘Your pet may be shivering, trembling or cuddling into warm spaces,’ says Dr Tessa Jongejans, veterinary director at Greencross Vets Mortdale. ‘Dogs and cats may curl up on your bed, lounge or near the heater as they seek warmth. Pets will also start to avoid lying on cold tiles and will choose to rest in places with warm flooring or carpet. Generally, if you’re indoors and you’re feeling cold, then your pet will be cold too.’
The same symptoms can apply to small animals, too. ‘If you have a guinea pig or rabbit, watch for them trembling or shaking as well as burrowing and hiding in their hay,’ says Dr Tessa.
What are some common cold-weather problems?
Sore and stiff joints can be a common condition in the cooler months, especially when it comes to our senior pets. You might notice your pet is having difficulty rising after a nap or is a little slower in the Winter months.
Dry skin is another problem, especially if it is very cold outside and then they sit inside by the heater. Using a hairdryer to dry your dog after a bath will also cause dry and flaky skin, says Dr Tessa. If our pet is outside, make sure to thoroughly towel dry them to remove any excess water from their coat. Try to avoid any extreme temperature changes.
What are the best ways to protect your pet from the elements?
- keep your pet inside
- provide a warm, soft, elevated bed
- warm coats are great for pets that are senior, small or have thin coats
- move your guinea pigs hutch inside the house or garage
- provide extra straw and hay so small pets can burrow and hide
- keep all bedding dry
- wrap a loose blanket over your pet, but don’t tuck them in. They still need to be able to move away from it if they overheat
- walk your furry friend during the day when it’s not as cold
- if needed, a properly wrapped hot water bottle or heated bedding will help to keep your pets toasty warm
If you feel that your pet is struggling with the colder weather, or with any of these problems mentioned above, be sure to visit your local Greencross Vets.