The change in season is here and the weather is starting to cool down after a tumultuous summer. Now is the time to start getting ready to make the changes to your pets living arrangements to make sure they are comfortable and safe throughout the colder months.
Here are some tips on where to start:
Bedding As the days and nights start to cool down, dogs and cats with arthritis will be feeling the cold. The change in temperature creates aggravation in their joints, making them painful and sore. To ensure your pet remains comfortable this Winter provide warm bedding and make sure your cat has a nice sunny spot indoors to lay away from cool drafts. If your pet is showing signs of joint pain or arthritis you might want to thing about a bed specifically for arthritic pets which offer specialised comfort.
Coats aren't only a fashion statement they are a necessity to keep them warm on those freezing winter days and nights.
But how do you know what you need? When purchasing a dog coat be sure to consider when your pet will be wearing it, do you need one that is waterproof? Or one that is hi-vis for early morning, late afternoon walks? Do you require one for day or just night? What size will fit your pet? There are so many different styles and types on the market. One thing that is simple is dog coats are measured from the base of the neck to the start of the tail and your local Just For Pets store offers FREE advice & custom coat fittings, so why not take your best mate on a shopping spree!
Diet In the colder months our animals will need an increase in energy in their food, rather than fat content. Your pet is burning additional energy in winter to keep themselves warm. Look out for specially formulated foods to help pets balance their energy in and outtake and to ensure that your pet doesn't become a couch potato.
Grooming It's important to remove your dogs jacket or coat every day and brush their hair to avoid matting and skin problems. If you prefer not to bath your pet as regularly in the colder months there are a range of colognes and dry shampoos available to assist you with a clean smelling pet. Whilst your pet can look as though they aren't enjoying a quick bath, the reality is it is important to keep your pets skin clean as well as it smelling nice.
A lot of Just For Pets stores have DIY Dog wash stations with warm water and a blow dry!
Tank It's important to be mindful where your fish tank is set up. Being placed nears windows and doors can lower the water temperature.
Temperature Check the temperature of your fish tank with an aquarium thermometer. Our great friends at Aquarium Industries offer care sheets on many fish species which includes the ideal temperature for the fish in your tank. A great tip to remember is to check your tank heater is working. This may sound obvious, but we often unplug or turn off at the wall our tanks over summer and forget to plug back in when the temperature starts to drop.
Water control Take the time to make sure your water quality is correct. Purchase a quality Water Test Kit and test your water regularly to make sure it is correct for your fish. Try to change the water in small increments to avoid stress on your fish. Sudden big changes in water can change the temperature quite drastically which can also be harmful for your fish. House heating Be careful if using gas heating in your home.
Fish don't respond well to any types of toxins or chemicals in the air as these are absorbed into the water and can cause a fatal reaction.
Bring them inside where possible. Winter in some parts of Australia can be harsh, and it is important to remember that our pets need us to bring them inside where it's warmer for them.
For our small animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits, consider bringing them inside when the temperature drops. Rabbits that are kept outside in the colder months need to have a warm shelter. The shelter should be waterproof, raised and well insulated. Be careful putting in bedding materials as bunnies love to explore and chew and sadly fabric or material can cause a blockage in your bunnies stomach, which if left unnoticed can be fatal. Bunnies will hide and keep warm in straw or hay which they will also eat too!
Guinea pigs, however, should not be left outside during winter, as they are not fit to survive dramatic drops in temperature. They are very prone to upper respiratory infections when there is a drastic drop in temperature and can be fatal for them. If they do need to be left outside, ensure they have a very warm location with lots of hay to bed into. Don't be surprised if you see your guinea pigs huddled on top of each other, they have no desire for personal space and will use each other to keep warm.
Cages It's a good idea to keep your birds cage away from windows or doors (especially at night). While it's great for us to be warm and snugly, be mindful what you are heating your home with, gas heating emits toxic fumes, which can be fatal to birds, it's best to keep them located in a room that isn't directly being heated with a gas heater to ensure their little lungs don't become over run with toxins. Use covers for their cages to help keep the heat in for them. However, only use when needed at night time so your bird can still feel and see the daylight during the day time.
Now more than ever is the time to check the warmth in your reptile enclosure. Ensure you have an extra heat lamp on hand as a spare. A warm enclosure creates a happy and lively reptile.
The pet expert at your local Just For Pets independent pet store will have lots more tips to keep your pets healthy & happy this Winter, just ask them.