Tips To Protect Your Pet In The Winter
The holidays are exciting for every member of the family -- but the downside to the holidays is the cold weather. Most of us dread the dark days and cold nights -- including our pets. While we can put on heavy coats and gloves to shield ourselves from the icy wind, our pets need us to look after them. Here are 5 tips to protect your pet in the winter.
Limit the time your pet spends outside. Even if you have an outdoor cat or your dog wants to play in the snow, cold creeps in a lot faster on bodies smaller than adult humans and the damage can be fierce. You know when your dog is too cold -- they shiver and whine like we do. But don't wait for the signs to take your dog in; head back inside before he gets uncomfortable. Paws and tails tend to get cold fast the way our fingers do and your pet may not be able to communicate this to you. Get them inside before they get cold to avoid any health complications from low temperatures. When you get your pup inside, make sure to wipe him down. You don't have to use your best bath towel sets to get him dry, but use something absorbent to soak up the cold moisture to make your dog comfortable.
Even if you limit time outside, your dog has to go out a few times a day to relieve himself. To do this, you inevitably have to walk on a salted sidewalk. Salt can be very painful for dogs to step on. On your end, you can use a non-toxic ice melt to keep your walks clear and your dog's paws safe. However, you have no control over what other people put on their sidewalks. In this case, the best defense for your dog's paws: booties. They look a little silly and your dog may not like to put them on, but it's worth the effort to keep your dog happy.
If your cats aren't outdoor cats, they're cats that are dying to go outside. Either way, do your best to keep your cat indoors. They like to be warm and, because cats are crafty, they can find the most clever ways and places to get warm outside -- one of which is the engine of a car. It's a great idea until someone starts the ignition, but cats don't know this so we have to think for them. Eliminate the option by restricting their access to the outdoors.
Let It Grow
Dog and cat hair is one of the downsides to owning a pet, and one way to reduce animal hair is by grooming. A shampoo and trim helps with pet hair headaches, but resist the urge to cut his fur short. He needs all the cold weather protection he can get. Just make sure to brush him regularly to take care of the loose fur that can end up on the furniture and floors.
Just like humans, pets don't have the opportunity to exercise as much in the winter as they do in the summer. And though they don't have holiday sweets to tempt them away from their healthy weight, they do need help watching what they eat so they don't pack on the pounds before the snow melts. Carrying extra body weight causes health problems in dogs and cats the way it does with humans. It puts them at risk for diabetes and damage to joints and bones among other problems. Do your best to lower their calorie intake in the winter and you may not have to make as many trips to the vet as well as extend the life of your pet.