Winter can be tough on pets, particularly as they age. Just like humans, they suffer arthritis that causes significant pain. But there are things you can do to help ease their discomfort. It’s all about preparation.
Here are our 6 winter must-haves for healthy, happy dogs and cats:
- A warm and comfortable bed. Sore joints need something warm and soft underneath them. Before the cold weather sets in, ensure your pet has a warm and comfortable place to sleep, away from any draughts and in a quiet and restful place. Dog’s Life have a fantastic range of beds and cushions that have easily-removable covers for washing, and they’re in a wide choice of colours and styles. Ask your nearest EberVet Vetshop for help.
- Fresh water, every day. You may be drinking less water and more hot chocolate as the weather cools but your pets need fresh, clean drinking water every day to keep their kidneys functioning optimally. Keep water bowls out of direct sunlight.
- Cosy coats. Treat your dog to a warm coat, especially if you go for walks in biting winds. EberVet Vetshops have a wide range of coats and raincoats for dogs of all sizes and breeds.
- Parasite control. Ticks and fleas in winter? Oh yes. Ticks LOVE the Cape’s winter rain. Protect your pets from biliary and other tick and flea-borne diseases by applying parasite control all year round. Ask your vet or EberVet Vetshop for assistance in choosing the medication that best suits your pet and your lifestyle. Some last for months, some are best for sensitive skin, some are toxic to pregnant or lactating bitches so it is very important to get advice before you buy.
- Review your pet’s diet. As they age, our pets’ dietary requirements change according to their bodies’ needs. There are foods and supplements that can help ease arthritis, and that offer fewer calories for dogs or cats that exercise less. Calorie control is especially important if you’re not exercising your dog much in winter.
- Be more observant. Chances are you’ll both be spending more time indoors during winter so this is the ideal time to take a long, close look at how your pet moves, how much he eats or changes in his sleeping patterns. When a pet’s been around for a number of years, it’s easy to overlook subtle changes but from the age of 7, at the very least, you should start noticing things that must alert you to potential illnesses. Limping, and drinking excess water are also potential alarms. From the age of 7, pets should see your vet twice a year as a safeguard. If you notice anything unusual in the way your pet’s behaving – even if he’s just two years of age – get him to your vet. The earlier you do, the better his chances and the more you’ll save on long-term care.