Dog under blanket

Looking after your older pet in the cold weather

The Met Office has teamed up with the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to offer some advice on how to protect your pets during colder weather.

They might have a fur coat, but dogs and cats can still be vulnerable to colder weather — particularly when they are older — and can even fall ill from extended exposure to very cold temperatures.

Vets recommend making sure your dog’s bed is in a draught-free, warm spot which is insulated from the floor in the house. You should also line it with an extra blanket or two for added warmth.

Dogs still need exercise in the cold months but consider putting a coat on older dogs or those with thin fur to keep them warm during walks.

Think about keeping older cats indoors, with access to a litter tray, during extreme cold snaps. Even healthy, young cats should also have easy access to shelter and warmth.

“When it’s cold for us, it’s cold for our pets, which is why it’s important to take extra precautions to keep them safe and warm,” explained BVA president Justine Shotton.

“During the coldest months, dogs and cats need easy access to shelter and a cosy den, and while dogs will still need exercise, owners should take precautions to protect them from the cold.

“Rabbits and guinea pigs are also vulnerable to hypothermia despite their warm coats, so owners should take steps to ensure any outdoor hutches are well protected.

“If you have any concerns about your pet in this cold weather, please consult your local vet for advice.”

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