While winter is not officially here until later this month, we have already seen a few of those cold nights. I have recently come across 3 different articles of how to protect your pets during these cold, winter months. Don’t worry, I did the reading and will sum it up for you:
- Pets are sensitive to cold. If you have a long-haired breed pet, this would be a bad time of year to shave off that hair. Short-haired breeds may fair better with a coat or just going outside long enough for a short walk or to use the bathroom. Puppies will not be as tolerant of the cold as an adult dog, and older dogs can be more sensitive. Also, when snow starts to melt and re-freeze, it can be painful on pet paws.
- Car Safety. When it’s hot outside, we warn you not to leave pets in the car. It’s true in the winter as well. Your car can feel like a refrigerator. Outdoor cats will often take a nap under the hood of a car. If you keep your car parked outside, bang on the hood in the morning to wake any sleeping cats.
- Diet and Exercise. Some pets will burn more calories in the winter trying to stay warm, so you may need to increase food slightly. Other pets will have a tougher time getting enough exercise in the winter. Consider walking through the woods where the wind will not be as bad, or having a play session indoors. If there is snow on the ground, be sure to keep your dog on a leash as they can easily lose their scent and become lost.
- Winter toxins. Some products we rely on to get us through winter can be toxic to our pets. One is antifreeze, which is sweet tasting to animals and actually attracts them. Clean up antifreeze spills, properly dispose of this product, or us a pet friendly alternative. Chemical deicers can also be harmful. Try to avoid deicers when walking your pet, and wipe down your pet’s feet after a walk or outside play.
If you have any questions on how to keep your pet safe this winter, please don’t hesitate to call any of the staff at Grafton Animal Hospital at (757) 898-8433. Stay warm this winter!
“Winter Tips for Dogs and Cats” Trupanion.com/pet safety
“Winter Tips for Your Pets” Gloucester Beehive publication