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Friday, November 27, 2020

The purr-fect winter pet care guide

With many pet parents working from home, fur babies are likely to be spending more time indoors. While pets can be a source of comfort, it’s important to take care of their mental and physical health too.

Winter care

Despite many of our pets having fur coats, they can still suffer from frostbite, exposure and dehydration in the winter months.

To help your pets get through the colder weather, the RSPCA ACT has put together these helpful tips:

• Keep your animals inside as much as possible, especially during the coldest parts of the day.

• Make sure to dry your pet when they come in from outside. You wouldn’t want to sit in a wet coat and neither does your furry friend!

• If your pet is unable to stay inside, make sure they have access to winter-proof shelter. Ensure it is raised off the ground to keep it from getting wet and frosty, and place it in a location where it’s most likely to get maximum sun exposure.

• Cats are notorious for finding toasty warm spots around the house. Be wary of your pet sitting too close to heaters or fires as they can fall asleep and end up with dry skin or burns.

• Grab your pet a jacket. Make sure it is the right fit and avoid having the jacket too tight. It’s extremely important to take the jacket off once they are back in a heated environment as it can irritate the animal and cause injury.

• Check your pet has fresh water in the morning. Make sure the water hasn’t frozen over during the night, and provide new water to drink during the day.

Looking for some added inspiration to take your pooch for a walk? Why not take part in Million Paws Walk: Walk This May and support the vital work of the RSPCA ACT; www.millionpawswalk.com.au. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

Staying paw-sitive in isolation

Whether they’re furry or scaly, it’s important to keep pets healthy and stimulated to maintain their overall wellbeing during lock-ins. PetSafe Australia shares their tips to care for pets during lockdown to keep them healthy and happy while taking advantage of spending more time together.

Go for walks … but don’t overwalk: Getting out to exercise with your dog is a good way to avoid cabin fever and have some much-needed fresh air. However, make sure you don’t overwalk them by getting every family member to take them on individual walks out or they could get overtired.

Get inventive with indoor exercise: In homes with stairs, you could encourage your pet (provided they are in good health) to go up and down a few times, or you could consider setting up an indoor obstacle course.

Set aside playtime: No matter the size of your home, find a space where you can play with your pet to help keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Try to do this for at least half an hour morning and night.

Stick to mealtimes: To give them a sense of normality, stick as closely as you can to regular mealtime routines – and don’t increase their portion size.

Limit treats: Keep treats to a minimum as it can instil bad habits and could increase the risk of pet weight gain, especially with limited exercise opportunities.

Invest in innovative pet toys: Got an all-important conference call coming up and no way to keep your pet occupied? There are a variety of automatic indoor and outdoor electronic toys that can entertain your pet while giving you the chance to work in peace.

Prepare for life after lockdown: While it’s great to spend extra time with our pets, try not to be with them all the time. Go to another room, even if it’s just for a short period. To avoid separation anxiety after lockdown, pets need to get used to us not being there.

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