Dog jackets, and more: How to best care for your pets in winter

Snug as a bug, or in this case — goat, in a rug. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied

WINTER is coming. When the cold winds blow and howl, for us, comfort comes from knowing we can snuggle up by the TV and heater, safe and indoors.

Our furry friends don’t always have such luxuries. Despite having coats, the cold months are also a time of hardship for our pets.

On a rainy night, wet and without shelter, Mia the Cat was found injured by a member of the public. While the cold did not cause her injuries, if she wasn’t rescued her condition would have deteriorated quickly. It’s likely she wouldn’t have made it through winter. Luckily, after her surgery, Mia made a full recovery.

Mia the cat nearly became a winter casualty. Luckily, the quick thinking of her rescuer spared her.

Mia the cat nearly became a winter casualty. Luckily, the quick thinking of her rescuer spared her.Source:Supplied

Like humans, animals can also suffer in the cold without sufficient warmth and protection.

Every winter, almost 5600 animals are taken care of by RSPCA NSW.

As temperatures start to drop off across the state, RSPCA NSW urges pet owners to consider the effects of the bitter weather on their pets.

RSPCA NSW Yagoona Hospital’s managing veterinarian, Dr Christina Zhu, provided five tips to keep pets out of harm’s way this winter.

1. Provide adequate shelter that keep pets protected from wind and rain. If an animal is housed outside, provide a warm kennel that is elevated from the ground with thick bedding materials.

2. In extreme weather conditions, it is preferable to bring animals inside. Provide pets with a warm area to sleep that is elevated from the cold floor and away from drafts. Make sure fire places and heaters have safety grills and screens so pets can’t get too close and end up with burns.

3. Accessorise pets with winter woollies that will help them maintain their body temperature in the cooler weather. This is particularly important for short-coated breeds. The elderly, young and those with underlying illness feel the cold more than others and are probably best kept indoors.

4. Animals’ nutritional requirements can also increase in winter months. More energy is used to keep core body temperature regulated, meaning if a pet spends significant amounts of time outdoors or is exposed to colder temperatures, they will have a higher daily caloric requirement and need more food.

5. Just like humans, dogs and cats suffer the effects of arthritic pain more in cold, wintry weather. If you know your pet has arthritis or you notice signs of lameness, a stiff gait, difficulty getting up and reluctance to exercise, a trip to your vet is essential. Arthritis can be debilitating and painful, but can be managed with various treatments.

RSPCA NSW has developed a free pocket-sized Pet First Aid Guide which you can keep in your wallet to make sure you always know how to handle an emergency.

NSW residents can get a free copy of the Pet First Aid Guide by texting “NSW” to 0476 444 333.

If your pet is seriously ill or hurt, even if you are in doubt, immediately call the vet before giving first aid.

As promised, goats in sweaters.

Goat in sweaters0:31

When the temp dropped below freezing on these kids' first night we knew it was the perfect timing to pull out the amazing trio of sweaters from Sunflower Farm Creamery.