Winter wellness for petsPosted on: 25 November 2019 by 50connect editorial
Tips for keeping your pet fit and healthy during the winter months.
Keeping your pet fit and healthy can improve its quality of life and increase longevity. Unsurprisingly, the winter months and Christmas time can pose a number of unexpected risks to your pet's health and safety.
Throughout the colder, darker months it can be difficult for you to get and out and give your pet the excercise and stimulation he/she needs. And around the festive holidays, pets take a bit of a back seat as your priorities can be dominated by other things. With that in mind it's especially important for pet owners to make a plan to ensure their pets stay happy and healthy.
Exercise your pet
As a general rule, pets should exercise at least 15 minutes, two times a day. Except for sick, overweight or older pets, pets should be panting tired if they're getting vigorous enough exercise. Without enough exercise, pets can become overweight and lethargic, which can sometimes lead to serious health conditions. In some parts of the country, pets that are active and outside during most of the year, tend not to get their usual amount of exercise in winter. Taking your dog for a brisk walk or playing with toys that catch your cat's attention, can help keep them fit and less bored. Any snow or salt should be removed from your pet's paws immediately.
Holidays are a wonderful time for family and friends, and food is often at the center of our celebrations. While some "people foods" such as a bit oof white turkey meat are okay for pets in moderation, other foods can be toxic, cause anemia or upset your pet's digestive system. In particular, chocolate can be fatally toxic to dogs if enough is consumed. It's best for pets to stick to a pet food diet to ensure proper nutrition. Naturally, guests should be asked to not share food with your pets.
Keep a safe environment
Many holiday plants and decorations are toxic or potentially injurious to pets. Some plants such as holly, ivy and mistletoe can be toxic if ingested by your pet. Shiny tinsel is appealing especially to cats but, if ingested, can cause serious intestinal problems. Breakable ornaments should be kept inaccessible to pets. Electrical cords should be out of the way and covered to prevent pets, especially puppies, from chewing on them. Snow removal products should be stored where pets cannot get into them.
Monitor your pet
Pet owners should always monitor their pets for any changes in weight, diet, eating, drinking, elimination or behaviour. Sometimes we assume that changes are expected because pets age much faster than people. However, changes could also be signs of more serious health issues. If you notice changes, it's always best to talk with your veterinarian.
Accidents, sudden illness or other emergencies can happen anytime - at home or while traveling. Be prepared by keeping handy phone numbers for your veterinary clinic, local pet emergency hospital and animal poison control center. Also, make sure others in your household, including sitters, know what to do and who to call in a pet emergency.
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