Do you have fond memories of playing together with your dog in the snow? Or perhaps your kitten curled up by the fire? Though those memories might be wonderful, perhaps this year you’ve noticed your furry friends starting to slow down, go a bit grey, and maybe just prefer being indoors. Just like us, pets do get old, and though that doesn’t mean saying goodbye anytime soon, you may have to think a little differently on how to help your senior pet cope this winter.
Advice for Old Dogs:
Not many dogs will say no to ‘walkies’, even the grey ones, so there are some considerations you should make when walking your elderly dog in winter. Elderly dogs will feel the cold, especially short-haired breeds, so consider getting a dog coat to keep them warm. Ensure it fits well, is waterproof and easily washable. A winter coat will go a long way to keeping them warm. Some people try dog boots, which are not for everyone but will keep their paws from getting cold in the snow and also stop the salt used to grit the roads getting to their feet. If you decide boots are not for your dog, make sure to wash your dog’s feet well after each walk, as the salt can cause irritation.
On the walk, you might want to start taking shorter, easier routes to avoid tiring your dog. Avoid areas that are particularly icy and never leave an elderly dog unattended, as there are lots of hidden dangers and remember elderly dogs will have poorer hearing and eyesight, so may not notice problems before it is too late. Once you get back home, give them a nice warm towel down, or even carefully hair-dryer them (if they let you) to make sure they stay nice and dry.
Advice for Elderly Cats:
Depending on your senior cat, they may seem little different to when they were a kitten, or they may suddenly decide to permanently live curled up on the sofa! In either case, there are some things you should consider for your elderly cat this winter. Winter is wet and cold, and many older cats may decide to spend more time indoors. If they do, make sure they have a scratch post and toys to keep them occupied and cosy areas to sleep in. Keep these warm, away from the cold or any draughts.
If you find that your elderly cat does not want to go outside at all when it is wet and cold then simply provide a litter tray.
Life can be tricky for elderly pets, and winter can have additional difficulties, especially if they have to go outside. However, with some love and care from their owners, some warm hugs and blankets, things might not be so bad. Follow our tips to make sure your elderly pet stays safe and warm this winter. Who says you can’t teach an old dog (or cat…) new tricks?