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Winter is here again! It is time to get ready for Christmas, New Year, fancy winter gear, hot cups of coffee and chocolate and so on. But what does it mean to your dog, cat, hamster, guinea pig, rabbit or other small pets? It means that they need to protect themselves from harsh winter winds and chills to survive and be healthy. And being the pet parent of the domestic furry pets, you hold the whole-sole responsibility of giving them warm and healthy living conditions to cruise through happily during rough weather conditions.
Mentioned below are some recommendations for winter care of pets which will do your dog, cat or small pet enormous good. Do take note of them to ensure health and wellness of your pet:
It is highly recommended and requested that pets should be housed inside when the temperature drops. Whatever time the animal spends in its outdoor abode, take care that the shelter is spacious enough for the pet to move around; at the same time it shouldn’t be too big that it fails to retain heat. Do ensure that the door of the pet house is placed in the direction opposite to the prevailing winter winds. To enhance the protection from winter, place a thick blanket or tarpaulin sheet over the pet shelter. Having clean straw or cedar shavings as floor covering is a good idea, as it offer better insulation from cold than towels or blankets. For warmth even using a dog mattress or any of the pet beds available at online pet shops can also be used as resting spots for pets, but do remember to air them at least once in a fortnight.
Keeping oneself warm requires extra energy and that energy is fuelled with the help of a bit of extra food. Make sure that you offer a little more food than the usual diet to your pet dog, cat, hamster, rabbit, guinea pig and the like. Healthy and nutritious pet food would provide inner support to fight the low temperatures. Though it is winter, the body still needs water to retain healthy ratio of moisture. Always check that the water in dog bowl or hamster bottle is fresh and unfrozen for the pet to drink.
Exercise is a very important aspect of life. In winter season it becomes more important as there is an increased urge to remain tugged under a blanket or a cover. It is true for humans as it is for the animals.
Exercise is important for a canine’s physical and mental health. Even in winters, one should try to check the feasibility of regular dog walks. You may shorten the length or change the timings, but do try to make the dog work out. Thick-coated dog breeds are more likely to enjoy winters than the short-coated ones due to the insulation the long furs offer. If the dog shivers and desires to go inside the home then it’s clear that the chill is not appreciated.
Try to have outdoor activity sessions as is convenient, but if it gets too cold you can stay at home and plan for indoor games and activities such as hide and seek, tug, fetch, meal hunting challenge (where dog will use its nose to find hints dropped by you), indoor walking on treadmill, running up and down the stairs and the like. Do take care about the safety of you Fido while implementing the various ideas of exercise you come up with.
While guinea pigs, rats and hamsters can get exercise within their cages, rabbit requires some more space to keep fit. What you need to note is that if the playing area is outside home then see to it that the surroundings are dry, sheltered and consists of places to hide. Plastic sheets or tarpaulin can be used to cover some area, and to offer temporary shelter from wind and rain. In their fun ‘floor time’ keep an active watch on them so that other pets and small children don’t harm the pets in any way. While making the play area inside the house, make sure that there are no visible wires to chew, and other hazards which can cause injuries.