How are we into December already?! I reckon with all the beautiful autumnal weather we’ve had recently, the date itself has completely passed me by – or is that just me? Either way, with the temperature dropping I thought now would be a good time to share with you some of our top tips for keeping your pets cosy, happy and safe this winter!
1. Be seen – with fewer daylight hours, it can sometimes be difficult to avoid walking your dog in the dark. You might consider a reflective or flashing collar/lead or coat to walk them in after dark to make sure that they are completely visible to you, passing drivers and cyclists.
2. Get cosy – for most dogs, their fur will keep out the cold just fine. But, if your dog has thin fur, struggles to keep weight on or is in their senior years, they might really feel the benefit of a good-quality winter coat to keep them cosy and comfortable on those chilly winter walks.
3. Check those toes – it’s always worth being vigilant to check in between your dog’s toes for snow, salt and grit once the temperature drops. On snowy days, ice can become compacted between your dog’s toes and can be very painful for them – so check those paws after a walk on snowy or icy days.
1. Stay active – don’t let your kitty become a winter couch potato! Cats sleep a lot as is, and may be less inclined to venture outside in bad weather – make sure you have plenty of activity and playtime for your cats to enjoy indoors, it will be great exercise and mental stimulation for them.
2. Bring the outside in – if your cat is an intrepid explorer and a bit of a free spirit, you may be used to them being very low maintenance and spending all of their time outside. However, it’s best to make sure you have a suitable litter tray and a warm bed for your cat indoors that they can access at all times.
3. Frozen puddles – lots of outdoor cats tend to drink from puddles, ponds or whatever else they fancy that day – but in cold weather their usual water source might freeze over, so make sure that they have constant access to fresh drinking water at home – even if they don’t give it a second glance for the other 10 months of the year!
rabbits, guinea pigs & small furries
1. Time to come in – if your small pets live in a hutch in your garden through the summer, try to find them a space to come indoors for the winter – a garage or a shed will work just fine. If your pets do need to stay outside, make sure they are facing away from prevailing wind or rain, and cover the back and sides of their hutch in extra layers of blankets or a waterproof hutch cover.
2. Get cosy – all small furry pets (including those who already live indoors) will appreciate extra bedding in the winter so they can make the ultimate cosy winter nest! Also, make sure their house is positioned away from any draughts or fireplaces to make sure they stay perfectly toasty without being uncomfortably warm or cold.
3. Frozen water bottles – the little ball in water bottles can easily freeze in cold weather – make sure you check your pet’s water at least twice a day, or more frequently if the temperature is down to single figures, and ensure the little ball moves easily when pushed with your finger.
horses, ponies & donkeys
1. Puzzle club – lots of horses spend more time in their stables during the winter, and boredom breakers are a great way to keep them entertained and stop vices from developing. Trickle feeders, salt licks and spending time with your horse will all act as great boredom busters!
2. Snowballs – in snowy conditions, the ice can compact very quickly under your horse’s hooves (especially if they wear shoes) and can be very painful for them. A great way to avoid this is to rub a generous amount of Vaseline or something similar onto the sole of your horse’s feet before riding or turning out in the snow, to stop the snow from balling up underfoot.
3. Extra snacks – horses will naturally burn more energy in the winter to keep warm, so it might be worth considering adding some extra food into your horse’s diet at this time of year, such as some extra hay or haylage.
So there we have it, a few little tips to help us all keep our pets snug and safe this winter. We would love to hear your own tips for how you adapt your routine to look after your pets during the colder months – if you have any amazing hacks you’d like to share, please post them in the comments below 🙂
Hope everyone is having a fab December so far and that we’re all starting to feel festive – Stamford Bridge is looking magical at the moment with so many beautifully decorated houses, it’s certainly getting me into the Christmas spirit!