Winter Safety Tips for Pets
Jack Frost has arrived with his icy blast, frosted window panes, and snow-covered lawns. Whether you are thrilled by the change in weather or are dreading the countdown until spring, one thing is for sure, your beloved pets are going to need some extra tender care during this time of year.
The cold air, sleet, snow and icy rain can give your dog itchy, flaking skin and chapped paws, but there are other things to consider as well. If your pet spends most of its time in the backyard, you will need to take extra precautions and perhaps bring them indoors when it gets bitterly cold. Here are some other winter safety tips to consider for your pets:
If you have to keep your pet outdoors in this weather, consider whether their fur coat is enough to keep them warm. If you were to go out in only a fur coat and stay outside for an extended period of time, would it be enough? If not, then your pet needs some extra help also. Be sure to provide a draft free, warm and dry shelter to stay warm and safe when the wind blows.
Just as humans burn more calories to stay warm when it is cold outside, outdoor animals need more food as well. Fresh running water is vital to their health, so be sure to check that it has not frozen over.
Indoors, the air can be dry and contribute to skin issues for your pet. Keep your home humidified and dry off your pet with a towel as soon as he comes inside. Be mindful to remove any snowballs or other outdoor elements from between the footpads.
This can be a serious problem during the winter for paws, tails, and ears. Keep your pet warm and safe when they go out, especially when they are normally an indoor pet. This is a great time to dress your furry friend up in the latest coats, hats, and boots for walks and venturing out into the bitter cold. Note that the signs of early frostbite are firm, waxy skin, and blisters. Be aware of the condition of your pet and make sure to keep them safe and warm.
Pets kept indoors conserve energy by sleeping more in the winter and when they do go out they do not stay out as long in the cold. They may not need as much food as they normally do in the summer when they are more active and run around a lot more. Be sure to keep an eye on your pet’s weight and health when you are considering if they really need a treat.
With icy sidewalks, walkways and roads come salt to stop everyone from falling. The problem comes when your best fur friend walks on the salted ice in their bare paws. Consider protecting their paws with booties that will help keep them warm and their paws protected from the types of salt that can really hurt their tootsies. (Also, you might get to see them do that funny walk – for an added bonus!) Consider bringing a towel on long walks to clean their paws if they refuse to wear booties. Be sure to wash and dry your pet’s feet and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
No, we are not thinking that you are about to share your favorite eggnog cocktail, we’re talking about antifreeze that can leak from a car’s radiator and often tastes great to your pet. Keep an eye on your pet when on walks and monitor if they are drinking from a puddle in a driveway or place where a car has parked, a small sip can be fatal in the right circumstances. If your pet starts to act ‘drunk’ or has convulsions, take him to the vet immediately.
Taking care of your pet during winter is pretty much the same as caring for yourself. If you are cold, they are cold too. Snuggle up with your fur baby and hibernate until the spring thaw.