The season of shivering has arrived, and even though South African winters are mild compared to those in the Northern Hemisphere, we are still dusting off our boots and piling on the puffy jackets. If you are feeling the cold, you can bet that your pets are too. These tips will help you keep your companion animal warm in the winter months.
Fish Feel the Cold
Since you won’t soon be cuddling on the couch with your fish friends, you’ll need to monitor the environment in which they live. Most fish can handle a South African winter, but if you have goldfish, keep an eye on the tank temperature to ensure they aren’t swimming in water that is colder than 18 degrees.
If the water is dropping below 18, you can purchase a heater and set it between 20 and 24 degrees. For tropical fish like guppies and danios, a heater is essential for the tank to keep the fish alive and healthy in winter. Temperatures in tropical tanks should range between 24 and 28 degrees.
Rodents Require Snuggles
Your furry ball of love will want to get as cosy as possible in its cage, and you can help. The Queen Pet Shop sells Hamster Snuggle Stuff which is made from natural materials. Rodents use it as little blankets and to make their nests just a little warmer. You can also purchase hamster hammocks and material nests for maximum snuggling potential. Keep the cage out of draughty or excessively cold areas of your home to ensure your tiny pet is truly comfortable.
Help your Reptiles Regulate
Cold blooded pets like snakes, bearded dragons and iguanas need heat lamps and lights throughout the year to help maintain a healthy body temperature. If you have a leopard gecko, a heat mat is essential. Snakes also require heat mats to help them with the digestion of their food.
Reptile heating can be a complicated, and often very sensitive process, so speak with The Queen Pet Shop staff about your reptile and its habitat before purchasing heat mats. Laminated heat mats are for glass terrariums, but must never be placed inside a terrarium. Instead, the mat should be placed underneath it because they come with built-in thermostats which require airflow to regulate the temperature. Foil heat mats can be used inside wooden or glass terrariums but they must be covered by Perspex or Masonite board.
Dogs and Cats get Cosy
Your four-legged fur babies will love cuddling on cold nights, but once you’ve made up your bed and headed off to work, they will need something warm to curl up on. Dog’s Life beds are a great option because they come with a fluffy pillow – perfect for cuddling! In summer, you can flip the cushion over to the canvas side. Snugz igloos are a great hiding place for cats, and they’ll love the faux-sheep skin lining on the inside. If your dogs and cats aren’t allowed on the furniture or beds but your floors are tiled, a warm pet bed is a must have.
For fur babies who really don’t enjoy the temperature drop, The Queen Pet Shop sells a product called Warm Dog for puppies and kittens. The Warm Dog teddy bear has a beanbag inside it which can be removed and warmed up in the microwave to conquer the cold.
Help your Birds Beat the Chill
If your birds live in an outside enclosure, consider installing infrared heat lights so they aren’t suffering on the frosty days. For indoor birds, cage covers can be used at night to keep the cold at bay. Make sure your bird’s cage is placed away from draughty areas and cold winds.
How do your pets keep warm in winter? Send your winter pet pics to our Facebook inbox!