Love your pet… love your vet
The big chill a seasonal survival guide!
With the onset of colder winter weather, just how prepared are we and our pets for the colder weather? See below some top tips to ensuring your pet/s stay fit and well:
Now is the time when many of us start to feel aches and pains and our pets are no exception! Look out for any limps and difficulties in rising after rest; these are signs that your pet may have some joint stiffness usually made worse by cold or damp weather. If your pet is showing any signs of stiffness or limping, you should contact your vet for a check up.
Remember, that whilst many dogs love playing in the cold and snow, slim fine coated breeds find it much harder to conserve their body heat and may benefit from dog coats. Also beware of winter hazards such as frozen ponds and lakes when out on walks.
Around the house pets are often on the lookout for anything they can eat, including Christmas decorations! Ribbons and tinsel in particular, are very attractive to pets and if swallowed may lead to an intestinal blockage. You should remember that chocolate, especially the plain varieties, can be very toxic to dogs. Cat owners should be aware that lilies pose a significant risk to cats with all parts, including the flowers and pollen being extremely toxic.
Many car owners are preparing their cars for icy weather, and antifreeze used in car radiators is a very palatable poison. If swallowed, even small amounts can cause kidney failure and usually death, so always ensure any spillages are cleaned up.
Winter is always a difficult time for animals that live outside, like rabbits and guinea pigs. It is important to ensure their hutches are kept warm, dry and in a sheltered position. Give them fresh food and water every day and always check to make sure the water bottle has not become frozen.
It is always a good idea to keep an eye on how much exercise your pets are getting during the winter months. With many pets spending more time indoors, they are exercising less and will therefore need less food. Add to this the extra titbits associated with the festive season and it is far too easy for pets to start expanding their waistlines! Speak to your vet regarding nutritional advice, as carrying too much weight has a multitude of adverse affects on the body.
Chris Devlin is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.
For more information visit www.hillsidevets.co.uk