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Winter time......

Date: 14 November 2015  |  Author: Holly Sadler

Tags: catsdogsguinea pigsosteoarthritisrabbitswinter

As winter nights draw in and the temperatures start to drop, we need to give a little extra thought for our furry friends. They don't exactly need Hunter wellies and a new Barbour jacket (although I'm sure there are a fair few sporting these this season...!) but a few changes here and there can make all the difference.  

Photo courtesy of


  • for very young, old or thin-skinned dogs consider a coat for walks in the wet or cold
  • if walking in the dark, use reflective or flashing collars
  • arthritic dogs will find joints are particularly sore or stiff in colder weather, just like people – joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin can be very beneficial, as can non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain killers for very stiff days
  • don’t be tempted to take dogs to firework displays (see previous blogs for tips on firework phobias)


  • on very cold days some cats like to curl up under the bonnet of a car to keep warm on the motor – if this sounds like your moggy remember to check before you turn on the engine
  • for some reason cats love the taste of anti-freeze (containing ethylene glycol) – even ingestion of just a small amount can lead to fatal kidney failure, so check garages carefully for signs of any spillages. Symptoms to look out for of toxicity include vomiting, depression, wobbliness (ataxia) and muscle tremors. If suspected consult your vet immediately
  • consider keeping cats (especially if dark in colour and not easily seen) in at night to reduce the risk of road traffic accidents

Rabbits & Guinea Pigs:

  • cover hutch with a tarpaulin or heavy sheet to help keep out wind and rain, or bring inside over winter
  • ensure water bottles/bowls haven’t frozen over
  • provide extra straw/shavings for a nice cosy bed
  • consider safe heat pads to use in the sleeping area, such as a Snugglesafe

About Dr Holly Sadler