How to Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy during the Winter
Winters in Dubai mean fantastic weather, fun activities, and spending time outdoors to make the most of this time of the year.
The cooler weather is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your pet outdoors. Pet-friendly parks, beaches, cafes, and restaurants are perfect for an adventure with your furry friend. If in doubt, call before leaving to check whether the place you have in mind welcomes pets. Some places have size and breed restrictions, so make sure your pet will be welcome beforehand.
There are a growing number of pet cafes and bakeries where you can take your dog or cat for a yummy pupperchino and freshly made pet treats. The experience revolves around your pet enjoying their day out, so if your pet is comfortable around other people and pets, you should definitely make a trip out of it.
Here are some pet care and pet health tips for the winter season.
Physical activity outdoors is good for your pet’s health and yours. Walking, jogging, trekking, and playing games like fetch and frisbee are great ways to bond with your dog, make memories, and have fun while getting in shape.
Cats can enjoy the good weather too. We don’t recommend letting your cat roam around outdoors without supervision. Training them to walk on a harness is essential to take your cat outdoors. Not all cats enjoy being outdoors, so don’t force your cat if they are scared or don’t want to join you.
If you have more than one cat and have the space, an enclosed cat patio will allow your cats to enjoy the weather while remaining safe. This option also works for rabbits and other smaller mammals. They can play and exercise in the fresh air without being exposed to the dangers of the world outside.
Proper rabbit, dog, and cat care includes feeding them high-quality, nutritious food all year round. Never compromise on the quality of your pet’s food. Poor nutrition today means poor health (and lots of vet bills) tomorrow.
Premium pet foods have the proper amount of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals and are made of high-quality ingredients. Pet food with unhealthy “fillers” like flour, corn, wheat, soy, or chicken and meat meal fill your pet up but provides little nutritional value.
Filler ingredients aren’t necessarily a problem. It’s only a problem when the bulk of your pet’s food is made of low quality fillers, instead of the nutrients it needs. Some fillers, like grains and soy in particular, can cause allergies in dogs and cats. You should also avoid pet food containing unhealthy animal by-products and artificial coloring.
Dogs tend to be more physically active during cooler weather. If this is the case, increase your dog’s food and calorie intake according to its energy levels. More calories also help keep your dog’s body warm.
Cats usually sleep more during the winter and are less active. They prefer staying warm and cozy by curling up in a ball and napping. You should adjust your cat’s diet according to activity levels, age, and health status.
Rabbits enjoy cooler temperatures and tend to become more active during winter, even if they live indoors. You should continue to feed your rabbit lots of good quality hay to keep its digestive system in good condition. Rabbits can get their vitamins and minerals from fresh vegetables, but these should be fed in moderation.
Pet safety is an integral part of pet care and pet health. Keeping pets away from physical danger and things that can make them ill is important because they don’t know any better.
Keep your dog leashed when spending time with it in public areas outdoors. Being able to control your dog if needed will keep your dog and others safe in sudden, unpredictable situations.
The only place your dog should be unleashed in public is in a dog park that allows dogs to play off-leash. We believe we know how our pets will react in any given situation, and we might even be right most of the time. However, there’s always a tiny chance that our pet might surprise us, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keeping your dog leashed and close to you also helps protect your dog from other dogs’ attacks and dangerous situations.
Make sure your dog has an ID tag with your details. If your dog runs off or gets separated from you, proper identification will help find it. You can also use GPS devices that pinpoint the exact location of your pet. These usually come in the form of a collar or a tag.
Cats and rabbits should be kept indoors to protect them from the weather and the dangers they can encounter outdoors. Play with your cat or rabbit indoors to keep it active. A bored pet can become a destructive pet, so provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation by using toys, games, and treats.
Whether your pet goes outdoors or stays indoors, remember to get it microchipped and registered with Dubai Municipality. If your pet gets lost or goes missing, its chances of being found improve if it’s microchipped and registered.
Preventative health care can save you and your pet from a lot of stress and heart-ache. Your pet should be up to date on all vaccinations. Puppies and kittens need to complete an initial set of vaccinations during the first few months of their lives, and then receive vaccinations every year or as often as your veterinarian suggests. Annual check-ups, de-worming, and kennel cough vaccinations (for dogs) also come under preventative health care.
