Winter can be a rough time for everyone. Bundling up is a chore, scraping your car’s windshield is just plain torture. Your pet, you might notice, has it a little bit harder – especially if you aren’t paying close attention.
We know when we are cold and need to get inside. We don’t, however, always know when our pet is too cold. This is when the old cliché “Better safe than sorry” comes into play. You want to make sure your pet is safe and warm during the winter. Unfortunately, they can’t talk to you, so you need to be as prepared as possible when it comes to keeping your pet safe.
Part of wanting what’s best for your pet is knowing the Dos and Don’ts of winter to make sure they’re safe from the cold. Here are some key tips for you and your pet.
Bundle Them Up!
Coats and booties aren’t around to keep your dog fashionable. They have a purpose! Think about it this way: If you bundle up to go for a winter walk with your dog, why wouldn’t you bundle your dog up? Seem a little insane now? Similarly, booties help protect your dogs’ toes. Not only do their toes get cold, but salt can be “ruff” (we had to) on your dog’s paw pads. The best bet is to not take any chances and bundle up your pup before going outdoors.
Wipe Off Their Paws
Like we mentioned, salt can irritate your pet’s paw pads. Booties can obviously help this if you’re going outside for long periods. If your pet is outside for short periods, however, wipe the salt off their paws when they get inside. Not only will it prevent irritation on their paws, but it will also prevent irritation when they go to lick it off.
Build Shelters for Feral Cats
Feral cats are not domesticated and do not have indoor luxuries like their pet counterparts. This unfortunately makes cold seasons difficult for them as they search for shelter. This is the part where you come in. It’s easy and cheap to make an outdoor shelter for these cats. You can also put food and water near the shelter in case they are having a hard time finding food in the cold months.
If you live in a fenced-in area, your pet could easily climb up the snow mounds that build up against the fencing and escape. It’s best to take precaution and shovel these areas in order to protect your best friend.
Regularly Groom Your Dog
A properly groomed coat helps ensure your dog is well insulated. Keep the coat long, but be sure to brush it regularly.
Leave Them Outside
Just because they have a fur coat, doesn’t mean they are prepared for harsh winter weather. Domesticated dogs aren’t the same as their wild counterparts and after years of breeding, can’t tolerate the cold for long periods of time. If you’re letting your pet out to do their business, keep it at that and bring them back inside. If you’re taking them outside for exercise, make sure they’re prepared.
Leave Them In Your Car
You may think it’s safe to leave your pet in your car for a quick errand, but a car is not much better than leaving them outside. If you absolutely need to leave the house, leave your pet at home or schedule another time to go out of the house if your pet needs some “you” time.
Overfeed Your Pet
Since there are less opportunities for your pet to be outdoors, monitor how much they eat versus how much exercise they get. If you live in a particularly harsh area, chances are you won’t be able to get outside as much with your pet. Scale back on treats or swap out your treats for healthier options like baby carrots or an apple slice.
Skimp on the Water
Water helps your pet burn calories, so if you’re concerned about weigh gain in the winter, make sure to keep your pet well hydrated.
Let Them Get Too Close to Heat Sources
Fireplaces are nice and cozy in a house, but can be dangerous for pets if they get too close. Same with space heaters and alternative heat sources. Make sure you monitor these heat sources when your pet is around to make sure they don’t get burned.
Image source: Jacyln/Wikimedia Commons