Cold Weather Pet Care Tips for the Change of Seasons
Cooler weather is finally upon us, and before we know it winter will be here. In Indiana the seasons can change quickly, and being prepared is essential. Just as you may be investing in a new pair of snow boots and adding a little extra insulation to your home, there are some things that you can do to help your four-legged family members weather the season as well.
New Haven Pet Hospital knows how important attention to cold weather pet care is for the health and safety of our animal friends. Keep reading to ensure that the whole family, fur or not, is ready for the change of seasons.
Winter can be hard on all of us, but there are certain individuals that need a little extra tlc. Pets who may have a harder time with the cold, wet weather include those who are:
- Very young
- Very thin
- Suffering from mobility problems like arthritis
- Dealing with illness or chronic disease
All pets should be monitored closely as the mercury drops, however if you have a pet who falls into one or more of these categories it’s even more essential. Lack of resources (fur, body fat) to keep warm, altered body metabolism, and challenges to mobility can make a cold winter even colder.
Cold Weather Pet Care Tips
The winter months can be hard on any pet, no matter their situation. Being vigilant about your animal’s needs and safety can go a long way towards helping them enjoy the season.
Cold weather pet care centers on maintaining a warm, dry existence and steering clear of specific hazards. Be sure to:
Let your pet acclimate – Pets who are used to being outdoors do better in the cold weather. If you are going to ask your pet to be outside for longer than a quick potty break in the lower temperatures, be sure to allow time for him to get used to being out there.
Protect the paws – Paws are often the first thing to suffer when the snow falls. Keep the fur between the paw pads trimmed to avoid snow accumulation. Well-trimmed nails allow better traction on slippery surfaces. You might also consider a pair of well-fitted boots for snow bunnies. Be sure to take them off when indoors so as not to irritate the paws.
Promote warmth – Give your pet the resources needed to keep warm. Outdoor pets should have an option to come indoors or a warm, well insulated shelter to get out of the elements. If your pet is thin, has a short coat, or otherwise has trouble staying warm, a sweater or dog blanket of some kind can be helpful.
Good nutrition counts – Animals use energy to keep warm. Be sure that your pet is going into winter in good body condition and provide good nutrition throughout the season. Get checked out – This is a great time to bring your pet in for a wellness check up. An examination and recommended screening tests are a great way to be sure that your pet is headed into winter in tip-top shape. Call us to arrange a visit.
Keep it safe – The changing of the seasons brings with it a whole new set of potential hazards to think about. In very cold temperatures it is very important to monitor your pet closely. When the temperature dips below 32 F, it is essential that all pets are able to find a warm shelter. Avoid space heaters due to fire risk. Pets can slip on ice just like us, and may not know to keep off of frozen lakes or ponds. Hazards such as antifreeze are more abundant. Also avoid ice melt products or use a pet-friendly variety that are kinder to paws and gentler on stomachs if ingested. Always rinse the paws and fur after exposure to these chemicals, even the pet-safe types.
Winter can be a magical time of year, but it definitely takes a little extra effort to be sure it is a happy and safe time for our pets. With some preparation and knowledge about cold weather pet care, though, you can all enjoy dashing through the snow (that hopefully won’t be arriving for at least a few more months). Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.