How do your pets enjoy winter weather? Like their owners, some may love to play outdoors as the snow is falling while others wish they could hunker down and wait for spring. Whether your pet wants to make short trips outside or wants to play outside all day, these winter pet safety tips will help them stay warm and healthy.
Pay Attention to Paws
When taking walks, our four-legged friends can pick up all sorts of harmful things in their paws. Sidewalks are covered with salt, antifreeze and de-icers that have been spread to keep walkways safe. One winter safety measure is to limit walks. When you do return home, wipe down paws so that your dog doesn’t lick and ingest something they shouldn’t.
Check Paw Conditions
If paws have been on cold surfaces for too long, they may become raw, crack and bleed. If paws look chapped or have changed color, consider putting a small amount of petroleum jelly or paw balm on the paws to keep them moisturized and healthy. If your pet will let you, consider putting socks or booties on before they go outdoors.
Avoid Excessive Trims
Your pet’s fur is its natural defense against the cold and therefore critical for winter pet safety. A longer coat of fur will help your pet keep their natural warmth during the coldest winter months, so avoid trimming or shaving your pets when the temperatures drop. If your pet has naturally short hair or a thinner body, consider outfitting your dog or cat with a sweater or coat to keep them warm.
Increase Food and Water
Pets tend to burn more energy during the coldest of months. Help them stay ahead of the game and keep them warmer by providing a bit more food. You may find that pets are thirstier during the winter, too. When the temps drop, the air is naturally dryer, so your dog or cat will drink more to stay hydrated. Not only will they be healthier, their skin will be less dry the more they drink, too.
Look at Bedding
Check out the spot where your pet usually sleeps. Make sure it is away from drafts and (if possible) up off the floor. Help your furry family member avoid chills by keeping them away from drafts or air vents. Not able to bring your outdoor dog indoors overnight? Make sure they have a warm spot to lay down out of wind, with food and (unfrozen) water to drink.
Pet-Proof Your Home
If you and your pets will be spending more time indoors, make sure you have a safe environment. Keep pets away from space heaters. Put away things that would be dangerous for them to ingest. Find cold-weather activities to do indoors that will keep pets entertained and surprise them with new treats or toys to ward off winter boredom.
Spot Problems Right Away
If your pet is shivering, seems weak or starts looking for warm places to burrow, they are showing the beginning signs of hypothermia. Get them inside quickly and consult your veterinarian for ways to treat them.
Winter can be a fun time for pets to be outdoors with you, but take precautions to avoid your pet becoming too cold. Until you know how your pet will react to the conditions take it slow, limit the time outdoors and watch your pet for signs that they are too cold or not enjoying themselves.