There is no denying that the Winter chills have well and truly arrived. While we pull on our woolly jumpers and turn the heating up, it’s important that we remember our outdoor furry friends too.

In the thick of Winter, especially on wet or especially blowy nights, it is always a good idea to bring outdoor pets inside if you can. Dogs can be secured in the laundry or bathroom on a nice warm bed or blanket if you’d prefer not to share your bed with them, while Guinea pigs and rabbits can be kept in smaller pet crates or boxes with some bedding if you can.

Offer your outdoor pet extra bedding to snuggle under during the cooler months and with pet clothing so affordable these days a well fitted jacket or jumper will often be a welcome treat to even the most macho of dogs. Smaller pets love to bury into hidey holes so offer your rats, mice and ferrets an igloo or old pair of socks to retreat to.

Try to eliminate chills and drafts by lifting dogs’ beds off the ground and offering a buffer from the wind. Kennels should be sized to comfortably fit the dog but not over-sized as they work like a swag and heat up from body heat as well as protecting from the blustering cold wind and offer respite, especially for very young or very old dogs, who naturally have a harder time regulating their body temperature. You can cover hutches and smaller cages with thick polar fleece for insulation, or a waterproof tarp on rainy nights (throwing in an extra handful of straw is a nice touch too!)

Offer your outdoor pet extra food during the cooler months, as the extra calories will help them to keep warm. Remember to always have fresh, clean water on offer, even when it is cold and rainy, as your pet is prone to dehydration at all times, not just on warmer days.

Invest in a good coat for your pooch for walks, even if you aren’t feeling particularly cold. Remember, you’ve got your winter warmers on, your pet should too!

If your outdoor pet suffers from arthritis, be especially mindful that the cold will wreak havoc on their joints. If you suspect your pampered pet might be exhibiting signs of sore or still joints, take our Arthritis assessment to see if you need to take action this Winter.

If you’d like to discuss the best ways to keep your outdoor pet warm this winter, pop in to the Direct Vet Services clinic or make an appointment here so we can help you keep your fur-family warm and cosy this month!