Keeping Pet’s Happy and Healthy During Winter
PDSA vets give advice on beating winter blues
Winter is steadily setting in, daylight hours are shorter and there’s a nip in the air.
While many people think the winter months affect just us humans, the dark, cold nights may also cause our pets to feel down in the dumps too.
PDSA Vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan, says: “With the darker evenings and colder weather here, it may be that you and your pet prefer to stay indoors rather than burn off calories outdoors. Being at home in the warmth can seem far more appealing than romping around when it’s dark and cold outside. But, this lack of exercise can make pets more prone to gaining weight and, in turn, becoming less active.
“Certain health issues, like arthritis, can also be exacerbated by the wintery weather, making pets less inclined to get up and go. Your pet may appear to have less energy and, just like us, some may want to sleep more in the winter months.
“Changes to their routine, such as when the clocks go back or kids are off for school holidays, can also subtly change pets’ behaviour.”
However, PDSA is urging pet owners to kick-start their pet’s winter health care routine, to help keep animals happy and healthy.
Olivia adds: “Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your pet’s diet and exercise should change. Try to stick to your routine as much as possible.
“If it’s difficult to go outside, there are various indoor activities for your pet to help cheer them up and keep them active. For example, encourage cats to play using indoor toys and put their food around the house at different levels to get them moving around the house. Puzzle feeders can be used to get their brain working too.
“Training, playing games and having fun with your pet will also help strengthen the bond between you. Even if your pet doesn’t seem in the mood to exercise as much as during the summer, it’s important to keep them stimulated when it isn’t possible to spend as much time outdoors. Pet-friendly, interactive toys are ideal for this.”
Keep an eye on your pets’ behaviour, and if you’re worried about any changes, your vet will be able to offer further tips and advice.
PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk