The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Tshwane would like to give some pet safety tips for the cold winter.

“You are probably aware of the risks posed by warm weather and leaving pets in hot cars, but did you know that cold weather also poses serious threats to your pet’s health?” says Elsa Daniels, spokesperson for SPCA Tshwane.

Companion animals aren’t the only animals in need of protection during the winter months.  Livestock, including horses and donkeys, have their own unique considerations and needs when the weather gets cold.

SPCA Tshwane Veterinarian, Dr Floris Kruger, would like to give the following tips to pet owners:

  • Make sure your dog is vaccinated against Kennel Cough and the normal 5 in 1 vaccine as cold air into the lungs will predispose them to getting bronchitis.
  • Cold weather will exacerbate arthritis in all joints and this will be evident by your pet getting up slowly after lying down for a while, not being able to jump on couches and beds and struggling to walk up the stairs. Please consult your veterinarian if you think your pet has arthritis as it is a painful condition that can be treated by a veterinarian.
  • Gauteng can get very cold at night in the winter and all animals should have access to proper shelter. All animals regardless of breed younger than 1 year of age should be inside a house at night. Breeds with thick coats such as Huskies, St. Bernards, Chow’s and German Shepard dogs might prefer to stay outside during the night but they should always have the option to come inside if they want to. Small breeds with short hair such as Yorkies, Pekingese, Doberman Pinchers and Toy Poms should definitely be protected from the cold.
  • Even though the animals are inside a house at night the floor might be very cold so it’s a good idea to put a couple of newspapers under the dog’s blanket to insulate against the cold.
  • Make sure that your cat has a clean litter box that is inside the house because if it’s too cold cats won’t go outside to use a litter box and it will lead to bladder infections.
  • In a multi cat household there should always be one more litter box than the amount of cats in the house and the litter boxes should be in different rooms and not close to the cat food as cats are very territorial and can feel threatened if all the litter boxes are in the same place.

Mrs Karen Gelderblom, Kennel Manager at the Waltloo Branch, added that wooden dog kennels can be insulated by nailing carpet pieces to the floor and insides of the kennel. Kennels placed on a patio or veranda are naturally more protected from wind than a kennel placed in the garden.  The floor of the kennel should be off the ground, and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the kennel should be positioned away from prevailing winds.

If your dog has a short coat, or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat.

Chances are good that your pets will be spending more time inside during the winter, therefore make sure that your house is properly pet-proofed. Use heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over.

Please contact your nearest SPCA TSHWANE branch for more information.


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