Temperatures are dropping, cold winds are blowing, and snow flurries are forecasted. Keep pets comfortable and happy during the winter with these tips:
- Dry your dog off after being outside.
- Snow can irritate your dog’s skin, and their feet are prone to becoming chapped if over-exposed to the cold. It’s especially important to keep their most sensitive and exposed areas, like their feet and stomach, as dry as possible.
- Purchase a warm sweater or booties.
- All dogs, but especially breeds with short fur, can benefit from owning a sweater or jacket to wear in the winter. A sweater is great for keeping them warm both indoors and outdoors, and a water-proof jacket will keep them dry if cold rain or snow starts to fall.
- Skip the doggie haircut during the winter months.
- Dogs with longer fur may not need a sweater to keep them warm, but they do need their natural coat. If you have a dog whose fur easily becomes tangled or matted, especially with the snow and ice, consider smaller trims as opposed to a full shave.
- Bathe your dog less frequently.
- Just like humans, dogs are prone to dry skin during the winter, and too frequent bathing can cause even more irritation.
- Feed your animals a little bit extra.
- The cold weather causes our animals to burn energy faster than normal since they are working harder to keep themselves warm. We recommend keeping them on their regular diet and considering giving them a slightly larger portion or introducing them to a new, healthy snack.
- Keep your pets inside.
- Even your most adventurous, winter-loving husky needs to spend time indoors during these cold times. Enjoy the wintry weather with your pet, but limit the amount of time they spend outside and bring them inside before dark.
- If you have outdoor cats who cannot be brought indoors, prepare adequate shelter for them. This could mean buying them a small outdoor cat house with a heater, or carving out a hole in a foam cooler or storage bin. As long as there is proper insulation, your outdoor cats should be able to keep warm.
Keep an eye out for all of the animals within your community:
- Before driving, knock a few times on the hood of your car to scare off any cats who might be seeking shelter there.
- For cats who live outdoors during the winter, crawling up inside of a car hood seems like a great place to keep safe and warm. By knocking on the hood of your car, any cats hiding underneath should be startled enough to leave.
- If you see a pet who has been left outside for the majority of the night or an animal who needs help, contact your local animal control agency right away.
- If the pet does not have access to food, shelter or (not frozen) water, it’s important to relay those details. You can also call back to follow up on what action was taken.