Keeping Pets Fit In Winter - Dogs, Cats, Birds & Mice

Keeping Your Pets Fit In Winter – Dogs, Cats, Birds & Mice
July 15, 2021 Samford Pet Resort

We love to snuggle up during winter, maybe pour a cup of tea or hot chocolate and spend hours huddled inside to avoid the cold. While it’s comfy, you have to admit, we’re not at our most active during the colder months.

Many pet owners struggle to keep their furry friends active and fit during winter. A bit of winter chub doesn’t hurt, but falling too heavily into bad habits can be harmful to the overall health of you and your pet.

We live busy lives, and with shorter days, and it can be tricky fitting everything in. Luckily, while you’re hard at work during the day, your pets can be getting all their necessary exercise at Samford Pet Resort. That means when you get home, you’re not met with sad eyes that ask, “Are we going for a walk?”.

Check out our comprehensive list of activities to do with your dogs, cats, birds and smaller pets (mice, hamsters, etc.) to keep them warm and entertained in winter.

Dogs

alt="Brown dog with purple lead on a walk"

Our pups are pretty good at managing the cold, but when cabin fever sets in, all sorts of chaos can break out. Avoiding the zoomies may save some of your furniture and home furnishings from doggy destruction. Keep your pups entertained and fit with these tips.

Did Someone Say Walk?
Dogs love the W-word! Even in the coldest moments of the year, they’ll be eager to get out. It’s recommended to go for a walk during the warmest part of the day. While most dogs are resistant to cold, their paws can still be sensitive to ground temps. Plus, it’s much nicer for us to feel the sun as we stroll. If your dog can’t handle the cold that well, make sure to give it a nice dog sweater. If both of you are happy to deal with the cold, then a night or afternoon walk should be fine. Just be sure to rug up.

Play Dates
Socialisation pretty much guarantees exercise. Let your pup chase, wrestle and play with some other friendly dogs. The best part is that all you need to do is sit back and watch. It’s a great, low effort exercise session that gets you outside. Just make sure your pup plays nicely! If you can’t make it to a dog park before sundown, Doggy Daycare is a perfect alternative.

A Spot To Keep Warm
When playtime comes to an end, your dog should have a safe spot to keep warm. If you have outdoor dogs, they should have a sheltered area that’s filled with warm blankets and even treat toys that encourage them to stay active throughout the day.

Cat

alt="Sunbathing cat"

Cats are master nappers! A lingering chill may entice your cat to find a cozy spot and sleep for hours. We can relate to that! All good naps need to come to an end, however. It’s important to give your cats plenty of things to do around the house so that they stay active when the temperature drops.

Smaller Meals Several Times A Day
Your cat can become chunky quickly if all it’s doing is eating and sleeping. Big meals encourage long sleeps. This, in turn, means all that energy isn’t being used and quickly turns to fat reserves. You can avoid this by hiding small meals around the house at different times of the day. Just remember where you’ve put them because if your cat doesn’t find the food, things could get smelly!

This strategy encourages physical activity and can imitate the hunting experience. Whatsmore, your cat may enjoy this feeding system more because it has to work for it. It’s proven to help some fussy eaters chow down when it’s time for dinner.

Play Play Play
Get your cat moving by giving them plenty of activities to choose from. You can get your feline friend jumping with basic toys. You can also encourage it to go on a treasure hunt with a bit of training. Start by showing it a food-holding toy in an easy to see location. Repeat this by hiding the toy in progressively harder to reach spots. A cat jungle is another excellent way to let your cat entertain itself as it galavants and explores around the feline playground.

Birds

 

alt="Lovebirds being hand fed"

As far as common pets go, birds are more susceptible to the cold. Anything under 4 degrees Celsius can be harmful to your bird. During winter, pet birds should always be brought inside at night or during frigid weather.

Keep Them Warm
In most Queensland properties, keeping your birds in a warm area of the house, away from heaters, should keep them safe. If your bird has a companion, they’ll likely get plenty of warmth from their cuddle buddy. Cute!

If your bird flies solo, there are several heating options to keep them comfortably warm in winter. Pet heat lamps are popular, as are long-lasting, snuggle-safe heat pads.

A Good Diet
Foods with higher fat and oil content can help keep birds warm, as long as they’re given in moderation. Offering a shelled nut is a great way to keep your bird busy and mentally engaged. The reward is the nice flesh of the nut.

Space To Fly
Birds need space to exercise. If your bird is trained to fly around the house, make sure you remove any potential hazards. Be sure to turn off all your fans and make sure your heaters have been off for long enough that they’ve cooled down. If your house isn’t safe, seek a flight aviary so your bird can stretch its wings in a controlled environment.

Small Pets (Mice, Rats & Guinea Pigs)

alt"=Hamster in small house"

Small rodents luckily have most of their exercise essentials inside their habitat. If you have multiple rodent pets, they will be able to keep each other warm. If you only have one, be sure to give them some extra bedding to snuggle into. Change it regularly to keep things fresh.

Because they’re small, make sure you keep them away from fumes or strong heat sources. Your rodent enclosure should be far away from a heater and should never be close to something that produces smoke or fumes (stovetops, fireplaces, etc.).

Make Time For Your Pets Without Making Time

Our pets deserve the utmost love, especially during winter. If you feel like your days are a mad rush, let Samford Pet Resort take some of the responsibility. Our pet boarding puts your furry friends in award-winning accommodation. Plus, they will have all of their social and dietary needs met. With our insulated rooms and a professional and caring team of staff members, your pet will feel truly at home. Book your pet’s stay today!