How to keep your pets safe and warm in winter

How to keep your pets safe and warm in winter

Help pets stay steady on their feet, toasty and safe from flying champagne corks and spitting fires this winter

This time of year can be a wonderfully atmospheric time: winter brings crisp, fresh mornings out walking the dog, dark evenings curled up on the sofa with the cat and possibly some snow-day fun. But the winter months also bring challenges for your pets, and you need to be prepared to keep them happy, healthy and safe.

Christmas comes with a whole host of hazards, from open fires to popping champagne corks, so you’ll need to pet-proof your home in advance. And as the temperatures start to drop towards zero, you need to consider how to keep your animals safe and warm indoors and out, and bear in mind that the cold weather can wreak havoc on their beautiful fur and paws. Fixology, brought to you by Direct Line, shares some tips for keeping your furry friends in fine fettle this winter…

Keeping warm
Your cats and dogs might have a wonderfully warm fur coat but this won’t necessarily keep them cosy in the colder months, so take precautions to add extra warmth. Additional bedding is essential, especially on hard floors, and winter can be particularly hard for arthritic animals, so consider investing in some heated blankets or pet pillows.

Walking the dog during the day, when the ground is warmer, or staying out of the rain, are simple solutions to the chilly climate complications, and a remote timer for your central heating will allow you to control the temperature of your home even while you’re at work.

It’s important not to forget about our smaller furry friends during winter too. Lay down extra bedding in rabbit hutches and hamster cages and pop a blanket over the top to keep all the warmth in – but remember to leave a small gap for a little fresh air. If you’re bringing a hutch indoors for the winter, try to keep it in a quiet place, so the occupants are not disturbed.

Christmas can be a confusing time for your pet, so try to stick to their normal routine throughout the holidays. Be aware of sudden, loud noises (crackers, fireworks and party poppers) that could startle the cat, and keep the dog away from those leftovers to avoid stomach upsets – extra doggie treats may sweeten the deal here.

Tips to keep your dog warm in winter:

– Always use a fireguard if you’re enjoying an open fire on a cold day
– Old baby booties make great paw covers for pets when the ground is icy
– Put Vaseline on your dog’s paws to keep them from chapping
– Cut up old cargo shorts to make a coat and put heat-pouches in the pockets
– Always keep dogs on a lead when walking near frozen lakes, rivers and ponds

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