Keeping Aged Dogs and Cats Warm in the Winter Months
As our furry friends age, they become more at risk of joint pain and arthritis, conditions that can be very painful during these cooler months! These conditions are often difﬁcult to identify in pets, as they develop notoriously slowly and our pets refrain from showing symptoms of pain or discomfort until it is severe.
Signs of arthritis and joint pain in pets include:
- Difﬁculty in getting off a bed
- Difficulty moving up and down stairs
- Reduced willingness to move
- Obvious pain after exercise
These symptoms are often exacerbated if the pet has spent a long period of time lying in the same position on a cold ﬂoor, a hard surface or in a chilly kennel. Luckily, there’s a lot we can do to help our pets stay happy, healthy and comfortable during these chilly mornings and nights!
It is important to visit our clinic for a check up, as some pets may need extra help when coping with the discomfort of arthritis.
Other steps you can take to ease the pain of arthritis include:
- Keep your pet in a warm environment during the day and night
- Provide warm, comfortable bedding that is elevated off cold floors such as tiles
Some cats will ﬁnd often find small areas to curl up in during the cooler weather. This might be a sunny window, on the sofa or in their bed but for a bit of extra warmth, consider getting them a cat igloo or box which holds the warmth in from their own body. They will think this is heaven if you also add a snuggle pad into this each night before they go to bed.
Dogs will also enjoy an igloo-style bed with a heated snuggle pad, but most pups will also appreciate an extra blanket in the bed as well. For extra comfort, ensure that your pet’s bed is raised off the ground as this will prevent the cold concrete, timber or tiles from making the bottom of the bed cold. For dogs, trampoline-type beds are ideal if they are covered with warm padding to ease the joints. These are also easier for a dog to get on and off with limited difficulty, as they are at the height of their knees and less bending is required. Make sure the bed is moved away from drafts and windows; glass is not a good insulator in winter and will make it cooler for your pet!
Outdoor kennels should also be raised off the ground to ensure that water stays away. Add in plenty of blankets and hang them out every few days to allow them to air. This keeps the kennel waterproof and a warmer environment for our furry friend. Another way to beat the chill is through microwavable disks or snuggle pads. These are safe to use overnight in outdoors kennels and will last for up to 10 hours to give your pup a greater level of comfort. A warm jacket is a must for outdoor dogs in winter and also for short haired pups, even if they do spend time inside. Jackets that cover the belly are best at keeping a dog warm, as they trap body heat. Keep a second water-repellent jacket for walking your pup to ensure that it stays dry. If it does get wet, dry it thoroughly to make sure that it doesn’t stay cold for many hours.
Speak to our friendly team about other ways to keep your pet happy and healthy during the cooler months.