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    Cooler weather brings a change in human lifestyles: More time is spent indoors, heating is turned on, and winter woollies are worn.

    Pets also need adjustments to their lifestyles during the cooler weather. All pets deserve a dry, warm, draught-free area; some may even appreciate warm winter woollies.

    Cats are masters at seeking warmth and will appreciate a cat basket by the heater or a cosy box with warm bedding in the shed or garage. Indoor cats like a window ledge or chair where they can catch the warmth of the winter sun during the day, while outdoor cats will seek out the sunshine on top of a fence or roof.

    Dogs vary so much in their coat types that the amount of warmth that needs to be provided by the owner varies. The sleek breeds have very little coat to keep them warm, and some, such as Whippets and Greyhounds, have very little fat covering, so they feel the cold severely. These breeds will appreciate a dog coat to keep them snug. A coat will keep some breeds drier if taken for a walk in the rain, but dogs must never be left to wear a wet coat.

    Many dogs become uncomfortable in a heated house and seek out cooler tiled areas. If the home is heated, ensure the dog is comfortable with the temperature or go to a cooler part of the house if desired. During the winter, the amount of exercise given to the dog may be less than during the summer months due to the reduced daylight hours or the weather; however, for the athletic breeds, it is important to try to fulfil the dogs’ exercise needs.

    If a dog returns from its walk wet and muddy, it should be towelled dry or dried with a hairdryer but never left wet. If a dog lives or has been walking in a muddy area, regularly check between the pads of the feet to ensure that balls of mud have not formed, which will make walking very painful. Outdoor dogs must have a dry and warm kennel, and a deep bedding of straw will help keep the dog clean, warm, and dry.

    During the cold weather, some dogs, such as the fine-coated breeds, may require extra food to maintain their weight, while others with limited exercise may need less food to prevent them from gaining weight. Cage birds are dependent on owners to provide a comfortable environment. If the bird and cage are put outside to get some winter sun care, it must be taken to see that the area is protected from chill winds and that the bird is brought back into shelter before the sun goes in and the temperature drops. In the house, the bird should not be placed near heaters.

    Birds kept in aviaries outside must be protected from rain, wind, and frost. Although the more northern areas of Australia may not experience as definite a change in the seasons as the southern states, animals are very sensitive to temperature change and may still need some extra consideration during the cooler or wetter months.

    “This advice we are giving is not our own; it is copied from other sites; we are not vets; we are just sharing advice.”