Winter 101: our seasonal stock take for pets

Winter is finally here! Time to do a stock take on what’s needed to keep your furry friend warm, safe and healthy during the cold months.

  1. START WITH A HEALTH CHECK Every pet should have a vet checkup once a year; older pets twice a year, and those with chronic ailments up to three times a year. Book your appointment now and get your vet to give your pet the once over – from eyes and teeth to ears and heart. As our pets age they develop age-related ailments that may require a change to their diet, or medication. The sooner these ailments are detected, the easier they are to treat.
  2. STERILISE! If you’ve been putting off this essential responsibility of good pet ownership, do it now. Book that appointment BEFORE your pet’s next heat cycle. Your pet’s chances of developing breast cancer increases every time she goes on heat. Prostate cancer is also more common in unsterilised male dogs; it is a fast-spreading cancer.
  3. BEDDING When last did you give your pet’s bed the once over? If the cushioning is flattened from over use or there are tears or worn patches, it’s time for a new one. EberVet Vetshops stock a wide range of beds for dogs and cats of all ages and breeds – from the fluffiest, softest nests for pampered pooches to hard-wearing, waterproof campers for beach babies who like to romp in the surf, no matter what the weather. Remember to wash his/her bed regularly to rid it of bacteria and parasites that can spread disease.
  4. COLLARS AND LEADS Winter is no excuse not to exercise. Exercise is essential to keep a dog (and owner) healthy. With no exercise, your pet is at risk of obesity and obesity puts pets at a much higher risk of a host of life-threatening diseases including heart disease and cancer. Ensure your dog’s collar fits comfortably (he or she may have grown since you last went on that long walk) and that the lead is suitable for the environment you’ve chosen to walk in. Add an identification tag or have your dog microchipped should he or she break free and stray.
  5. FOOD Now is a good time to re-evaluate your pet’s diet. As our pets age, their nutritional requirements change. As with ageing humans, some develop age-related health conditions like arthritis, diabetes or kidney ailments that require special diets. Your vet checkup will determine what your pet’s needs are. Special diets are also available (and are very effective) for pets that suffer from skin allergies.
  6. SHELTER Is your pet’s kennel weather proof? Remember to check the floor. It should be raised off the ground and water proofed. Seal all cracks against cold draughts. Cracks also serve as enticing hidey holes for nasty parasites like ticks and fleas so be sure to close these up properly.
  7. TOYS Constant chewing not only wears toys down, they also get dirty and smelly. Replace old toys with new ones that are specially manufactured from materials that are hygienic and non-toxic. Invest in ostrich chews and bones like liver and peanut-butter stuffed Boredom Busters for those rainy days when playing outdoors isn’t an option. Store chews and bones in the freezer for freshness.
  8. CONTROL THOSE PARASITES Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can slack off on parasite control. Ticks and fleas love damp warmth (think winter heaters and aircon) and are a pest year round. Chat with our EberVet Vetshop staff or your vet about the best parasite control for your pet.