The temperature is continuing to drop! As the days get shorter, some risks to your pet’s health increase. Here are some tips for protecting your pet during the coldest months of the year.
Clean your pet’s paws and any other applicable areas when they come in from outside.
When your pet comes in from the cold, especially when there is snow on the ground, your pet may also be bringing in salt, ice-melt chemicals, snow or ice clumps. Clearing off the junk can keep your pet’s skin healthier. Check in between the pads and toes on their paws, the belly, and all over if your pet likes to roll around in the snow. If the weather is mild enough for a walk, bring a towel along just in case you need to wipe something off your dog’s paws.
Keep your pet’s fur long.
Trimming the fur can keep it looking nice and neat and clean, which is certainly a good thing. Don’t cut fur too short in the winter, though, as the long fur coat protects against cold. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting them a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. There is a lot of adorable winter wear out there!
Bathe your pets less often during cold spells.
Washing often can increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin, because it removes oils that protect the skin. The cold, dry air can be irritating to vulnerable skin.
Protect paws with petroleum jelly or booties.
Paws can be spared some of the damage of the salt and chemical agents if you massage patroleum jelly into the paw pads. Paw-wear can be an even more stylish (though likely more expensive) means of protecting those paws!
Beware of poisoning.
Antifreeze is usually incredibly toxic to dogs and cats, and dogs are especially drawn to its sweet taste. Be sure to thoroughly clean any spills, and consider using more pet-friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Beware also of potpourri, medications, candies (especially those with artificial sweeteners or chocolate in them).
Provide enough food and water.
Drinking water keeps your pet well-hydrated and helps keep the skin from drying out. Your pet may also need a little more food in the wintertime, as pets burn extra energy to stay warm. If possible, monitor your pet’s weight so you don’t overdo it. Obesity can lead to a lot of complications!
Provide a warm place to sleep.
Make sure it’s off cold tile floors and drafty doors or windows. Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Keep pets inside when the weather is cold.