The weather in our neck of the woods has been ridiculously cold lately and wintertime brings different challenges for keeping our pets safe and happy. Here are a few things to think about in regard to your pets in the winter:
- Make sure your dog is prepared for a winter walk; smaller dogs and dogs without much hair may need to wear a sweater or coat. If it’s especially cold, you might want to consider skipping the walk until the weather warms up a little bit. Pets can experience frostbite in their extremities (nose, ears, feet, tail) just like humans do so it’s important to make sure they’re warm enough. Also, you might want to consider getting booties for your dog if you walk her regularly in the winter. Salt and other ice-removal products can irritate their pads and paws; booties can protect them from those hazards as well as frostbite.
- Be careful when your pets are outside, either by themselves or on a walk. Antifreeze puddles are dangerous to animals but it has a sweet taste so your pet may be drawn to drinking it.
- Do not leave your pet outside for extended periods of time thinking they’re ok in the cold because they have fur. Yes, fur is one of their defenses against the cold but it’s not sufficient to protect most of them for long periods. In addition, as mentioned above, they can get frostbite on their extremities.
- During the holiday season, make sure your animals cannot get to tinsel or ornaments on a tree and also make sure they don’t eat the needles from the tree (both real and artificial). Also, be aware of bows they might have access to under the tree; these are all items that are dangerous to animals if ingested.
- Groom your dog regularly; they need a coat in good shape to protect them from the cold. Also make sure the hair on their paws is trimmed to aid with snow and ice removal.
- If you have cats that go outside, make sure you get them in the house if the weather is going to be cold.
Be aware of all these things in the winter to keep your pets happy and healthy.