Winter is coming, and like us our pets face their own seasonal challenges. With the change of season comes colder weather, rainy days and longer nights. All of these affect the way our pets spend their days, our interaction with them, and the ailments that they are more susceptible to. The team at pet.co.nz has put together our top ten picks to help keep your dog happy, healthy and comfortable over the winter months.
Heatpads are a crucial tool in keeping your pet warm over winter. They are especially beneficial for the elderly, the young and unwell pets. This is a great way to get pets to use a new bed - as in colder weather they are naturally drawn towards the warmth of a heat pad or electric blanket to keep them warm and cosy. A good example of this is the Argus Heating Pad which is like a durable New Zealand made electric blanket for your pet made from heavy duty plastic that is easy to plug into a wall to keep your pet snug. Or you can opt for a microwavable heat pad that can be heated up easily n minutes in your microwave and stays warm for up to 10 hours like the Snugglesafe Microwave Heatpad which is a safe to be used for animals small and large.
Even pets who sleep indoors need a warm place to sleep especially in the winter months. A warm bed provides your pet with a special place of their own, where they can go to feel safe and secure. Cats and dogs feel the cold just as we do and those that suffer from arthritis can experience increased pain and discomfort over the winter months. It is therefore important to keep your pets warm and cosy with extra blankets or a quality comfortable bed. There are many styles of beds available. Which one to choose depends on what best suits your pets individual needs. Raised beds are great for keeping pets off hard ground and away from drafts, they are easy to get in and out of and they are very durable and easy to clean. Where as for pets with arthritis or large pets it is often best to go with a memory foam bed that will support their weight and keep the pressure of their joints. But keep in mind whatever bed you choose, ensure it is warm and comfortable your pet, it is lucky that pets wont mind about the colour or design of the bed.
When the weather gets cold and blustery humans grab a winter coat to keep them warm, so it would only make sense to get your dog their very own coat to protect them from wind and rain. But whether your dog needs a coat will greatly depend on their age, body condition and coat type. Coats are vital for elderly pets, underweight pets, those who sleep outdoors and dogs with thin coats like Greyhounds, Vizsla's and miniature short haired breeds or dogs that have their coats clipped short. Coats are common these days so you will often see dogs out and about wearing the latest fashion or a functional raincoat. Both have their place and can be great aids to your pet over the cooler winter months. Jumpers and coats can provide extra warmth to those pets who are susceptible to feeling the cold, in particular certain breeds and elderly dogs. Raincoats are fantastic for getting out and about for walks on those rainy days. Many coats like the Caribu Alpine Dog Coat are made from water resistant or waterproof materials which are great for keeping your pet clean and dry.
4: Reflective accessories
During the winter months when it gets darker earlier many of us are walking our dogs in the dark. Many products, including coats, leads and collars come with a reflective element included like the Rogz Beltz Utility Collar that gives your pet added visibility when walking in low light conditions. There are even small lights designed to attach onto to your dogs collar or harness such as the EzyDog Adventure Light that are durable and easy to use and are visible even up to 5 metres away. Reflective dog collars can also pick up car headlights and other sources of light that can allow people to see your dog and avoid a deadly accident. Even if your dog is still on a leash, his or her reflective collar allow others to see where you and your pet are if you’re out for a late night stroll. These products are a must and help to keep you and your pet safe and seen when out and about for winter walks.
With the cold weather comes stiff aching joints, and those pets who suffer from arthritis feel it even more. If your dog is older or is prone to arthritis or hip dysplasia, you’ll want to add some supplements to their diet to help support their joint health. There are a lot of supplements on the market but a good go to when it comes to joint health are products with glucosamine and chondroitin or omega fatty acids like Pernaflex Powder or ProVida Bone & Joint. Alternatively you can look for foods that contain high amounts of these ingredients. When it comes to pets with arthritis or joint conditions we recommend that you always seek the advice of your veterinarian to ensure the product is suitable for your pets individual needs.
6: Grooming tools
There is a common misconception that you do not need to groom your pet as frequently over the winter months. But in fact, dog grooming during the winter months is just as important for the safety and well-being of your pet as it is during the warmer months. As being out and about in the rain and mud during winter can take a toll on your pets coat. Their undercoat which is designed to keep them warm in winter can be prone to matts, especially in long haired breeds. Even if your pet is indoors they will benefit from regular brushing to remove dead hair helps to keep the coat looking clean and shiny. The Furminator is a good go to for grooming dogs that have coats that shed, it helps to removes loose hairs from the undercoat and can reduce shedding by up to 90%. But for dogs with woollen coats a simple slicker brush like the Yours Droolly Shear Magic Slicker Brush helps to remove any tangles or knots in between grooms.
7: Waterless shampoos and sprays
No matter how hard you try to keep your pet clean and dry in the wet months of winter they are bound to get muddy paws or the dreaded wet dog smell. To avoid having to wash your dog as regularly it can be helpful to purchase a dry/waterless shampoo like the Tropiclean Deep Cleaning Waterless Shampoo. These are superb for keeping your pet clean and smelling fresh throughout winter. Waterless shampoos can be used on both cats and dogs and are easy to use. They do not require the use of water and therefore eliminate that ‘cold hose down’ in the backyard.
Another great way to keep their coats smelling fresh is the use of a spritz or cologne that comes in a spray bottle so is an easy way to condition and moisturise your pets coat in between washes. They are ideal for those who like to wash their pet regularly but find it harder to do so in the colder months.
8: Paw protections
If you live in a cooler climate where there is frost, ice or snow it is important to consider how you will protect your pets paws from the cold! This can be done with either the use of protective dog booties or shoes like the Trixie Walker Care Comfort Boots to protect paws from cold conditions. Or the use of a topical paw balm like the WashBar Paw Balm that is when your pets paws or nose have become dry or damaged through exposure to extreme heat or cold.
With winter comes those days where we all snuggle up inside and no one ventures out, even the pets. Interactive and boredom buster toys are the main ingredient to survive these days. Feather teasers are a fun interactive toy that you and your cat are both guaranteed to enjoy, while the Nylabone range of durable chews will keep your dog entertained for hours.
Treat balls are suitable for all pets and are great for those home alone days for dogs you can go for toys like the Kong Wobbler Dog Toy or the Outward Hound Treat Twister. These toys make your pet work for their food! They can be filled with your pets favourite treats or food and will keep them occupied for hours without having to leave the warmth and comfort of their home.
10: Flea treatments
We all know summer equals fleas, but did you know that winter equals fleas for NEXT summer! The life cycle of the flea allows it to survive and even thrive in our colder months. Adult fleas continue to emerge, infect your pet and lay hundreds of eggs in heated homes through-out the winter. Flea eggs and pupae (small cocoon) can happily remain viable but dormant in temperatures as low as 5 degrees celcius. Continuous flea control with a product that kills both mature and immature stages of the flea will protect your pet and your house right through until the next summer.
Keeping your pets healthy and happy over the winter months is our top priority. At Pet.co.nz we have all the accessories your pet requires to stay warm, content and to dream of the summer to come.