While it’s been a mild winter thus far, there is no doubt that there will be colder temps and more snow to come. Here are some tips to help protect your pet this winter.
Keep your cat inside. Cats can get frostbite outside or get lost. Many cats seek warmth by crawling under the hoods of cars, which can be extremely dangerous or fatal when the engine is started.
*In the winter, bang loudly on the hood of your car and wait a few seconds before starting the engine. If a cat is in there, this will give them a chance to escape.
When you bring your dog back inside, thoroughly clean and dry their stomach and legs. Check the paw pads as they may be irritated from the snow or ice. You also want to make sure that you remove salt, antifreeze and other chemicals from their paws which could harm your dog if ingested. Massaging petroleum jelly on the paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemicals. Booties are ideal as they provide more coverage.
Never leave your cat or dog alone in a car during cold weather. A car holds in the cold during the winter, acting as a refrigerator. Your pet could get hypothermia, or even worse, freeze to death.
If you own a short-haired dog, consider getting them a sweater or warm coat.
As pets burn more energy trying to stay warm in the wintertime, it’s a good idea to feed them a bit more during cold months in order to increase their calorie intake. Also make sure they have plenty of fresh water to drink to keep them hydrated and help with dry skin.
Do not let your dog off the leash, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs often lose their scent in snow and ice and can easily become lost. More dogs are lost in the winter than any other season.
A longer coat provides more warmth, and you should never shave your dog down to the skin in winter. If you have a long-haired dog, you can trim them to minimize the clinging salt crystal and ice balls. Your dog’s coat will require more frequent brushing due to the static electricity and dry winter air.
If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age or illness, take them outdoors only long enough to relieve themselves.
Keep in mind, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Keep them inside as much as possible. Winter snuggles with your pet is always a great way for both of you to stay warm!