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!
Cats can be fiercely independent creatures, roaming through our homes (and neighborhoods) with an air of cool, calm nonchalance about them. It’s this sense of mystery, not to mention their low maintenance nature that attracts many pet owners. However, our feline friends, just like their canine counterparts can fall prey to ill health and ailments – both out of pure bad luck (I.e. genetics) and also due to specific lifestyle factors.
Whilst it’s without a doubt quite distressing when our feline friends are unwell, it’s important to remember most common cat diseases can be treated or at least managed successfully, as The Pets Hotel team share in this article.
Keeping in mind the average life expectancy for a healthy, domestic cat is around 12-15 years, treating ailments early by recognising the symptoms and contacting a fully-qualified vet is key to keeping them purring with good health! On that note, the RSPCA website and AVA (Australian Veterinary Association) directory are excellent resources.
An overview of common dog diseases and their treatments can be read here.
Just like humans and their canine pals, cats can also develop diabetes – a condition known simply as ‘Cat Diabetes’. This occurs when a cat cannot produce sufficient insulin or process it effectively, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and hyperglycemia – a disorder which can ultimately prove fatal. On a positive note, diabetes in cats can be effectively treated in most cases through daily insulin injections and a well-regulated diet.
Another very common and highly annoying feline ailment, cat fleas (often just called ‘fleas’) are small parasites that stick to the skin of your pet to feed off its blood. Given the common nature of this condition – one which most cats will experience at least once in their life, a number of highly effective treatments have been developed. This includes over the counter topical treatments applied directly to their skin, which are available at most pet stores.
A highly contagious cat disease that affects the respiratory system, as it does in humans, cat flu is both common and also highly aggressive. Young kittens and older cats are particularly at risk from this condition which is caused by Feline Herpes Virus 1 (FHV1) and Feline Calicivirus (FVC), given their compromised immune system. Treatments including antibiotic medication, painkillers and eye drops to ease the symptoms, until the immune system can clear the infection naturally.
More a lifestyle-related issue than a disease per se, obesity is an increasingly common condition amongst cats, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing amount of time owners have spent at home feeding their feline friends delicious treats! However, cat obsesity if left untreated can lead to a whole range of other unwelcome ailments – most notably diabetes. Thankfully, treatment is quite straightforward and includes changes to your cat’s diet (I.e. portion control) and ensuring they get regular exercise.
Also known as FIV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is another contagious cat disease that’s spread through bites from other felines infected with FIV, with this virus living in the saliva. It’s slow-acting and severely weakens a cat’s immune system once it takes hold, making early diagnosis and treatment key. Treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs, immune-enhancing drugs and a heathy, palatable diet.
Keen to find out more about The Pets Hotel and our friendly team of professional animal lovers? Contact us at The Pets Hotel (Port Melbourne) on (03) 9646 3696 or The Pets Hotel Country Club (Lara) on (03) 5282 1286.