Winter is the only time that you can build snowmen and sled during the day and when night time falls you snuggle warm by the fire. As much fun as it can be for us, it may be difficult or dangerous for our pets, especially if that pet was not built to survive the cold winter. Below are some ways to keep your pet safe during winter.
- Keep an eye out for any automotive fluid
Both windshield washer fluid and antifreeze which often do not freeze are hazardous to pets. So if you want to take go snowshoeing or hiking with your pet then stay clear of any puddles that might have antifreeze or washer fluid and ensure your pet does not go running around in automotive areas or in other people’s garages.
- Clean your pet’s paws
Products that are used for melting ice can get stuck in the paws of your pets and most of the time the pets will try to remove it by licking it off. Low humidity can also cause the paws of your pet to crack and start bleeding. Also, paws may start bleeding if they are encrusted in ice or from the frigid snow. Ice and salt melt products can burn and irritate pets’ paws and if it is ingested it can be fatal to them. When your pets are coming out of the snow, ensure you wipe off their paws and get them dry. To make it even safer for them, wipe their stomach as well the entire legs in case they laid down in the snow. You can rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the pet’s paw pads because it will help in preventing additional irritation. Pet booties are always a good idea. Make sure they fit snug to keep ice and snow out. There are even latex or rubber disposable booties.
- Be aware of the lowering temperatures
Short-coated dogs and cats do not do very well in cold temperatures. There are even some furry breeds like Malamutes and Huskies that may still encounter problems during winter. When the nights get colder then it’s time to bring in your pets and snuggle on the sofa or bed. Pets can also benefit from winter pet clothes like dog clothes, dog coats or sweaters. However, there are some pets that cannot tolerate any type of clothing no matter the weather so be careful not to force one on it cause it may be irritating its fur. These items help in keeping your pets warm and it also helps that they are really cute. Koa’s House Pet Supplies has a variety of warm pet clothes for winter that are very beautiful but also functional. Even pets that have a natural fur coat cannot fully ward off the cold. Therefore, ensure your dog has a warm dog coat and a dry place to sleep that is off the ground. If you have a large dog breed then may be able to tolerate the colder temperatures better than a smaller dog. However, if your animal has a heart disease, endocrine disorder, diabetes or kidney disease then it is very vulnerable during the cold months. The cold weather will compromise its body heat regulating capabilities and the pet may end up suffering from hypothermia. Avoid taking sickly pets outside during winter as the cold weather is very difficult for them.
- Keep pets away from your car and out of it
Cats love to be warm and most of the time they will cuddle up to your car once you park it because of the heat from the engine. They may end up sleeping there and when you start your car in the morning you may end up hurting or even killing it unintentionally. So before you start driving honk your car or knock your hood a couple of times to startle the animal. Additionally, you should never leave your pet in the cold car during winter. Cars can hold in cold temperatures just like a refrigerator. If you leave your pet in the car it may end up freezing to death so be careful.
- Leash your animals
Do not let your dog out of its leash especially in very bad snowstorms. They can easily get lost because they will lose your scent due to the snow and it will make them lose their sense of direction. Most pets get lots during winter more than any other season in the year. Dogs with light colored fur can easily blend in with the snow thus making them very difficult and even impossible to spot. It’s important that your pet has an ID tag and you should get it micro-chipped. These microchips are small implants that will help in identifying your dog in case it gets lost. If you have your pet already micro-chipped then ensure it is current. Unlike pet collars, these microchips will never go missing or fall off and the procedure to get them at the veterinary clinic is not as expensive as you would think.
- Be aware of the signs on your pet when you are out during winter
It so much fun to go outside in the snow and run around with you your dog but you should be aware of some signs that your pet will show when it has stayed out in the cold too long. If your dog starts shivering or is starting to show signs of fatigue then you should realize that the dog is freezing and you should go back to a warm place. In addition, any kind of redness on the extremities like the ears, slowing down or looking for warm places to burrow is a sign that your animal has stayed outside for too long.
