Winter is in full swing and just like some of us love the colder months and others are ready to skip to spring, our animals are the same way. Whether it’s flaking skin, chapped paws, arthritis, or another condition, it’s important to stay informed on how the winter can affect your four-legged friend.
Here are some tips and things to keep in mind:
- Know your dog’s limits! Some dogs have a higher tolerance for the cold than others. If your dog is short-coated, small, elderyly, or very young, they’ll typically get cold quickly–so pay attention to the amount of time they’re spending outside. If your dog enjoys being outdoors and they’re going to be outside longer than a few minutes, consider a sweater or coat to keep them warm. Also, know the signs of hyperthermia:
- Violent shivering
- Weak pulse
- Muscle stiffness
- Breathing problems
- Dry your pet and wash their feet after they go outside. During the snowy months, it’s likely your dog could walk through ice, salt, or chemicals. When you come inside, wash their paws so they don’t lick anything off of them and dry their entire body to avoid itchy, flaky, dried out skin. Petroleum jelly is a good way to protect those paws!
- Cold weather may worsen some conditions. Conditions like arthritis may worsen in the cold. Make sure your pet is up to date on their yearly exam so your vet can ensure everything is being done to keep your pet healthy and comfortable.
- Check your vehicle before starting it. A warm vehicle engine can be a heat source for cats. Check underneath your car and bang on the hood before starting the engine.
- Collar and chip! Snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find their way home. Help prevent your pet from getting lost by making sure they have a collar with updated identification tags and contact information. Also an important measure is microchipping your pet and making sure the registration and account information is up to date.
- Put together a safe space for your outdoor cat. Some cats will just never come indoors and we understand that can be worrisome during those frigid winter days. Ensure your cat has a warm, dry shelter and fresh water. Even just a box lined with blankets can give them comfort, but make sure you check their shelter very regularly! Make sure their water isn’t frozen and their blankets are dry. Try to place the shelter in a garage or covered porch.
It doesn’t take much to keep your pet safe and warm during the winter months, but it’s important you’re aware of any risks and you pay attention to your pet’s needs. As always, if you have questions about your pet and their care, don’t hesitate to contact us.