Just like us, senior pets feel more aches, pains, and changes in mood when winter arrives. Don’t let your senior pet get ‘left out in the cold’ when it comes to comfort as temperatures drop. There are some easy ways to help your older pet adjust to winter weather. If you’re ready to warm up to some winter-ready ways to keep your pet cozy and active all winter long, we’re ready to share our top tips for winter-readiness for senior pets.
1. Help Keep Your Senior Pet Warm All Winter
As pets get older, their bodies have a more difficult time maintaining body heat. This makes them feel colder both indoors and outside. If you notice your pet shivering, shaking, sleeping tight curled up, or ‘nesting’ down into blankets, your pet may be having a hard time staying warm.
To help your pet stay warm during the winter months, you will want to:
- Provide a warm bed. Senior pets often benefit most from orthopedic beds.
- Dress your pet in a sweater, coat, and/or boots for winter walks
- Check the location of your pet’s bed to be sure it’s not in a drafty area of the house.
- Give your pet a few extra blankets to curl into.
2. Keep Walking and Playing with Your Pet
Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you should discontinue walks. In fact, winter walks are necessary for senior pets to maintain muscle tone and joint health. Additionally, walking and playing will elevate your pet’s heart rate to keep the pitter-patter of your pet’s most vital organ.
Getting outside for short stints provides pets with a bit of extra mental stimulation to combat the winter blues. This can also lessen the progression of dementia and depression.
Don’t skip playing with your cat either. Play and exercise are equally important for our feline companions as for dogs.
Remember that visibility while walking in winter is important. As roads become icy, you want drivers to see you and your pet well in advance.
3. Don’t Let Your Pet Slip, Trip, or Fall
Slippery, icy surfaces are one of the most common hazards for pets in wintertime. To increase traction and prevent your pet’s paws from sliding out from under them:
- Put down some extra rugs and runners--these also keep their toes toasty-warm.
- Boots on walks can increase traction. Toe grips or “toe treads” work well for dogs with weakened hips or hind legs.
- Put in pet stairs and ramps to help your pet get to their favorite spots without overly extending their joints or overly exerting their muscles.
4. Adding Joint and Coat Supplements
Because winter is rough on the joints and much drier than other seasons, most senior pets benefit from supplements to support their coats and joints. Supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin are great for maintaining joint health and reducing joint pain. For healthy skin and a shiny coat, look for supplements with Omega 3 and 6. Treats and a diet with fish containing high levels of Omegas can provide your pet with fatty acids to keep their skin and coat healthy.
5. Keep Your Pet Winter-Ready with a Check-Up
It can be difficult to pinpoint what individual pets need without an exam. We recommend that senior pets come in twice per year. This can help us detect illnesses and issues like diabetes or heart issues early, and these issues can make winter more difficult for pets.
We will tailor your pet’s winter care to their needs and health history. We can also address chronic pain or long-term joint pain for the best winter your pet can have.
Wishing You and your Pets a Warm and Wonderful Winter
As winter arrives and temperatures drop, we hope you and your family stay safe. Consider stocking up on supplies for your pet in case of COVID-19 and enjoy the beauty of winter here in Berryville. In the meantime, if there is anything we can do for your pet this winter, please make an appointment to see us! We’re here to support your pet’s health for their best life all winter long.
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