As the weather cools down outside and we turn the heaters up inside, it’s important to make sure your pet is happy – but how can we tell? Your pet will display some clear signs if they are uncomfortable because of the temperature. If your pet is too warm, you will notice:
Elevated body temperature (they will feel warmer to the touch than usual)
If your pet is too cool, you will notice:
Shivering, shaking or trembling
Curling up into a small ball – tucking their limbs in close trying to retain body heat
They might be cuddling up to you or burrowing under blankets/cushions more than usual
Lowered body temperature (extremities like paws and ears may feel cool to the touch)
How can I make my pet more comfortable?
Avoid frequently moving between the indoors and outdoors for short periods of time.
Keep the heater at a reasonable temperature – remember (in most cases) your pet has a fur coat so they may become warm more quickly than you.
Ensure your pet does not get too close to a heater or fireplace when playing or napping – this can cause burns and overheating.
Ensure your pet has access to an insulated, draught free area to shelter and sleep.
If it is too cold outside for you, it is very likely too cold for your pet. Allow pets to sleep indoors overnight in cool weather and be mindful of their paws on cold surfaces during walks and toilet breaks.
Be aware your pet will need to warm up and cool down before/after exercise – their muscles are just like ours and can be prone to injury if not warmed up before exercise and given the opportunity to cool down before returning to the warm indoors.
Make sure your pet is appropriately groomed for winter. A healthy, clean coat is essential for regulating body temperature and insulating your pet against the cool weather.
Consider a jumper or jacket for your pet. Not all breeds will require one as some have thick double (or triple) coats to insulate them against the elements, whereas breeds with shorter coats or less body mass (rex cats, greyhounds and whippets for example) may very much appreciate a snuggly coat.