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Pet owners should take extra care of their furry friends during the colder months, a Mosgiel veterinarian says.
Arthritis, weight problems and even frozen water bowls can all be problems for pets during winter, Dr Verona Mitchell, of Mosgiel Veterinary Services, said.
''You need to be looking out for arthritis in pets during winter.
''If your pets are getting slow, it's often not because they're getting older, but because they're sore,'' she said.
''You should also keep an eye out for flu in cats and get young cats spayed before the breeding season in spring.''
''You do need to watch food volumes.
''Most pets require less food in winter, because they're not getting the same amount of exercise.''
They could put the kilos on and get fat, if their food was not watched, she said.
''But pets that spend a lot of time outdoors may need an increased supply of food to keep them in top shape.''
June Nisbet, of Mosgiel, said she was mindful of the diet she fed Spenser,, her 12-year-old golden cocker spaniel.
''Sometimes I'll beat up an egg for him, because it's good for his coat.''
Mrs Nisbet recently bought a waterproof, fleece-lined coat to keep the recently groomed dog warm.
''A lot of big dogs never get groomed and just have natural body warmth,'' she said.
''He's a small dog, so when he gets groomed, he gets quite cold.''
Mrs Nisbet said Spenser did not have arthritis, but would she would check with the vet at his next visit.
''He's getting stiff in his old age, but he still goes for walks, winter or summer.''
- Nigel Benson and Robert Steven
• If housed outside, make sure your pet is sheltered from wind, moisture and cold. Heated floor mats, a thick woollen blanket or straw are good insulators.
• Pets need access to fresh water at all times. Make sure it's not frozen.
• Pets living outdoors may need additional food to sustain their body temperature. Check with your vet.
• Exercise is important during winter, but shorten the usual time. Check your pet's paws for cold weather injuries from ice or snow.
• Arthritis is aggravated by cold, wet weather.