You’ve probably noticed the shorter days and cooler weather that’s rolling in across Australia – and so have your pets! Have you prepared them for cooler weather?

Upgrade your pet’s bedding and shelter

Winter is snuggle season, and just as you like to pull out the flannel sheets and thicker doona to keep warm, your dog or cat may need extra layers on their bed too. Think about giving them extra blankets to sleep with or buying them a thicker bed to help keep them warm overnight.

Be sure to provide plenty of shelter for your pet outside. Make sure they have somewhere they can escape the rain and wind that’s more prevalent in winter, like a cosy kennel.

Dress your pet in warm layers

Think about rugging your pet up in some extra layers, especially if they’re a shorthaired breed.

Dogs look dashing in jackets, jumpers and woollen knits and, if they feel comfortable, will benefit from the warmth of a hat and booties for their little feet. If you and your dog enjoy running or walking in wet weather, maybe consider a rainproof jacket.

Petbarn has a wide range of warmer winter clothing designed especially for pets, ranging in size from XXS to XL.

Exercise safely in the dark

The days are getting shorter, which means if you exercise with your pet in the early morning or evening, you’ll probably be out and about while it’s darker outside.

Make sure your pet is visible in low light with high-visibility accessories and clothing and play at any time of night (or day!) with glow-in-the-dark toys.

Take extra care of young, old or ill pets

If your pet is a puppy, kitten, older pet, or if they’re suffering from illness, remember that they may feel the cold more strongly than other pets.

Puppies and kittens have less fat, fur and insulation on their bodies, and many older pets suffer from arthritis, which can be exacerbated by cold temperatures. Consider postponing your adventure outdoors if the weather is especially cold!

Keep small animals, birds, reptiles and fish at their preferred temperatures

Remember that animals like guinea pigs and rats can feel the cooler temperatures too. If your small animals are kept outside, you might need to move their enclosure. The ideal location for their enclosure in summer might not be the best location in winter.

The same goes for birds – ensure they are kept out of draughty areas and consider a cover for their cage.

For cold-blooded animals like reptiles and fish, make sure that you maintain an ideal temperature for them by monitoring their environment with fish tank thermometers, aquarium heating and reptile heat lamps.

If you’re unsure about how to look after your pet in winter, visit your nearest Petbarn store for advice. If you think your pet is struggling in the cold weather, talk to your local Greencross Vets.