With the cold weather here, we must remember to keep our pets warm and toasty. Their fur will only provide so much insulation, so it is our responsibility to make sure they are being properly cared for. Here are a few tips that are important to keep in mind once the temperature starts to drop.
Don’t keep dogs outside for too long. Dog coats and sweaters can help in short term situations, but exposed areas, such as the ears, nose, and paw pads can be most susceptible to damage caused by hypothermia and frostbite. If left outside for longer periods, make sure there is a shelter available that is draft-free and can keep the animal dry. Using straw or wood chips as bedding can be helpful in trapping their body heat and keeping them comfortable.
Watch out for dry paw pads. After taking Sparky for walks, make sure to wipe off his paws with a wet towel in order to remove any winter salt residue which he may have been picked up along the way. Not only does it dry out the skin and causes cracks and irritation, but ice is also toxic. Ideally, you might invest in some dog booties that do a great job at keeping your pup’s paws clean. If he or she is resistant to wearing them, rinsing the paws will still help to prevent any poisonous chemicals from getting into your dog’s system.
Keep your pets groomed. By keeping your dog’s or cat’s coat properly groomed, the fur will become stronger and become a better insulator. Always make sure they are completely dry before taking them out into the frigid temperatures.
Keep your pets properly nourished. As is the case with humans, when an animal’s body is trying to keep warm, it needs energy to get the job done. However, providing your pet with too much food can cause laziness. It is important to be aware of your pet’s activity level and provide food accordingly. In terms of hydration, always pay attention to the water bowl if left outside; make sure that it does not freeze. Plastic bowls work best in outdoor situations because their tongues can easily stick to metal ones.
Keep warm together! Cuddling up with your pup and giving them some extra love and attention every day is one of the best ways to keep his or her body and heart warm!