The cold weather is here—and if you’re cold, your dog or cat is too! Here are some tips to help keep your pet safe and warm in the winter months ahead.
Keep your home humidified if you can and towel-dry your pet as soon as he comes inside. Dry, cold air and rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaky skin. So pay special attention to his feet and in-between his toes.
Don’t shave your dog down, a longer coat provides warmth. If they don’t have their own long coat, consider getting him a coat or a sweater.
Check your pet’s paws regularly for irritation like cracks and redness between the toes or accumulated ice. Bring a towel on long walks to clean irritated paws. After walks wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals.
Bathe your pets as little as possible. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and other chemicals. Try booties on your pet if you can and use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to clean up spills from your cars.
Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in the winter. So feed your pet a little more during the cold weather months and make sure she has plenty of water to keep her hydrated and her skin less dry.
Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor away from drafts.
Don’t leave pets in the car alone in the cold weather. Your car can act like a refrigerator and hold in cold air.
Finally, remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so try to keep your animal inside during the freezing cold weather.
[Source: American Veterinary Medical Foundation]