Winter has set in and with it the bitter cold. If you haven’t done so already it is time to make sure that not only you’re prepared but your pets are too. Dr Guy Fyvie, Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s veterinary advisor, says the colder weather can affect pets suffering from arthritis, plus it can result in them becoming less active, which is not ideal.  

As we find ourselves in the throes of winter and the third wave of the pandemic, there is no better reason for us to be staying at home and cuddling up with our pets in front of the fire with a warm cosy blanket. Dr Fyvie has some tips for pet parents this winter:

  • Exercise and watching calories  Many of us find it difficult to motivate ourselves to get outside and exercise during winter, and our pets feel the same. They may be hesitant to leave their warm beds to go outside into the cold to exercise or play. However, the more time they spend curled up, the stiffer their joints can become and the easier it will be for them to put on weight. So still try to include a brisk walk with your dog when the winter sun is high, playing catch outside in the garden and a couple of playing sessions with a feathered toy with your cat.
  • Take care of your pet’s arthritic joints – Amplified by the winter cold, arthritis, if not managed properly, can make for a lethargic and painful few months for your pet. Contributing factors to arthritis can be older age, breed, and excess weight. Symptoms for dogs include lameness (especially when rising), whimpering when joints are touched, reluctance to play or climb stairs, a tendency to lie down instead of sitting upright and sleeping more than usual. Cats are very good at hiding their pain so signs from them can be poor grooming, reluctance to play or jump, and sleeping more than usual. The food your pet eats plays an important role in their overall health and well-being. Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d food for joint care is made with high levels of specific Omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamine and Chondroitin. It is the only food clinically proven to improve mobility in as little as 21 days in dogs and 28 days in cats*. For accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for your pet’s arthritis and joint health.
  • Check water regularly – In very cold places around the country, especially in areas where frost is common, make sure your pets’ water does not freeze over. Check regularly and change when necessary. 
  • Keeping warm – Make sure your pet has a warm and sheltered area that is out of the cold, wet and wind. A nice fluffy blanket over a bed will provide extra warmth and comfort.  

Our pets aren’t able to tell us when they are in pain or feeling cold. Dr Fyvie says that if you are feeling the cold, they are probably too and if you notice any change in their behaviour this could be an indication of pain or them not feeling themselves.  

Visit the Hill’s website for more information

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