As winter rolls around and the wind, rain and, in some parts of Australia, the snow set it, don’t forget that pets, too, can suffer from a case of the chills.

Now is the time to think about how you can best care for the furry friend/s in your life. Here are six simple tips.

1. Wrap up

While some pets have nice thick fur to keep them warm, when outdoors during the cooler months they can still benefit from rugging up a little. And this is a non-negotiable if your furry friend is older, thin, or a short-haired breed. Go for a good pet coat or jumper and, if it snows where you live, you might also want to invest in some shoes for their paws. Just don’t forget to take these layers off once your pet is safely indoors where it’s warm.

2. And to bed

Just like we change the bedding with warmer doonas for the cooler months, you should pay some attention to make your pet’s bed cosy. First up, think about the location of their bed – is it near a draft or on a cold floor? Consider raising the bed off the ground and adding an extra blanket. Heating pads, but not hot water bottles, placed in their bed are another good option to create a truly cosy place to sleep.

3. An outside home

If you have a pet that spends a lot of time outdoors in your garden, then you will need to make sure you have adequate shelter for them to escape the wind, rain or snow. For example, an enclosure for cats or kennel for dogs. Be sure to make the shelter extra cosy by positioning it in an elevated spot and adding blankets inside.

4. Get moving

While it’s nice – and safe – to stay huddled up indoors during the winter months, it is equally as important for pets (and you) to get some exercise and to prevent boredom. As well as playing indoors with toys, make sure you take furry friends outside for walks, too. Just be sure to put on their coat or jumper.

5. Hot-spot caution

Heaters are one of the saviours during the winter months. There’s sometimes nothing nicer than to curl up in front of one while reading a book or watching television. Some pets will also be drawn to heaters – and fires – so just be sure they don’t sit too close as they are likely to fall asleep and their skin could dry out. Or they could also potentially get burnt.

6. Feeding schedules

It’s a good idea to adjust how much or how often you feed pets during the cooler months. This is because to stay warm pets burn energy – the food they eat. So to increase their body warmth they need more calories. If they’re not interested in eating more food in one sitting, consider offering them food more often.

This is general advice; you should seek professional guidance from a vet who is able to take into account the unique needs of your animal before adjusting their schedule and care.