Just like that, another Winter has arrived in Victoria (where has this year gone?) and the days have become much colder, shorter and wetter for those of us who live at the southern end of this vast country. Whilst many Victorians are eager to chase the sun to warmer shores further north (Queensland tends to be a perennial favourite), there’s also a fair few of us who fully embrace the cosiness of days spent indoors, heating on, warm soup on the kitchen table and our favourite book or Netflix series to keep us blissfully hibernating. We shouldn’t forget our pets also like to rug up in Winter as much as we do. And although our furry friends by definition have thick coats to keep them warm, here’s a few simple tips from The Pets Hotel team to ensure they stay extra cosy, cute and comfortable when it’s cold outside! : )
Keep them indoors most of the time: The most obvious tip of all for keeping our pets extra cosy in Winter is to keep them indoors most of the time, especially after dark when temperatures across Victoria can fall pretty fast. This advice particularly applies to shorter-haired dog breeds such as Beagles, Greyhounds and Labradors who just don’t have the extra fur to keep themselves insulated from the harsh chills of those winter winds, as well as small puppies and kittens. In fact, any outside temperature below 10C could be unsafe for your furry friend depending on their age, health and breed, whilst 5C and lower is potentially life-threatening over prolonged exposure times. So, if in doubt, keep them inside as your adorable couch buddy!
Keep them moving: This may sound slightly contradictory given our first point was to keep your pets indoors for most of the time during Winter. However, keeping them active is just as important to maintaining their health and wellbeing during those cold, dark days as is making sure they’re dry and warm. Whether it’s a leisurely daily walk around the block for your dog or letting your kitty bask in the gentle winter sun (on those wonderfully clear days we occasionally get this time of year), a little exercise will not only warm them up and ward of the winter blues, it’ll also keep off those excess kilos from all that tasty comfort food!
Add extra layers to their sleeping space: Just as we add extra layers to our own beds as Winter approaches, doing the same for your furry friends is something they’ll definitely appreciate this time of year : ) Whether it’s an extra blanket or two, or even a microwavable heat pad for those chilly nights, adding a little extra TLC in the form of a higher thread count is sure to make their sleeping space feel extra cosy, aiding a well-earned rest. Extra kudos if you move their bed or kennel away from drafts and off a cold floor, which is why raised beds are such a good idea for both cats and dogs.
Don’t forget water + diet: Despite Winter generally being wet and cold outside, our pets still need plenty of water and good food to keep them going through this time of year, especially as strong indoor heating can make them dehydrated very fast. You’ll also want to ensure they maintain a heathy, well-balanced diet of nutritious meals, which combined with regular exercise will keep them in good shape for when Summer returns. A bonus tip for those of us who live in extra cold locations, check your cat or dogs water bowl in the mornings to make sure it isn’t frosted over!
Maintain those regular vet visits: You and your adoring family members aside, the local vet is your furry pals next best friend, through good weather and bad! Which brings us to our final tip – don’t forget their regular 6-month health check-ups at the vet, especially in Winter when seasonal ills like the cat flu, canine arthritis and various skin problems (from too much time in the rain) can often arise. On that note, we highly recommend the RSPCA website and AVA (Australian Veterinary Association) directory as excellent places to start if you need to find a fully-qualified veterinary practitioner close to home.
Considering a short break somewhere sunny this Winter and need a warm, extra cosy place for your furry friend to stay? Contact our friendly team at The Pets Hotel (Port Melbourne) on (03) 9646 3696 or The Pets Hotel Country Club (Lara) on (03) 5282 1286 today!