Keeping them warm

When I am writing this article the sun is shining bright and it looks and feels more like spring than winter.

But the nights are cold and we have to take measures to make sure our pets are kept warm... warm but not excessively so.

Owners are often too concerned about how warm their pets are at night when all heating systems are shut down. It is good to make sure they are snug, but it is wrong to make comparisons with human beings.

Draughts are to be avoided at all costs. Wherever your pets sleep make sure they are not in line with the draughts from the bottom of doors or ill-fitted windows.

Most dogs like to curl up in a basket. In the feral state they will turn around many times in the undergrowth before they settle down. Although very domesticated they retain this characteristic. So give him a suitable basket, one that is big enough to do just that. Line the sleeping box with newspaper, which makes excellent isolation and put a cosy blanket on the top. He will curl up and be very snug. Make sure that his basket is never against a wall; a tell-tale sign of dampness will only appear after a long time.

We all know how well (and long!) cats sleep. They are more difficult to accommodate than dogs as they prefer to change their sleeping place regularly. As with dogs, give them their own basket, even if they do not use it all the time. Make sure though, that they do not choose the top of a heater or sleep too close to an open fire.

In cold weather cats shelter in the strangest of places. One of our cats favoured the engine compartment of our car. There is always the possibility that a wild cat may do the same with yours, so always give a thud on the bonnet before you start the car.