In Dubai it is now municipality law to have your pet updated on all its yearly vaccinations. Professional grooming facilities, dog parks, doggy daycares, and pet boarding places are not allowed to take pets in if their yearly vaccinations have not been updated. Your pet will also not be allowed to travel with an expired vaccination record, so it makes sense to keep things in order.
Your pet should have a warm and cozy place to sleep in. A bed with a cushion and a soft blanket is perfect for winter. Make sure the area your pet sleeps in is free from draughts.
Pet apparel is a cute and fun way of keeping your pet warm. There are many options, like pet sweaters, vests, jackets, hoodies, headwear, socks, and even booties. Some pets enjoy being dressed in pet wear, and some are indifferent. If your pet is uncomfortable or gets stressed, however, skip the winter wear and provide a blanket to snuggle in when it wants.
If you take your dog outdoors after dark, get them a reflective collar or jacket so they are easier to spot. Remember to wear reflective clothing yourself, especially in areas with less lighting.
Whether outdoors or indoors, make sure your pet is adequately hydrated. Some pets drink less water during the winter. They still need to be sufficiently hydrated however, so provide clean, fresh drinking water at all times.
Carry a pet water bottle with you when outdoors. Pets can get dehydrated quickly without us realizing. Offer your pet water at regular intervals. Proper hydration is essential for pet health.
Keep your pet’s grooming routine up. Some pets shed more during the winter, so brush their fur regularly to get rid of loose hair. You’ll find less hair on your clothes and furniture, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Some dog, cat, and rabbit breeds need more grooming than others. If you have a curly haired dog, like a poodle or a longhaired cat, like a persian, regular brushing is a must. Brushing every three to four days helps remove loose dead hair that can become tangled in your pet’s fur and cause knots and mats. Matting is difficult to remove and can cause a lot of discomfort to your pet.
Professional grooming and bathing helps prevent matting and fur and coat problems. It also prevents skin, nail, eye, and ear infections, at the very least. Your pet groomer will be able to spot any changes on your pet’s body, and will alert you if something should be looked at by a veterinarian.
How much professional grooming your pet needs depends on its lifestyle, breed, and fur type and length. Pets usually need professional grooming once in six, eight, or 12 weeks.
Pets need hugs, cuddles, and treats all year round. Make your pet feel extra special by treating them to healthy and nutritious treats that help keep them warm too!
There are many healthy options available. Look for treats made from high-quality, natural ingredients that are free of artificial coloring and chemicals. Raw and freeze-dried treats can be a delicious and nutritious snack.
If you have a dog, avoid treats made of rawhide. Rawhide is not easy to digest and is hard on your dog’s stomach. It’s meant to be chewed slowly, so it lasts longer. However, dogs can bite off and swallow pieces which can get stuck in their throat and cause them to choke. Rawhide pieces that are ingested can sometimes block a dog’s intestinal tract without anyone realizing until days later.
If you’re feeling creative, you can treat your pet to home-made winter goodies. Cats can be fussy eaters, so use ingredients your cat likes. You can combine tuna or salmon with ingredients that are safe for cats, like olive oil, oats, or eggs, for example.
Some cats enjoy cookies made of bananas, oats, honey, and some coconut oil. Use extra ingredients sparingly. Cats are carnivores, and can have other ingredients in only small amounts.
Dogs are omnivores so making homemade treats for them is a bit easier. Only use ingredients that are safe for your dog to eat. Dogs can enjoy eggs, dried liver, homemade chicken jerky, and freeze dried chicken or beef cubes.
Frozen carrots, dehydrated sweet potatoes, and peanut butter can also be used to make dog treats. You can feed your dog yogurt in small amounts if you’re sure that your dog isn’t lactose intolerant. Most dogs and cats tend to become lactose intolerant as they grow up, so milk and dairy products are best avoided.
Rabbits need good quality hay throughout the year. Fresh vegetables, like carrots and celery, and herbs, like basil and mint are good sources of nutrients in moderation.
Rabbits can have banana-oat cookies made with honey and some coconut oil. You can also make them a small salad with cut-up cucumber, celery, and some parsley. Rabbits also like hay cubes filled with basil or mint. As long as it’s safe for your rabbit, it can be added to their diet in moderation.
It’s best to use fresh ingredients to make homemade treats. Proper nutrition, exercise, hydration, grooming, and preventative care can improve your pet’s health and wellbeing. A healthy pet is a happy pet!
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