Walkin’ In A Winter Wonderland …
Winter weather can be magical! A light dusting of snow can make the world look fresh, crisp, and new. And nothing beats snuggling up by a warm fire! But don’t forget that it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your pets safe, healthy, and happy as temperatures drop!
These 11 tips will help your pet enjoy the magic of the season by your side!
- Limit bathing during cold spells. Washing your pet too frequently removes essential oils and increases the chance of developing dry, flaky skin, causing itching and discomfort.
- Beware of antifreeze! Antifreeze is lethal to dogs and cats. Always clean up spills from your vehicle. Though you may be careful to keep your pup out of the mess, one of your neighbors’ dogs or a stray could be attracted to the sweet smell on their next walk. For added safety, consider using products that contain propylene glycol instead of those with ethylene glycol.
- Make a little noise. For outdoor, stray, and feral cats, a warm engine can be a good source of heat … but it can also be deadly. Before you start your engine, check underneath your car, honk the horn, and bang on the hood to encourage any cats to abandon their campsite.
- Bring a towel on your walks to clean your dog’s paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and belly to remove salt, ice, and chemicals. Don’t forget to check for redness between the toes or cracks in the paw pads! And don’t forget to check your pet’s paws, ears, and tail for frostbite.
- Petroleum jelly is your best friend’s new best friend! Massaging the jelly (or other paw protectants sold at pet supply stores) into your pup’s paw pads before a walk will help protect their paws from salt and other chemicals. Looking for a more fashionable approach? Dog booties provide more coverage and can protect paws to reduce irritation.
- Shovel and salt wisely. If you’re clearing the snow from your driveway, use pet-friendly ice melts, sold at most hardware and home improvement stores.
- Treat your pet with a little extra kibble! Trying to stay warm in the winter is hard work — and it burns extra energy! Providing a little extra food to your furry friend can help your pet stay healthy.
- Hydrate! Make sure your pet always has access to cool, fresh water. This will help him stay hydrated and help his skin become less dry.
- Embrace No-Shave November … and December … and January … Long coats provide warmth, so never shave your dog down to the skin during the winter months. Ice, salt, and chemicals can cling to fur. For shorter-haired dogs, a cute and functional doggie coat or sweater can provide protection! For longer-haired dogs, quick, minimal trims after walks can remove ice, salt, and chemicals from your pet’s fur.
- Visions of sugar plums are better when warm. Providing your dog or cat with a warm, comfortable place to sleep is always important — but especially so in winter. Tile and wood floors (and even carpet) can become cool at night. Treat your dog or cat to a cozy bed away from any drafty doors or windows. We’re sure they’d love a pillow and blanket, too!
- Don’t leave pets unattended in cars. Temperatures can quickly drop in unattended cars — even with all of the windows closed. Cars act like refrigerators in the cool winter months, and can be deadly.
- Know that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. Leaving your pets outdoors can be deadly. Just because they have fur doesn’t mean they can withstand the frigid temperatures. Pets can easily become disoriented and lost, or can freeze. Limit walks to brief periods during warmer times of the day, when possible. And always remember to have plenty of cool, fresh water to help your pet stay hydrated.
By paying special attention to your furry friend during the winter, you’ll be able to enjoy a happy, healthy season together! And if you aren’t a pet parent yet, don’t forget that cuddles with a canine or feline friend are a great way to stay warm! We’ve got plenty of adoptable pets ready to cuddle up with you!