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Preparing your pets for winter

Preparing your pets for winter

Preparing your pets for winter involves more than ensuring they’ll be warm during the colder months; it’s often the smaller details that make the biggest difference to their health.

Preparing your pets for winter: Tip 1

DO NOT give up on tick and flea protection. Many pet parents assume that as soon as the weather cools it’s ok to stop applying parasite control. But that’s not wise; especially here in the damp Western Cape. Fleas love warm, damp conditions and will hide in the seams of blankets, in floorboards and in any warm space where they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Ask anyone who has tried to get rid of fleas once they’ve invaded a house: it’s a nightmare. Ticks and fleas can make your dog or cat very, very ill; the diseases they pass on can even be fatal so don’t stop protecting your animals.

Preparing your pets for winter: Tip 2

It’s easy to give roll over and go back to sleep now that early mornings are chilly but exercise is essential to keep your dog (and you) healthy. A daily walk is a must, even for golden oldies. If the mornings are too cold, walk in the evenings before sunset. Exercise is not only good for physical health (it protects against diabetes, cancer and arthritis) but it’s also great for mental health. A dog that is stimulated by walking is less likely to be destructive so you’re saving your furniture, your garden and your wallet while protecting his health!

Tip 3

Revise your pet’s diet. A change of seasons is always a good time to take stock of what your pet’s eating. As they age pets’ nutritional needs change and pets with certain health conditions may need prescription diets to aid healing and disease prevention. If you’re uncertain what to feed your pet, chat with your vet.

Tip 4

Book your annual vet check. If you haven’t done this already, now’s the perfect time especially for older pets who find winter especially difficult. This is when aches and pains show up; when arthritis makes movements slower and more painful. An annual vet check enables early disease detection, and the early a disease is identified the more successfully it can be treated. Treatment is more cost effective too if it is started early.

Tip 5

Update your pet’s vaccinations. Annual vaccinations are the only way to protect your pet against killer diseases like distemper and feline leukaemia. A change of seasons acts like a diary reminder so make that appointment now.

Tip 6

Wash bedding, replace blankets that are ripped or torn, replace beds if necessary. Grubby bedding is the perfect hiding place for disease-carrying fleas and flies. The same goes for collars and harnesses. Give yours a good scrub and replace those that are frayed.

These may seem like small things but in a pet’s world they make a big impact and could mean the difference between a long life side by side or a life shortened by illness or injury.

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