Good nutrition – keep feeding your cat or dog with quality pet food over the winter. Theoretically, energy requirements increase over the colder winter months, however pets often sleep more during the colder months and are therefore can be less active. Keep feeding levels about the same or increase slightly if dogs are working outside. Always feed a quality diet and watch body weight and condition.
Heavy coats versus light coated dogs – some dogs will have a dense two layered coat keeping them warm in the coldest of winters while other breeds have a light spare coat. There is now a wide range of jackets and coats now available to protect especially those little dogs who need extra warmth over the winter.
Hydration – always have fresh water available even in those winter wet overcast days. Some dogs get very wet over the winter, some love it but others can suffer with the cold so do consider the warm and dry conditions an animal needs especially at night.
Arthritic dogs – dogs with arthritis deserve special mention over the winter as joint pain is worse in the cold. Consider a warm coat, warm kennel, extra warm bedding and maybe even a heat pad for those old arthritic dogs. Medications should be continued as normal as they certainly feel more pain over the winter months.
Anti-freeze – anti-freeze can be poisonous to cats and dogs. Although this particular occurrence of poisoning is rare in New Zealand, it can be a problem in North America and Europe. Often antifreeze leaks onto garage floors especially from old cars. It is quite appealing to animals; it can initially taste quite sweet to animals but is soon followed by a foul after taste. Kidney damage often develops with Calcium oxalate crystals forming in the urine and damaging the kidneys.