You and your pet had a great summer. Many days you are spent at the park, the beach, or camping in the wilderness. It has now come to an end and fall, and winter is on their way.
You might be starting to put away the camping gear and brought out your winter clothes for freshening up. But what can you do for your pet? How can you prepare them for the change of seasons that are on the way?
Both dogs and cats can react strongly to changes in weather patterns. Many animals are sensitive to barometric pressure (the pressure of the earth’s atmosphere). If a storm is on the way and you have a sensitive pet, provide a safe place for them to hide.
Put them in a kennel or crate in a quiet area of the house, so they don’t panic and run away or injure themselves.
Your pet’s appetite may change during fall and wintertime. Dogs and cats often eat less during the summer months and increase their food intake during the colder months. When it is hot and humid outside, they may not feel like eating. During winter, the change in temperature and activity level may increase their appetite as an attempt to keep them warm. We carry many brands of dog food, cat food, fish food, small pet food, reptile food, bird food, and wild bird food.
Keeping Your Pet Comfortable
If you feel like snuggling up in a warm blanket, your pet most likely does too. And when you bundle up to go outdoors because it is bitter cold and windy, bundle up your pet. Unless your pets have a full, dense winter coat, they will be more comfortable with an extra layer on just like you are. A fleece pet sweater will help them enjoy going outside and help maintain their body temperature.
In addition to giving them a warm, comfortable place to be during the day such as a well-insulated dog house with blankets, outdoor dogs (and cats) should be brought indoors at night.
Keep Up with Flea and Tick Prevention
Icy cold weather with five inches of rainfall does not necessarily eradicate all pests in the environment such as fleas and ticks. There may be not as many around to jump onto your dog (Shop Dog Care) or cat (Shop Cat Care) and take up residence in their skin and fur, but they can still be present and can infect your pet. Don’t start slacking on the flea and tick preventative during these months! There may be fewer bugs around, but they are never entirely gone.
If You Get the Winter Blues, Your Pet May Be Affected Too
During the wintertime, some adults can experience mild to moderate depression. Called "Seasonal Affective Disorder," it is believed that fewer hours of sunlight during the day lead to biochemical changes in the body that affect mood and behavior. You may become lethargic, unmotivated, have changes in appetite, and feel a lack of pleasure when doing things you used to enjoy.
If this happens to you, it may affect your pet as well. When you start lounging on the couch for hours on end instead of getting outside and doing things you usually do, your pet will notice the change in routine. The change in routine may cause them to experience a difference in their normal behavior, too. In other words, they may start acting a little depressed.
To keep your pets happy even when you may not be, try to stick to a routine that they can count on and make sure to express affection like you usually do. That may boost your spirits a bit as well. Look forward to spring when both of you are most likely back to your usual selves.
Enjoy Your Pet Year-Round
Above are some essential tips on how to prepare your pet for the colder months beginning in September-October and lasting until May-June. You may need to increase their daily food intake and take extra care so they can stay warm and comfortable.
Your regular patterns may change (fewer days at the local dog park and less time spent outdoors) but try to keep as consistent a routine as possible.
The best advice is to enjoy your pet. Lots of love and affection will help them adjust to changes in weather patterns at any time during the year.