As we start getting ready for colder temperatures, make sure your pets are too! Take time to read these tips to keep your pets safe, happy, and comfy all winter long.
1. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.
This is a no brainer. If you can’t handle the cold then how can your pet? Pets can freeze to death if left outdoors, so keep them inside as much as possible.
2. Keep your home humid.
Coming home to a dry atmosphere after some time out in the cold can give your pet itchy, flaky skin. Keep a humidifier in your house and make sure your pets get plenty of drinking water so they stay hydrated.
3. Keep your pet dry.
Towel dry your pets as soon as they come inside. Remove any unwanted snow clinging from their fur. Make sure to check their paws for any snow caught between their toes. Take the time to brush your pet’s coat to stimulate blood circulation and improve their skin.
4. Less baths.
Constantly bathing takes away moisture and essential oils from the skin. This can lead it to be dry and flaky, which will irritate your pet. If you have to give them a bath, make sure to dry them off completely after and use a moisturizing shampoo. Ask your vet for some shampoo recommendations.
5. Don’t shave them down.
A longer coat of fur will keep your four-legged friend warmer. If your pet is long-haired and needs regular grooming then opt for a simple trim. The shorter the hair, the less salt crystals, ice balls, and de-icing chemicals can cling to them and dry their skin. Salt and ice can also irritate and burn your pet’s skin.
6. Dress them right for the season.
Dress your pet up in booties to protect their feet, and sweaters to keep them warm. Make sure to always wipe their paws after being outside and don’t forget the space between their foot and pads.
7. Keep your pet away from any body of water—even winter puddles.
Bodies of water are dangerous for pets because they could fall in, especially when they’re not on a leash. There is also the possibility of melting ice that will cause water levels to rise. Winter puddles could have traces of ethylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze. Keep your pets away from them, as ingesting it could be fatal. If you catch your pet drinking water from a puddle during winter, take them to the vet straight away.
8. Adjust your pet’s daily calorie intake.
It takes more energy in cold weather to keep your body temperature regulated, so additional calories might be necessary for your pet. Visit your vet to figure out how many more calories your furry friend will need.
9. Keep your pets in sight.
Don’t let your furry friends roam without a leash when temperatures start dropping. This increases the risk of your pet getting hit by vehicles, getting lost, or getting frostbite.
10. Never leave your pets in your car.
Cars act like refrigerators in the winter and could possibly freeze your pet to death. Beware of stray cats keeping warm under the hood of your vehicle, too. Check if there are any by knocking on the hood of your car to wake them up before starting the engine.
11. Prepare an emergency pet survival kit.
Disaster can strike at any time so it’s best to stock up on emergency supplies for you and your pet. Check out PetMD’s Top 10 Pet Emergency Kit Items or this Pet Disaster-Preparedness checklist from the Humane Society of the United States.
12. Get your pet a cozy bed.
Your pet deserves more than a cold floor during the winter. Give them a warm blanket, and raise their beds off cold concrete or tiles. If you can afford it, buy them a heated pet bed.
13. Always keep your pets warm.
Even pets with thick coats can still feel chilly. Keep your furry best friend warm by giving them jackets, sweaters, booties, and keeping them indoors. If your pet is a senior, have a warm soft area for resting. You can also give them some natural joint supplements prescribed by the vet. Lastly, keep them away from your heaters. While heaters can provide warmth, they could accidentally burn your pet if they’re too close.