Top tips for pet owners in winter Have you been feeling the cold lately? Then it’s likely your furry friend has been too! Here’s a few simple ways to keep your pet safe and warm this winter. Winter coats While many dogs have thick fur to keep them warm, when they’re outside or on a walk they will likely still benefit from a winter coat – especially if they’re older or short-haired. Coats should be snug, but not so tight that they restrict your pet's movement. Make sure your pet is comfortable, as some furry friends don’t like wearing clothing. A rug can help keep your horse warm and dry in bad weather, but a young, healthy horse is usually fine with shelter only. If it rains, make sure to check your horse and replace their wet rugs. And remember, a horse rug is not a substitute for shelter. Bedding Keep your pet’s bed away from drafts, elevated off cold surfaces and add some extra, warm blankets. Pocket pets and farm animals will benefit from some extra bedding in the colder months to stay cosy. Shelter If your pet spends a lot of time outside, shelter is essential to protect them from rain, frost and wind. Kennels should be raised off the ground to prevent flooding. In extreme weather, it’s best to bring your pet indoors if possible. Farm animals should have access to shelter, whether that’s vegetation or man-made, to protect them from the elements. Even horses with thick winter coats need somewhere to escape from strong wind and rain. Food Don’t be surprised if your pet is hungrier during the cooler months. Animals may need more energy to keep their core body temperature regulated when it’s cold. Having said that, don’t overdo it, and chat to your vet for advice on how much to feed your furry friend. Exercise Your best mate still needs exercise and boredom-busting stimulation. If it's raining, consider indoor games or a doggy playdate. Games and enrichment will keep them mentally stimulated and they'll be less likely to bark or take up any bad habits, like chewing shoes and furniture. Some ideas for dogs: Use Kongs when feeding your dog Hide treats in your house and yard Make frozen treats for them Keep plenty of different toys that you can rotate Play games with them such as fetch Do some basic training with them. (What better opportunity to make sure they know all the basics, like sit, stay, lie down and come?) Here’s some enrichment ideas for: Cats Rabbits Guinea pigs Heaters Your pets will seek out sources of heat during colder weather. Be wary of your pets sitting too close to heaters or fires – they can fall asleep and end up with dried out skin or burns. Senior care Cold weather can be hard on older cats and dogs and can aggravate stiff joints with arthritis. If possible, it’s best to keep up a healthy exercise regime during winter – extra weight will only worsen joint pain. For more info on arthritis in dogs, click hereFor more info on arthritis in cats, click here And last but not least, remember, there’s nothing like lots of cuddles to keep winter blues away!