With the 1st day of winter just around the corner, I thought it might be helpful to give a few tips to help keep your furry companions safe and happy during the coming cold months.
1. Know your dog’s limits! – Some dogs have more trouble dealing with the cold than others (elderly, sick, thin, short-coated, or the very young). If your dogs enjoy being outdoors, but their coat may not keep them warm enough, you might consider getting them a coat or a sweater to help keep them warm.
2. Check the hood! – During the winter it is not uncommon for outdoor cats to sleep in the wheel wells of cars to keep warm. Before starting your cat bang on your hood or honk your horn. Cats can be injured by the moving engine parts if you start your engine.
3. Wipe their paws! – If you take your dogs on walks during the winter, be sure to wipe their paws after it’s over. Dogs can pick up toxic chemicals such as, ice melts, anti-freeze, or other chemical de-icers. These can cause serious harm to your pets. Check their paws for signs of chemical damage such as rash, cracked skin, or bleeding pads.
4. Avoid the ice! – When walking your dog, avoid ice as much as you can. Especially frozen lakes and ponds, because the ice when/if it breaks can seriously injure your dog.
5. Leave them home! – Just like a dog being left alone in a hot car can be dangerous, so can being left in a cold car. Only take your pet with you when it is necessary to ensure their health and safety.
6. Be seen! – With daylight savings, it gets harder to walk your pet during the daylight hours. A good way to ensure both yourself and your pet are safe, by wearing light and reflective colors (clothing, collars, leashes, etc.).
7. Shelter! – We would like to think that most people would bring their pets indoors during the winter, but if you can’t bring them in all the time bringing them in during sub-zero temperatures is strongly recommended. If your dog does live outside, providing them with a draft free shelter, with plenty of bedding. It should be raised a few inches of space between the ground and bottom of the shelter. Also ensure that they have access to plenty of food and water in plastic not metal bowls.
Most important of all, is to be prepared. Winter can bring all sorts of extreme weather, so planning accordingly is extremely important. Not only for you but for your pets as well.