Baby, It’s Cold Outside — Tips to Keep Your Four-Legged Friends Safe During The Winter
Winter conjures up images of playing in the snow, ice skating, and hot chocolate, but this time of year can also present some dangerous situations for our four-legged friends. Just like humans, pets can easily be affected by the cold, and it is important to keep the following things in mind to make sure our furry friends stay safe:
Let it Grow, Let it Grow. Your pet’s fur is like a built-in coat! While it might be easier on your furniture to shave your pets, letting your pet’s fur grow will help them stay warm in the winter.
Keep Them Nice and Dry. If you have a dog that loves to play in the snow, make sure to dry them fully after coming inside. Let them have a good shake, then take a warm towel and pat them down. Leaving the cold water on their fur can cause sickness.
Puppies and Kittens Need Extra Warmth. Keep those little bundles of joy extra warm during cold weather. Younger animals are more susceptible to sickness, so make sure to monitor your home’s temperature closely and provide lots of blankets for them to snuggle in.
Inside is The Best Place to Be. Although the VBSPCA does not recommend keeping your pets outside any time of the year, it is especially dangerous during the winter months. In addition to hypothermia, there are multiple other factors that can harm your animals if they are kept outside for long periods of time. A good rule of thumb is if you would not want to stay outside, it is not ideal for your pets to do so either.
Shorter Potty Trips. If your dog has a low cold-weather tolerance, watch them closely while letting them outside. Keep potty trips short and, if possible, stand outside to monitor their surroundings.
Understand The Breed. Some breeds — such as Huskies and Malamutes — are bred to withstand extremely cold temperatures. While this does not mean that you should leave them out during a snowstorm, these breeds are able to thrive in colder climates and enjoy being outdoors during the winter. However, you should also be aware if you own a dog that is more sensitive to colder climates.
Pause To Take Care of Paws. Just like human skin, dogs paw pads can become dry and cracked if not taken care of properly. Make sure to dry paws off thoroughly after every walk. Additionally, watch out for sidewalk salt. Although this prevents slipping, it can cause painful chemical burns on your pet’s pads. You can also look into some products that help protect your pets paws when exposed to cold and/or salty surfaces. One great product is called Musher’s Secret. This product protects pads and coats them in an all-natural wax.
Watch Out For Antifreeze. Antifreeze is poisonous for pets! If your dog steps in antifreeze, wipe it off their paws as soon as possible. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your driveway to protect your animals.
Plan Ahead. Knowing your local climate is important when planning for the colder months. Pay attention to all winter storm warnings so you are not caught off guard by bad weather.
Create an Emergency Supply Kit. Create a kit with emergency supplies in case of power outages or being snowed in. This should include one week’s worth of water, food, and cat litter if you have a feline friend.