When the temperatures drop it’s important to remember that our four legged friends are just as susceptible to the cold weather as we are, and it’s important to give them a little extra care during the cold winter months.
Ideally you want to keep your pets indoors where it’s warmer. Remember, their fur coats don’t make them impenetrable to the cold, and just like you and me, they can get frostbite. If your dog has to be kept outside, then you want to make sure they have shelter to protect them. The shelter should be large enough for your dog to turn around in, but small enough for their body heat to keep them warm. Be sure that the dog house is free of drafts, and adding a layer of straw will help to keep them warm.
We all know how important clean, fresh water is for your pets. Providing this can become a little harder in the winter, but you need to make sure your pet has access to water at all times. If your pet is outdoors for long period of times, keep their water dish free of ice by using a heated pet bowl.
You may have to adjust your pet’s diet in the winter. If your pet is spending most of their time outdoors, then you may need to increase their food, as they will burn more energy to keep warm. Adversely, if your pet is spending more time than usual indoors, you may have to cut back on their food, as they will most likely be less active, and may gain weight. Of course, you should always consult with your vet before changing your pet’s diet.
Walks & Excercise:
We all love going for long walks with our pets, but when the cold weather hits and it’s time to bundle up, it’s best to keep the walks short. Remember, your pets are just as susceptible to frostbite as you are, so exposing them to freezing cold temperatures for a long period of time is never a good idea. If your dog has short hair, you may want to consider getting them a sweater or coat for added protection when they go outside. Be sure to wipe off your dog’s paws with a dry towel to remove any ice melt. Some ice melts can burn the pads of their feet, or even make your pet sick if they lick it off of their paws. When it comes to de-icing your own walkways and driveway, make sure that you are using pet safe ice melt. Using ice melt that is listed as pet safe such as, Safe Step Sure Paws, helps reduce your pets risk of being exposed to the high levels of salt contained in typical ice melts that can burn their paws and make them sick if eaten.
When temperatures are dangerously low find alternative ways to burn your pets energy indoors. There are plenty of activities your dog will enjoy where it's warm, like putting their nose to work with a puzzle toy, or finding hidden treats throughout the house. Simple games like fetch and tug of war are also great outlets for your dogs energy.
Even with its cold temperatures, the winter can be a fun time for you and your pets as long as you take the necessary precautions to keep them safe. So, keep these tips in mind, then get out there and play in the snow!