The temperature's dropping, the leaves are falling, you have an extra blanket on the bed and the winter woollies out of mothballs. The humans in your house may be all set for winter but what about your pets?
It's important that your pet has somewhere warm to sleep in winter, free of draughts and protected from the elements. It's a good idea to elevate your pet's sleeping quarters - even just a little - so cold and damp can't creep in from the ground. A few old blankets and towels for bedding, and your pet is snug and happy.
Anyone with a cat knows that come wintertime their feline friends have no trouble claiming the warmest spot in the house. You can spoil them with a comfy cat basket near the heater. Cats love to soak up the winter sun so ideally they should have access to a sunny spot indoors or outdoors.
Some dogs can get too hot in a heated house, and may need somewhere cooler (a tiled floor is good) to lie down in your home.
Depending on what kind of dog you have, your dog may benefit from a dog coat. Dogs with sleek coats and little fat, like a Whippet or Greyhound, definitely need a coat's extra warmth in winter.
Bad weather and a shortage of daylight can make exercising your dog in winter a challenge. But it's important that you try to give your dog a run, especially if they're active dogs. You can use a dog coat to keep your dog dry during a walk in the rain but be sure to remove a wet coat from a pet as soon as you get home. Ensure dogs don't stay wet after being outside by drying them off with a towel or hair-dryer.
If it's muddy outside, regularly check between dogs' paws to make sure balls of mud haven't built up as this can make it painful for them to walk. If your dog sleeps outside, they need a warm and dry kennel - a deep bedding of straw will keep them clean and comfortable during the winter chill.
Colder days can be hard for those suffering from arthritis - be they human or animal. If your pet is having trouble with stiff, aching limbs, take them to the vet for a check-up. Your vet can prescribe medication to ease their symptoms and advise you on how to care for your pet in the winter months.
A pet's diet can also become an issue in the winter months. Dogs with fine coats may need extra food to maintain their weight. Alternatively, if your dog is exercising less they may need to eat less as well, so they don't gain too much weight.
For more great pet info, visit www.petnet.com.au