Glenvale Veterinary Clinic
Winter 2012 Newsletter

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All Rugged Up

dog coat

When the mercury drops, it’s tempting to crank up the heater and snuggle under a fluffy doona – for pets and humans alike! Here’s how you make sure your pet is comfortable and well cared for this winter.

The days are shorter, the wind is icy and there is a chilly damp in the air. You can’t wait to get home hug a mug of hot chocolate and snuggle up in front of the heater. But what about your four legged friend? Here’s how to help your pet combat the winter blues:

Dry skin & shedding: Low humidity and sitting in front of the heater can cause dry skin and shedding. Frequent brushing helps remove dead hair and skin cells, plus it stimulates the oil glands.

Arthritis: Dogs and cats suffering from arthritis tend to feel it more in the cold weather. Keeping them warm will help to relieve some discomfort. If you think your pet is suffering from arthritis this winter and you would like more information on ways to manage it, speak to one of the staff.

Exercise: Walking is good aerobic exercise (for you as well as your pet). Just as you rug up before head out, you might want to provide your dog with extra protection. A coat or jacket that covers any bald areas on the chest and stomach would be ideal.

Jackets & Coats: A jacket or coat can help to keep your pet warm through the colder months. They come in a variety of styles, colours and can be waterproof or just fluffy. Feel free to ask us if you would like to see a brochure of the jackets we can order in for your pet.

House & Home: Outdoor pets need adequate housing to hide from the cold. Your pet’s shelter should be insulated, elevated and protected from the wind and rain. Dogs use their own body to keep warm, so the shelter should be small enough to preserve body heat. Keep the bedding clean, comfortable and most importantly, keep it dry. Your dog will most likely need a bed and a kennel depending on the size and whether it is an inside or outside dog. Ensure you pick the appropriate size and remember that puppy will grow.

Diet: If your pet is mostly outdoors you will notice their appetite may increase during the colder months. Feeding your pet smaller more frequent meals (twice daily) and ensuring that their food is rich in antioxidants to help boost their circulation and immunity.

Enrichment ideas to help stop your pet suffering from boredom

Dogs and cats both need mental, physical and emotional stimulation on a daily basis.
Dogs: Physical enrichment involves any sort of exercise, playing with toys, walks, running, chasing a Frisbee or running after a ball. Physical enrichment is important for both you and your dog and while you may feel like you’re doing it just for your dog, you will soon find that you end up feeling fantastic, too! A walk or jog for half an hour to an hour where they can sniff and play each day will keep any pooch happy.

Cats: Physical enrichment for a cat involves playing, chasing, hunting, pouncing, catching and stalking toys. Leave a ping-pong ball in the bathtub and watch as your cat makes it sail around the curves. This is lots of hunting and catching fun. Play with toys on a string and make your cat leap for the toy, they will have fun for hours!

Dogs: Mental stimulation for a dog involves anything that will keep them occupied and thinking about something for a period of time. For example, Kong toys and food puzzles are a great way to keep your dog interested. If you don’t have a Kong you can DIY and get a tennis ball or small soccer ball and cut a few small slits in it, then fill it with your dogs favourite dry food; they will spend hours trying to get the food out. Bones are a good way to entertain your dog for a while. If they are ball crazy, you can tie a ball to a rope and hang it from a lower branch in the garden they will spend hours jumping trying to get the ball. Fill a child’s wading pool with water and let your dog spend his time wading and playing in the water. If the dog enjoys both water and digging, you can alternate between water and sand in the pool each week.

Hang rope or inner tubes from a branch or other item in the yard for the dog to play tug of war with.

If your dog is sociable with other dogs, try scheduling doggy “play-dates” with your friends & families dogs.

Cats: Some cats can be quite active and love to play, so cardboard boxes as beds, dens, tunnels and mazes can be fun for your cat. Make a "busy box" by attaching small toys to short lengths of cord and suspending them from the ceiling of a large box. Cut window flaps in the den at various heights.

Food enrichment for both dogs and cats can involve bones, chicken necks, alternating between different food types, flavours and textures. Heat up the food in winter and make ice treats in summer (freeze some pieces of steak for really hot days). Scatter dry food throughout the backyard or down the hall way, hide treats in places so your pet has to hunt for their food.

Emotional enrichment can be as simple as some cuddles and attention from you. Grooming is a good way of sharing time with your pet and also helps to prevent their coat becoming matted.

Fussy Eaters

dog bowl

Cats are often labelled as fussy eaters, but they don’t sit down to a full meal as we might do. Cats generally like to “graze” over a period of several hours instead of consuming their food all at once. What they do have in common with us is that they are sensitive to the way food smells.

Generally if a cat enjoys the aroma of food, they’ll give it a try. If they also like the texture, shape, size and moisture content of a food they will keep eating. If you want a contented kitty, it’s best to select 2 or 3 different varieties that your cat enjoys and rotate the flavours.

In the cooler months you can even try and warm the food slightly in the microwave to help entice kitty to eat. This will also make them warm in winter

Create a Native Bird Haven in your garden


Native plants Planting native Australian trees and shrubs is bound to attract beautiful wild birds. Choose a range of sizes and types of plants to provide food and shelter for a variety of bird species. It’s also a good idea to make sure there is something in flower every month of the year. This will ensure you have beautiful native birds in the yard all year round. Talk with your local garden nursery regarding suitable bird friendly plants for your area.

Water A birdbath is an excellent way of providing a cool drink or bath for native birds. Choose one that is easily cleaned and regularly top up with fresh water.

Seeds Different seeds appeal to different birds. You can buy seed mixes that have been specially formulated with a selection of seeds, fruits and nuts to attract a wide variety of native birds to your garden all year round. Seed mixes are particularly beneficial during winter and dry times when natural food sources become scarce. You can get loose seed mixes or convenient seed cones that you can hang in the garden. Lorikeets are nectar eaters not seed eaters. You can purchase lorikeet and honey eater mixes that are specially designed to meet their unique needs.

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