Play away the Winter Blues!
The nights are longer, the days are fresh and there's nothing more tempting than to stay indoors and hide under a blanket! Whether you're a dog, a cat or a human, we all tend towards staying warm inside at this time of the year. But did you know that less fresh air, activity and sunshine can give you AND your pet the seasonal blues? This is also a recipe for boredom and winter weight-gain, which isn't ideal for anyone, animal or human.
We've compiled a few tips on keeping your body, mind and spirit upbeat and active as we head into winter together. Read on Pawshakers...
1) Make an exercise routine and stick to it
It's so easy to crave that extra 30 minutes in bed, or to hide out inside sooner in the afternoons. But if you factor in exercise for you and your pet in the form of a run in the park or a walk if the weather permits, you will both see the benefits from burning a bit of extra energy in the form of endorphins, which are released when you are active and contribute to positive feelings.
The fresh air and vitamin D from the sunshine (if you're lucky enough to catch any!) will also contribute to keeping your mood up, which can be challenged during the darker, cool months. Once you start honouring your routine, you'll find the benefits to be addictive enough to stick with it!
We do really advise getting winter gear for your pet to wear outside when it gets frosty or when walking on salted pavements to avoid painful, blistered paws - snow boots, hats and snuggly coats can all look very handsome on your pet and keep them toasty at the same time.
2) Keep your eyes peeled!
Anti-freeze is a nasty chemical that can drip from your car during winter, so keep your pet closeby and don't let them wander in winter in case they have a lick of your neighbour's drive. Even the smallest amount can be fatal, so if you see your cat or dog acting dopey, twitchy or drunk take them to the emergency vet immediately.
And before you jump in the car, always give the boot a few loud taps - cats just love curling up under a warm car when it gets cold, so it pays to always check!
3) Keep it playful
If there's one way to help build a stronger bond with your pet, keep you both happy and active AND have fun, then it's playtime! We have a handy blog on homemade cat toys and dog toys, so why not have a crafternoon one weekend and make your pet a fun present to play with?
4) Beat the pesky winter bugs
As mentioned in our previous blog, a lazy dog just isn't always what it seems. Like you, your pet can get ill in winter when the weather is chilly, and lethargy doesn't always help you to fight off the bugs - in fact, it might be a sign that your pet is already unwell. Keeping fit together will keep both of your circulatory systems pumping and strong, and assist your immune system in fighting pesky winter viruses.
5) Watch what you eat
Our hunger definitely goes up in winter as our bodies crave the extra calories to keep warm and toasty. This is totally fine, but it's good to watch the temptation to go for processed or sugary foods when the temptation arises. With yourself AND your pet, stick with fresh, healthy food to fuel your bodies and fill you both with the vitamins and minerals you need to power on - here is a previous blog post with ways to feed your pet creatively - it's amazing how mixing up the routine can make things fun again!
Another important tip is to keep an eye on outdoor water bowls as they can easily freeze overnight if the temperature drops...
6) Keep warm!
Like humans, pets absolutely need a place to shelter and stay warm and dry in winter (especially short-haired pets or elderly animals). Outdoor dogs and cats really should be permitted indoors when the temperature plummets, with warm bedding. As we mentioned, there are many snuggly pet coats and snow boots available at pet stores (or online if you don't want to venture outside). Don't forget to remain up-to-date with vet visits during winter too!
How do you keep warm and happy with your pet in winter? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!