- Take your pet to the veterinary clinic
According to experts, pets should have two checkups every year especially the older animals. If you can schedule the pet exam to be in fall or in the early winter season that would be even better because it will ensure that your animal is in a good condition to face the coming cold weeks. Proactive vets will measure your pets joint range motion, check its vital organ function, measure its muscle mass and create a wellness plan for upcoming winter.
Do not clip or shave your pet’s fur when the winter months are getting closer. Let your pet maintain its long coat because it will keep it warm even if it may be a hassle to groom and brush them regularly. You do not want your pet to have matted fur because it will interfere with its ability to regulate its own body heat, plus it is uncomfortable.
- Exercise you pets
Even though the weather is cold, it’s important to maintain your pet’s physical condition. If you allow your dog to eat and sleep all day then you are making it predisposed to injury once it starts running around again after winter. If you live in an area where it gets really cold outside during winter then you can get you your dog to exercise by taking them to an indoor dog park or to a warm water dog pool.
- Don’t let your pets go near frozen water bodies
Be aware of lakes, ponds or any other type of inland water then you are aware that they tend to freeze over during winter. Be careful with your pets near this frozen waters because animals can fall very easily through the ice. If that happens it’s very difficult for them to get themselves out and if you haven’t noticed then a pet can end up drowning
- Change your air filter and have your furnace inspected
Ensure that your heating unit is checked for any carbon monoxide leaks before you get into winter. Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless but it has dangerous effects on both humans and pets. Since your pet will spend more time in the house than you then she will be more vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning. Have your air filter in the house changed twice in a year because a lot of things like mold, dirt, pollen, allergens, and dust can accumulate in them if they are not changed. Ensure your pets have filtered air in order to reduce the allergen load in your house especially during winter.
- Ensure your pet is safe from potentially dangerous sources of heat
If you are using a space heater or a fireplace then you should expect that your dog will burrow near or next to it to keep warm. Keep a close watch to prevent any part of the dog from being burned or from the dog knocking a heating unit like a heating coil over thus causing a disaster.
- Things to consider before taking you dog snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is an amazing way of keeping fit for both the dog and the owner through the winter. It offers a different perspective to the summer trails because of a dramatic change to a trail and a scenery that you were used to during the warmer months and the trails are generally deserted during winter. Snowshoeing is not as easy as you would think just because you put on snowshoes. There are something’s that you have to be considerate about, especially if you are taking your pet with you.
- Get your pet a checkup before the trip: – walking in snow especially if it’s deep and powdery is much more difficult than what most people expect. A veterinarian will check to ensure that your dog is healthy and fit enough to take on such a rigorous activity in cold weather.
- Ensuring that the trails are dog-friendly: – Nordic ski areas, some hiking trails, and groomed snow parks are good places to take your dog snowshoeing but ensure that you check the rules in case there are things like snowmobiles allowed because it will make it unsafe for the dog.
- Just like yourself, keep your dog warm: – depending on the fur that your dog has and the breed, it may be necessary to go to Koa’s House Pet Supplies and get him some dog clothes and dog coats which insulated to keep him warm and protect him from the harsh elements. You should keep in mind that a dog coat may not be enough especially if your dog is small. You may have to get him some dog boots to protect it from the frozen ground and a blanket to cover him with him during breaks.
- Keep your dog hydrated: – during summer a dog will pant and they are more likely to drink water if they get thirsty. In the colder winter months, your dog will not necessarily show you any signs that they are overheating and they are not willing enough to drink water when they get thirsty. It will be your responsibility to ensure that your pet is hydrated by offering them water frequently and to make it even better you can add dog-sports drink or no-sodium chicken stock as a way to entice them to drink more.
- Be aware of hypothermia signs: – elderly dogs and puppies are very susceptible to hypothermia. Some signs of hypothermia include dilated pupils, shivering and very slow breathing followed by frostbite and lethargy. If your dog starts to show some of these signs then cover him immediately with a blanket, give him some warm fluids and take him to the veterinarian.
With just a few simple precautions, winter can be an amazing time of the year for the entire family including your pet. So when you want to enjoy a warm fire in your den, curl up with your pet and just doze off enjoying the winter.