The change of the season from fall to winter is the hardest time of the year for most animals. The weather will sometimes shift from hot to cold in a 12-hour period, wreaking havoc on the internal body rhythms we all have. It is at this time of year that illnesses flare up and many individuals choose to pass on to the other side. But not all of the elderly choose to die. Often I hear, “I may be sick now, but I am going to live until the days are long and hot. Tell my people not to worry; I will come through this.”

So the question is, “What do animals need during the change of the seasons?” I know from experience that the top two requests are warmer places to sleep and extra food. But what else do they need? Here I am picking some of my animal friends more or less at random, from all over the country, to see what they have to say:

Beemer (11-year-old Aussie shepherd, Ventura, California): “I recently had operations on my knees and so when it is cold I need extra supplements to lubricate my joints. I think we should double up and add fish oil. Fish oil helps me in the winter.”

Black and White Stray Cat (Ojai, California): “I have never been asked what I need before. I like the winter ‘cause the bugs on me die. I need a place out of the wind. Can you give me that? Can you open up the hole to under your house?”


Rosie (8-year-old Brittney spaniel, Greenwich, Connecticut): “It gets very cold here. I would like a jacket for the winter, one that blocks the wind from coming through me. I need walks. I always get less walks when it is cold. Less walks makes me depressed. People have warm jackets to wear.”

Pumpkin (12-year-old horse, Bend, Oregon): “Every winter I need extra hay, extra supplements, and a very warm blanket that keeps out the rain and snow. My mom is really good about this. I also need the farrier to make sure my hooves are perfect because the better they are, the easier it is to walk on ice. Some people don’t take care of their horses’ hooves in the winter because they are riding less and that is a big mistake because injuries are more apt to happen. I know this because I have seen it.”

Yammie (8-year-old cat, Kalaheo, Hawaii): “I like to eat a lot of wet food. I need to sleep more during the change of the seasons and I always like fresh-smelling bedding. Sometimes my mom gives us supplements. We don’t always like the taste but it makes us feel more lively.”

Bean (5-year-old bunny, Ojai, California): “I need more time outside because the sun is not as hot and it is nice to be out, but it is scarier because I think the big birds are hunting more before winter. It seems that way. I am warm when I go outside. I remember when my water used to freeze when I lived outside. I would say make sure your bunny has water that is drinkable.”


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