Cold weather and pets
Pets often spend time outdoors, and with some thought, owners can ensure that their animals have a cosier, warmer existence. This week on Ireland AM, we featured three aspects of winter care for pets.
To keep dogs warm and cosy:
- A coat or jersey for small or short haired dogs
- An insulated kennel if they spend time outside
- A soft, warm, bed
Dogs: short coated and small dogs can benefit from a warm coat in cold weather. For bigger dogs, or long furred animals, it is not as essential.
I showed the following examples on Ireland AM
- Richmond pink dog poloneck €14.99 – from Maxizoo
- English style checked dog jacket €48.99 – from Maxizoo
- Equafleece dog jacket/jersey €30.00 – available online
If animals spend any time outside, a cosy kennel is a good idea.
The three examples that I showed on Ireland AM were as follows:
- A flat roofed kennel at €99.99 with insulating cover for an extra €30.99 – from Maxizoo
- A plastic kennel for €99.99 but not insulated – from Maxizoo
- The “”bees knees” – a Petcosy fully insulated and weather proofed kennel for €420 – available online
- Rocky dog bed – €59.99 – from Maxizoo
- Diamond bean bag dog bed – €79.99 – from Maxizoo
- Orvis memory foam dog bed – from €200 – available online
Cats tend to do their own thing, finding warm cosy places on their own, but especially if they cannot come in via a cat flap, owners should provide somewhere outside where they have a bed. A microwaveable heat pad or a plug in heater for their bed also makes sense.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are the only small pets that are commonly kept out of doors in Ireland.
In most cases, it’s possible to adequately protect pets from the cold by adapting the hutch and pen rather than bringing the pet indoors.
- Kkeep rabbits and guinea pigs in pairs or small groups. This should be done anyway, as they are social creatures, thriving on company, and helping to keep each other warm at night. They’re best kept with their own species: rabbits tend to bully guinea pigs if they share cage space.
- Feeding is an important part of winter care for small pets. Offer abundant good quality hay with extra dry mix during bitterly cold spells, as small creatures need extra energy to keep them warm.
- Ideally, completely weatherproof the hutch. You can buy kits to do this, or you can improvise: google this topic for some ideas
- A “Snugglesafe” microwavable heat pad that stays warm for up to 10 hours is a useful extra form of heating
- A cold wet bed can even cause the death of small pets from hypothermia, so change bedding more often than usual
- Guinea pigs (but not rabbits) need to have extra vitamin C every day, or they will get scurvy just like humans (rabbits can produce their own Vitamin C, as can dogs and cats etc. To prevent this, give guinea pigs fresh food every day, all winter long, and give them additional vitamin C (using drops added to the water or giving ground up tablets mixed with the food).