Keeping Cats and Dogs Happy and Healthy in Winter and Summer

As the seasons change, so do the needs of our beloved pets. Whether it’s the sweltering heat of summer or the chilly days of winter, it’s crucial to ensure that our furry friends stay comfortable and healthy. Here are some expert tips to help you care for your cats and dogs throughout the year, with a touch of humor and plenty of practical advice.

Winter Wonders: Keeping Your Pets Cozy

Winter can be a magical time, especially if you enjoy cozy nights by the fire. But for our pets, the cold can bring a host of challenges. Here are some winter care tips:

  • Bundle Up: If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Dogs, especially those with short hair, can benefit from a winter coat. Cats might appreciate a cozy spot near a warm vent or a heated pet bed. According to the Animal Humane Society, if the temperature drops below 4°C, it is best to keep pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter to retreat to.
  • Paw Protection: Ice, salt, and chemicals on the ground can irritate your pet’s paws. Consider using pet-safe paw balms or booties to protect their feet during walks. Remember to wipe their paws when you come back inside to remove any harmful substances.
  • Grooming Matters: Regular grooming is essential in winter. It helps prevent matting and keeps your pet’s skin healthy. For long-haired breeds, a trim can prevent ice balls from forming in their fur.
  • Indoor Fun: Cold weather means more time indoors. Engage your pets with indoor play sessions. Puzzle toys, fetch in the hallway, or hide and seek games can keep them active and mentally stimulated.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Pets burn more calories in the cold to keep warm. Ensure they have plenty of fresh water and consider slightly increasing their food intake to provide extra energy.

Summer Smarts: Beating the Heat

Summer is a great time for outdoor fun, but it’s also a season when pets are at risk of overheating. Here are some summer tips:

  • Hydration is Key: Always provide your pets with plenty of fresh, cool water. Consider using an insulated bowl to keep the water cooler for longer periods.
  • Cool Resting Spots: Ensure your pet has a shady spot to rest. During extremely hot days, keep pets indoors with air conditioning. For dogs that love water, a kiddie pool can be a fun way to cool down.
  • Paw Safety: Asphalt and sand can get extremely hot and burn your pet’s paws. Walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. You can also use protective booties.
  • The SPCA New Zealand recommends checking the pavement temperature with the back of your hand—if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
  • Avoid Overexertion: Exercise is important, but avoid strenuous activities during peak heat hours. Opt for gentle walks and indoor play to prevent heatstroke.
  • Sun Protection: Believe it or not, pets can get sunburned too. Apply pet-safe sunscreen to areas with less fur, like the nose and ears, if your pet will be spending a lot of time outside.

Hot Cars: A Deadly Summer Danger

One of the most critical aspects of summer pet care is avoiding leaving pets in cars. Even on a relatively mild day, the temperature inside a parked car can rise dramatically and become life-threatening for pets within minutes.


  • Rapid Temperature Rise: On a day when the outside temperature is around 22°C, the inside of a car can reach 40°C within just ten minutes, even with the windows slightly open. This can lead to heatstroke and severe health issues.
  • Physical Effects on Pets: A dog’s normal body temperature is about 38.5°C. Dogs primarily cool themselves through panting, but this mechanism becomes ineffective in a hot car. When a dog’s body temperature rises to 41°C, it can suffer irreparable brain damage and even death.
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations: Leaving a pet in a hot car is not only dangerous but also illegal in many places, including New Zealand. Pet owners can face fines for this neglectful behavior. If you see a pet in distress in a parked car, contact local authorities immediately for assistance.
  • Preventive Measures: Always plan your trips with your pet’s safety in mind. If you can’t bring your pet inside with you, it’s best to leave them at home. Carry water and a portable bowl when traveling with pets, and ensure they have access to shade and ventilation.

A Peek into Kapiti PetVilla’s Seasonal Care

At Kapiti PetVilla, we take seasonal care seriously to ensure that your pets are comfortable year-round.

Winter at Kapiti PetVilla: Our indoor/outdoor cabins are insulated to keep your pets warm during the day. However, it can still get quite chilly, so we ensure that dogs come inside to sleep in our air-conditioned dog sleeping room at night. We provide extra blankets and cozy spots for all pets to snuggle into, ensuring they stay warm and comfortable. Also we play more with Frisbees and Fetch, so that Dogs have more to run and warm themselves.

Summer at Kapiti PetVilla: During the hot summer months, we adjust the time when dogs are moved to the outdoor cabins to avoid the peak heat. Also when it is very warm we setup our Dog Pool. The cabins are equipped with shaded areas and plenty of fresh water. We also have cooling mats and fans to keep the indoor areas comfortable. For our feline guests, we provide cool resting spots and ensure they have access to fresh water at all times in their condos and semi-community areas. The Outdoor Enclosure is accessible as we are close to the Coast, and the Wind brings cool air into the Enclosure and the Community Area.

Also, in all Areas, including all Dog Cabins, Cattery, Dog studios, Isolation rooms and Dog Sleeping rooms, we have Internet-based Thermometers that give Alerts when the Temperatures become too high or too low. Automatic Home Control switch Heatpumps on and off depending on the Temperature

Final Paws for Thought

Seasonal changes bring unique challenges for pet owners, but with a little planning and care, you can ensure that your furry friends stay happy and healthy no matter the weather. Remember, when in doubt, consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice tailored to your pet’s specific needs.

Whether it’s a cozy winter evening or a sunny summer day, Kapiti PetVilla is committed to providing the best care for your pets. Stay tuned to our blog for more tips and insights on keeping your pets safe and comfortable throughout the year!

For more expert tips and seasonal advice, check out our sources:

Happy pet parenting!