Help ward off the chill for RSPCA rescue pets

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Most may have furry coats of their own, but that does not mean our animal companions are immune to the chill of winter.

That is why RSPCA Victoria is asking the community to donate unneeded bedding items to keep its rescue animals warm, as well as other animal treats and toys.

Acceptable items include blankets, towels, sheets, polyester doonas, pillow cases, face washers, pet beds, kitty litter, treats, cat and dog toys, collars and leads, pet bowls, scratching posts, plastic kennels and unshredded newspapers.

Shredded newspaper, pillows, cushions, feather doonas, wooden kennels or wooden hutches are not able to be accepted.

RSPCA Bendigo, in particular, does not need newspapers, but is in need of bedding.

RSPCA centres will accept donations during opening hours this weekend, Saturday June 17 and Sunday June 18.

RSPCA op shops in Bendigo and Castlemaine will also accept donations on the Saturday.

Keeping animals happy and healthy in winter

To ensure your own pet stays healthy throughout the colder months, the RSPCA recommends bringing them inside where possible, something that is especially important for smaller animals like guinea pigs and rabbits.

If that is not possible, pet owners should ensure shelters are able to keep animals warm and dry.

Owners are recommended to use plenty of blankets, straw or towels as bedding, and keep the bed elevated.

Winter coats should also be well-fitted and dry.

Access to fresh, clean water is always important, and, under the guidance of a vet, some pets might need to be fed extra food.

Exercise also remains important.

If a pet is reluctant or having difficulty getting up and moving around, it might be a sign of arthritis, which can be aggravated in cold conditions.