Sleet, snow, freezing rain, wind and more can take a toll on your beloved pet. Here’s how to help him or her brave winter’s hazards.
It’s a fact! No matter how outdoors-y you think your pet may be, winter can cause discomfort, pain or even death. The ASPCA has some great advice on this topic. We summarize it here…
- Turn off the sauna! Dry heat after coming in from the cold can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keeping your house or apartment humidified is very helpful. Make sure to towel dry immediately, with special attention to feet, and between the toes. Little balls of snow stuck foot pads are a killer — make sure to remove those.
- Keep it short – but not too short! A longer coat obviously provides more warmth, so don’t be tempted to grab those shears until spring. The flip side: ice balls, salt and chemicals that can dry his skin often cling to fur, so trim long-haired dogs to the ideal length so that these substances do not cling, also remembering hair between the toes. Short-haired dogs need even more protection, so outfit your pooch with the right coat.
- The paws that refreshes! Dog paws can get awfully irritated, so bring a towel along to remove whatever’s bothering him or her. Check for paw pad cracks, and redness between the toes.
- No bath is better! As dirty as your pet may get out in the wet weather, it’s actually best to minimize baths when it’s very cold because they remove essential oils. If a bath can’t be avoided, get recommendations for a good moisturizing shampoo.
- It’s spa time! Petroleum jelly and the like should be applied to paw pads before going out to protect from salt and chemicals. Booties are even better, and worth the trouble, keeping out sand and other matter.
- Can the antifreeze! Make sure to clean up any spilled antifreeze – it is deadly to dogs and cats. Also, use products made with propylene glycol, rather than ethylene glycol (hmmm, did not know that).
- Diet delight! Pets burn a lot of energy staying warm. That means, of course, they need more food! A little bit extra nourishment during cold season gives them the calories to stay warmer. Plenty of water helps prevent dry skin.
- Don’t let them get drafted! Does your pet have a warm place to sleep, that is, not on the floor, and away from all drafts? A dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Keep it cozy! Remember, keep your pet inside if at all possible when not being walked, as they can get frozen, disoriented, stolen, etc. An idle car is even worse, as it can act as a refrigerator in cold weather.
Help ensure the safety of your pet and others you encounter. Keep animals warm and comfortable this winter.
Source: ASPCA and please donate!