Winter is coming around the corner quickly, which means it’s time to start planning a winter warmth strategy for your pets. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and secure through the frigid months ahead:
#1 Stay inside!
Keep your pets inside as much as possible. Dogs will need to go out to do their business from time to time; otherwise, keep them warm and cozy inside. When taking your dogs outside, bundle them up in warm clothing — sweaters, mittens, hats, etc. — just like you would your children. Many pets are sensitive to the cold — and more susceptible breeds are prone to hypothermia and frostbite.
#2 Protect paws from salt and other damage.
Sidewalks and roads will sometimes be covered in salt, which your pets will likely trudge through as well. This chemical can irritate the pads of their feet. Be sure to wipe it from their paws as you’re coming into the house, before long-term damage can occur. Also check their paws for other cold weather injuries, such as bleeding or lameness caused by ice. Cut risk by clipping the hair in-between their toes.
#3 Know pet limits.
Dogs’ limits will vary depending on their coat, body fat, activity levels and general health. Dogs — especially older dogs — require shorter walks in the cold weather. Long-haired dogs can handle the cold better than short-haired pets, just like long-legged pets can get through the snow faster than short-legged pets. Pet suffering from any kind of disease will have a harder time regulating their body temperature and should not remain outside for long.
#4 Look for signs of cold-related diseases.
If your pets:
- Slow down or stop moving
- Seem anxious
- Try to burrow
They are probably starting to show signs of hypothermia and need to be taken inside immediately. It’s harder to detect frostbite in dogs, but if you suspect it, head to the vet right away.
#5 Provide choices
Just like during the summer, your pets will look for comfortable places to sleep — and it may not be on the bed that you gave them. In the winter, they’re going to search for places of warmth. For dogs, consider putting a blanket on the floor near a screened in fireplace. Remember to make sure the fireplace is well-guarded by a screen and that pets do not get too close. For cats, consider placing a plush blanket or towel on the couch or atop the mantel, depending on its height and width.
Written contribution by Andrea Davis, Home Advisor.